Messages from the President - 2019

USA President Tony Waldrop’s messages to the University community are posted below and on the University’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/theuniversityofsouthalabama. You can also follow him on Instagram (USA Waldrops).


October 25, 2019

 

I wanted to take a moment to thank you, our faculty, staff and retirees, for your generous support to the United Way of Southwest Alabama. Each year your gifts make South one of the largest contributors to our local United Way, and this year is no exception.

Total giving to this year’s campaign totaled $240,969, with 2,135 employees and retirees participating. That brings South’s overall giving to $5.2 million since 1998.

The money raised here stays in Southwest Alabama and is focused on the health, education and financial stability of members of our community, along with ensuring each has access to life’s basic essentials.

As chair of the board of the United Way of Southwest Alabama, I have visited United Way partner agencies, spoken with their staff, and witnessed the need and the results of your contributions.

I also know your support is not limited to these financial donations. Members of the Jaguar community are active volunteering at United Way organizations and with other groups in our region. You can find more about ways to get involved on the South Serves website.

I’d like to give a special thanks to the leaders of our University campaign: Shannon Shelley-Tremblay, director of the Office of Community Engagement; Scotty Roberson, assistant administrator/chief nursing officer at Children’s & Women’s Hospital; and Woody Hannum, professor emeritus of history and interdisciplinary studies; as well as Women United and all unit representatives.

South’s contributions to the United Way speak to our collective commitment to community service and improving the lives of those in need of assistance.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama


October 14, 2019

 

Dear USA Students and Employees,

I hope you are having a productive and enjoyable fall semester.

As a reminder, I’m writing to let you know that our University main campus and all of USA’s related locations and facilities are designated as tobacco-free and smoke-free areas.

The tobacco-free policy covers all forms of tobacco, including smokeless and e-cigarettes, as well as all types of vaping and vaping-related products. The policy applies to anyone on University property, including employees, students, vendors and visitors.

This policy was instituted in 2015 following the unanimous recommendation of the Wellness Initiatives Committee. The goal of a tobacco-free and smoke-free campus is to encourage healthy lifestyles, by removing second-hand smoke and giving employees and students an incentive and opportunity to quit.

The University of South Alabama is committed to helping employees and students who wish to quit smoking and using tobacco products. It can be a difficult process and may take several tries, so the University offers assistance to those who need it. For more information, please visit southalabama.edu/tobaccofree.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama


September 13, 2019

 

Colleagues,

I’m pleased to report that the University of South Alabama Board of Trustees today unanimously approved the fiscal 2019-20 budget, which includes raises for eligible faculty, staff and administrators. The budget also includes a modest increase in health insurance premiums, the first since 2016.

Regular and temporary staff will receive an across-the-board 3 percent raise. Regular faculty and administrators hired before June 1, 2019 will be eligible for a raise from a merit pool of 3 percent. The specific percentage of merit increase for each employee will be decided at the college, department or unit level.

Salary adjustments for healthcare providers who are under contract are managed separately by USA Health and are not affected by this action.

I, along with my administrative team and the Board of Trustees, recognize the need to reward valued employees, remain competitive and budget conservatively. We also must plan for and be cognizant of current and future challenges in student recruitment that affect universities across the country, and remain flexible in order to adapt to changes in the healthcare industry.

The salary increase will be effective Nov. 24 for employees paid bi-weekly and be reflected in Dec. 13 payroll deposits. For employees paid monthly, the raise will be effective Dec. 1 and be paid on Jan. 2, 2020.

One of the benefits of working at South is a generous healthcare package. The University covers 75 percent of costs and asks employees to cover the remaining 25 percent. Keeping in line with that model, premiums for employees enrolled in the plan administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield will increase $13 per month for family coverage and $3 per month for single coverage. The budget includes an increase in the University’s contribution. This is the first premium increase for employees in four years.

As always, I encourage you to use services provided by USA Health to help us control costs. In the last few years, USA Health has greatly expanded primary care services, making it more convenient than ever to see a USA Health provider.

I’m proud of our accomplishments as we fulfill South’s mission of teaching, research, healthcare and service. The salary increase approved by the Board of Trustees is recognition of your critical role in South’s successes.

If you have any questions, please talk with your supervisor. You may also call Human Resources at 251-460-6133.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama


September 13, 2019

 

Dear USA Faculty and Staff,

In recognition of the dedication of our USA employees, the University has created an Employee of the Quarter award, which was developed to recognize the exceptional efforts of one University general staff employee each quarter.

I am very pleased to announce that Letitia Myers, Advancement Records Coordinator, in the Office of Development & Alumni Relations, has been selected as USA Employee of the Quarter for the third quarter of 2019. Letitia has been described as a “difference maker” by taking the lead role in helping the division’s conversion and implementation of more than 210,000 database records to a new donor and fundraising database. She has handled it all with an exceptional level of professionalism, a can-do attitude, and a commitment to excellence that is beyond compare. Letitia encourages and motivates her staff to continue to excel and to keep the work of the division moving forward. She is enthusiastic about her work and is always willing to help with any project. Letitia’s willingness to work beyond the bounds of job descriptions and established processes to improve service for colleagues, alumni, donors, and friends of USA show her to be precisely the kind of difference maker on whom the “We Are South” brand is built.

In recognition of Letitia’s commitment to excellence, the presentation of this award took place at today's Board of Trustees meeting.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama


June 7, 2019

 

Dear USA Faculty and Staff,

In recognition of the dedication of our USA employees, I am pleased to announce that Vallarie Hernandez has been selected Employee of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2019.

The Employee of the Quarter award was developed to recognize the exceptional efforts of one University general staff employee each quarter. Vallarie is a Secretary V in the Integrative Studies Department of the College of Education and Professional Studies. The person who nominated Vallarie has described her as a "revolutionary force" in her department providing exemplary vision and dedication in serving our students, "Vallarie brings a positive attitude to her job and is an excellent listener to both student and faculty needs, striving to find solutions to problems. She spends a great amount of time and energy focused on non-traditional students, and is passionate about removing the perceived barriers faced by adult learners and non-traditional students in the department. Vallarie believes that customer service is a key part of her job and sets the bar extremely high for customer service in her department."

In recognition of Vallarie's commitment to excellence, the presentation of this award took place at the Board of Trustees meeting on June 6, 2019.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama


May 29, 2019

 

Dear USA Employees,

The University has concluded the search process for our next Executive Director of Governmental Relations, and I'm pleased to announce that Nick Lawkis has accepted the position, effective immediately.

Many of you already know Nick, who served as Interim Executive Director of Governmental Relations after the retirement of Happy Fulford earlier this year. Nick was an Associate Director in the Office of Governmental Relations from 2015 to 2019. Prior to his role in governmental relations, Nick served in several roles in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations from 2011 to 2015.

Nick holds two degrees from South, an undergraduate degree in business and a master's in public administration. He is a graduate of Leadership Alabama, and serves on a number of internal and external committees and boards.

I look forward to Nick's continued excellent work on behalf of the University.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama


March 26, 2019

 

Dear USA Employee,

One of my responsibilities as president is to ensure we maintain a positive, productive, secure and ethical work environment for everyone at the University. This is a shared responsibility, however. Every person at USA, regardless of position, plays a role in creating a positive environment and an ethical workplace.

To assist with this shared responsibility, the University recently activated a new phone and internet-based reporting system, called the Ethics & Compliance Hotline. This new system allows you to communicate concerns that you may have, and enables you to remain anonymous if you so choose. We have partnered with EthicsPoint, an external agency, to manage the reporting system. They have gone to great lengths to ensure that reports entered in the system are completely confidential.

When you use the Ethics & Compliance Hotline, you can report misconduct that you observe or become aware of, clarify whether an issue or question is cause for concern, and provide feedback on University policies and processes that could be improved.

We are committed to ensuring that all reports are reviewed and responded to appropriately. You will receive additional information about how to access and use our Ethics & Compliance Hotline from our Office of Compliance in the next few days.

Thank you for your continued great work on behalf of the University.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama


March 15, 2019

 

Dear USA Faculty and Staff,

In recognition of the dedication of our USA employees, the University has created an Employee of the Quarter award, which was developed to recognize the exceptional efforts of one University general staff employee each quarter.

I am very pleased to announce that Deborah D. Cobb, Library Supervisor in the Marx Library, has been selected as USA Employee of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2019. Deborah was selected for the successful execution of her work assignments and because of her dedication, creativity and actions toward improving the working environment at USA.

In recognition of Deborah's commitment to excellence, the award was presented at the Board of Trustees meeting on March 15, 2019.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama


February 20, 2019

 

I had the privilege today of attending this year's Soul Food Luncheon. The program was inspirational, inviting people to celebrate both unity and diversity among the South community. It also brought light to acceptance, inequality, inclusion and struggle.

The lunch was bookended by powerful alumnae singers. Our students told stories through dance and voice, speaking from their heart and their history.

The event was organized by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs as part of a series of events for Black History Month. I would like to thank Director Jarmora Valrie, and all the students who participated. I hear your voices, and encourage others to listen as well.

Let's heed the call emblazoned on the performers' T-shirts: "We will not stop: Until we all shine."

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama


February 12, 2019

 

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I am pleased to announce the All Employee Picnic will be held on April 17 from noon until 4:00 p.m. at Moulton Tower and Alumni Plaza.

This picnic will run four hours in an attempt to accommodate the diversity of employee work schedules. I am asking every senior leader and manager to allow you flexibility within your schedule to attend this event at some point during the day.

Expect additional details, as well as registration information, in the near future. If you have any immediate questions, please contact our Office of Special Events at specialevents@southalabama.edu. Also to learn more about Employee Recognition events for the year, please visit this website.

On behalf of the entire senior leadership team, thank you for your continued work efforts and commitment to the University of South Alabama.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama


January 15, 2019

 

Dear USA Employees and Students,

I'm very pleased to let you know that today the University announced it has entered into a new and comprehensive partnership with Hancock Whitney for an array of financial and investment services. As a component of this partnership, our new on-campus football stadium will be named Hancock Whitney Stadium.

Hancock Whitney Stadium will be an outstanding addition to our campus, as well as a first-class venue for our Jaguar Football games and other events.

You'll be hearing more about our partnership with Hancock Whitney in the coming months, and we will keep the University community updated on the progress of Hancock Whitney Stadium as we look forward to our first football game on campus in Fall 2020.

For more information, please see the press release on our website: https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/publicrelations/pressreleases/011519stadium.html.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
President
University of South Alabama