Dr. Tony G. Waldrop, President
Dr. Tony G. Waldrop was named the third president of the University of South Alabama on Feb. 2, 2014.
Under Dr. Waldrop’s leadership, USA has significantly increased graduation rates and retention rates for freshmen students. His tenure has included new partnerships with community stakeholders, a focus on diversity and inclusion, and expansion of USA Health.
In his inauguration address, Dr. Waldrop outlined five priorities that now form the basis for the University’s strategic direction: Student Access and Success; Enhancement of Research and Graduate Education; Global Engagement; Excellence in Healthcare; and University-Community Engagement. These priorities also form the framework of Upward & Onward, a $150 million comprehensive fundraising campaign that was publicly launched in 2015.
With the University’s emphasis on academic persistence and graduation, as well as an expansion of first-year advising, South’s retention rate has increased significantly. Enrollment standards have been strengthened, while at the same time the University has formally partnered with area community colleges to provide additional pathways for students to earn a four-year degree.
USA also has created new avenues for student success through the launch of an Honors College and the Global USA division, which acts as a clearinghouse for all aspects of international education.
Dr. Waldrop helped shepherd the Upward & Onward fundraising campaign that was completed in 2020 and exceeded its goal by raising nearly $161 million. More than $35 million was raised for scholarship funding, and the campaign also funded projects including construction of the Fanny Meisler Trauma Center, the MacQueen Alumni Center and South’s first on-campus football stadium, Hancock Whitney Stadium.
At USA Health, facility enhancements include renovations and expansions at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital and the Trauma Center at USA Medical Center, along with construction of the Strada Patient Care Center and USA Mitchell Cancer Institute’s clinic in nearby Fairhope. With a history of offering specialty healthcare not available elsewhere in the region, the University, during Dr. Waldrop’s tenure, also has grown its primary care network to bring academic medicine to more patients.
An accomplished researcher, teacher and administrator in higher education for more than 30 years, Dr. Waldrop came to USA after serving four years as provost and executive vice president at the University of Central Florida, with previous stints as vice chancellor for research and economic development at the University of North Carolina and vice chancellor for research at the University of Illinois.
Dr. Waldrop has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s in physical education and a Ph.D. in physiology, all from the University of North Carolina. Dr. Waldrop also attained athletic success at North Carolina, winning two NCAA championships as a mile runner on the track and field team and, in 1974, setting a world record for the indoor mile.
After earning his doctorate, he continued his training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas in 1982 as a Research Fellow in the Cardiopulmonary Division, receiving a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Moss Heart Center.
Dr. Waldrop is a native of Columbus, N.C., and is married to Dr. Julee Briscoe Waldrop, who holds a doctor of nursing practice degree from Duke University. They have two adult sons, Cabe and Dallas.