President Jo Bonner
Jo Bonner is the fourth president of the University of South Alabama.
Previously, he served as chief of staff to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. He joined the Ivey Administration in December 2018, as the governor’s senior advisor. Before joining the governor's office, he served as Vice Chancellor for Economic Development at The University of Alabama System from 2013 to 2018. During his final year at UAS, he was an executive on loan, serving as Interim Executive Director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority.
For more than a decade, he represented Alabama’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was first elected to the 108th Congress in November 2002 and was reelected to five additional terms. As a student at The University of Alabama, he worked on Capitol Hill as an intern for Congressman Jack Edwards. After graduation, he returned to Washington as press secretary and later chief of staff to Congressman Sonny Callahan.
In Congress, he earned a reputation as a respected and influential voice of reason in both Alabama and Washington. He was a member of the House Appropriations Committee, where he served on three key subcommittees, as well as the House Ethics Committee. Widely respected on both sides of the aisle, he was selected by House Speaker John Boehner to serve as chairman of Ethics during the 112th Congress. His crowning Congressional accomplishment came in 2012 when Airbus announced plans to build their first U.S. Final Assembly Line in Mobile. Over the years, Congressman Bonner developed friendships and strategic partnerships with the top corporate leaders at Airbus, one of the world’s largest aerospace and defense companies. The Airbus project has resulted in more than $1 billion being invested in Alabama, creating thousands of new jobs in the aerospace industry and putting Mobile on track to become the fourth largest commercial aviation city in the world.
President Bonner has received numerous awards and honors, including a 2020 induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor; the Academy is the state’s premiere recognition of 100 living Alabamians for their outstanding accomplishments and service. In 2016, the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) created the inaugural “Congressman Jo Bonner Spirit of Leadership Award” and honored Bonner as its first recipient. In 2013, he received the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest honor the U.S. Navy bestows on a civilian. He also received the 2012 “Governor Bob Riley Building a Better Alabama Award” by the BCA.
Bonner earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from The University of Alabama in 1982. He is married to the former Janée Lambert, of Mobile, and they are the parents of a daughter, Lee, and a son, Robins.