University of South Alabama trustee and philanthropist Arlene Mitchell has made one of the largest contributions in the history of Jaguar athletics through the creation of the Mayer Mitchell Quarterback Endowment, a gift of $355,760 that will support the quarterback position on the Jaguar football team.
Mrs. Mitchell made the gift in memory of her late husband, Mayer Mitchell, a Mobile businessman and philanthropist who served on the USA Board of Trustees for 32 years. Mr. Mitchell was a leader on the USA board during his years of service, including roles as chair of several committees and chair pro tempore.
She characterized her husband’s guiding role at USA and for many other organizations as analogous to that of a football quarterback.
“We all love the University of South Alabama, and it was such an important part of Mayer’s life,” Mrs. Mitchell said. “I think he would have liked this. He loved football so much, and he was always the quarterback as far as our family was concerned.”
“The Mitchell family's generosity has touched every aspect of the University of South Alabama, from academics to healthcare to research,” USA President Gordon Moulton said. “This gracious gift from Arlene Mitchell is one of the largest ever to Jaguar athletics and is a fitting tribute to a remarkable man -- Mayer Mitchell -- who was vital in shaping USA as we know it today.”
Mrs. Mitchell also said that her gift is a tribute to Head Football Coach Joey Jones and what he has accomplished with the team, which recently completed its third season. She said she was honored to be part of the selection committee that chose Jones for the job.
“I’m very thankful to the Mitchells for donating such a kind gift to our athletic program,” Jones said. “It’s that type of commitment that will make our program great. I know this scholarship endowment will be a positive thing for our program and the young men who receive the award.”
“Mrs. Mitchell’s generous gift represents the first gift for our new athletic endowed ‘position’ program for our sports teams,” said USA Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Dr. Joseph F. Busta, Jr.
The Mitchell family has endowed the Mitchell Cancer Institute and the Mitchell College of Business; helped fund the Mitchell Center arena; provided substantial faculty and student support, especially in business and medicine; and funded numerous athletic enhancements. Over the years, the Mitchell family has given more than $41.4 million to USA.
A Board resolution complimented Mr. Mitchell’s “vision, energy, tenacity, compassion and generosity” that has “immeasurably advanced the progress of the University of South Alabama and set a standard of leadership that will endure far into the future.”
The resolution also applauds Mr. Mitchell’s “extraordinary leadership and philanthropy” in service of “a diverse and geographically disbursed constellation of organizations, including the University of South Alabama, Outstanding Young Men of America, the Boys Club of Mobile, The University of Rochester, the New Orleans Chapter of Hadassah, the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, the Mobile Kiwanis Club and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.”