Our Stories

Casey DowningInstalled in July 2008, the 600-pound bronze sculpture is the creation of Mobile sculptor Casey Downing Jr.

Born in 1948, Downing has sculpted for 50 years. His famous works include the statue of boxer Joe Louis

in LaFayette, Alabama; "The Recruit," a piece depicting a military recruit taking his oath of enlistment at USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park on the Mobile Bay Causeway; the five statues of Alabama Supreme Court chief justices in downtown Montgomery, Alabama; and two pieces at entrances of Cathedral Square park in downtown Mobile, to name a few. There are well over 50 Downing public sculptures to date across Alabama and the U.S., and as far away as Singapore in Southeast Asia.

Downing, who grew up in Mobile, studied commercial art at South and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1976.

The Mitchell brothers sculpture took about a year to create. “Mayer and Abe came into my studio, and I took a lot of pictures of them standing and sitting, together and separate,” Downing said. “I had them sit on a circular revolving base to photograph them from all angles, capturing their clothing, physical builds, postures, and expressions.”

See Full Story

Dr. Michael CapellaThe University of South Alabama has announced the creation of the Abraham A. Mitchell Endowed Deanship, the first of its kind at the University, in the Mitchell College of Business.

Dr. Michael Capella, who was appointed dean Jan. 1, 2024, will serve in the position. The deanship is funded by a $2.5 million gift from Mitchell, a longtime supporter of the University. The college is named after Mitchell, his late brother Mayer and the Mitchell family.

“With this endowed deanship, South honors Abe Mitchell’s proud legacy of giving,” said University President Jo Bonner. “It will elevate both the Mitchell College of Business and our University.”

Endowed deanships allow the University to create and maintain excellence in academics. It ensures a well-resourced college with a reliable stream of funding.

“It is my hope that this endowment fund will promote continued excellence in the Mitchell College of Business far into the future as a perpetual resource for attracting and sustaining exceptional leaders,” Mitchell said.


See Full Story

Markia Sullivan

Sir Isaac Newton, a 17th-century English mathematician and physicist, said in his third law of motion that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

For Markia Sullivan, a senior and supply change and logistics major at the Mitchell College of Business, Newton’s law is a perfect metaphor for her life.

“When people tell me I can’t do something because of my physical condition, then I have to do it,” Sullivan said. "I have to prove it to myself, and then I have to show them I can do it.”

Sullivan’s life completely changed when she was nine years old, coming home from a Mardi Gras parade in downtown Mobile.

“I was riding in the back seat of my best friend’s parents’ car when suddenly we were rear-ended by a speeding drunk driver,” she said. “I was thrown to the front of the car, and my head hit the dashboard.”

Sullivan was rushed to a local hospital. Days later, the hospital was ready to release her, but her mother noticed something wrong. “After the accident, at the hospital, I was walking. The doctor told my mom there wasn’t anything wrong with me, and she could take me home,” Sullivan said. “But my mom, who was a nurse, refused to listen to the doctor because she knew that I wasn’t behaving normally.

See Full Story