South Magazine - Spring 2019

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Spring 2019

Alumni Leaders Create a Home on Campus Patrick Dungan ’06, Doug Whitmore ’05 and Jeb Shell ’00


Spring 2019


NEWS 4 DEVELOPMENT 8 The Spring 2019 issue of SOUTH is a publication of the Office of Alumni Relations and the USA National Alumni Association. It is intended to inform alumni and friends of current events and issues concerning them. University President Dr. Tony G. Waldrop Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations Margaret M. Sullivan Vice President for Marketing & Communications Michael R. Haskins National Alumni Association Officers Patrick Dungan ’06, President Jim Moore ’90, Vice President Kim Lawkis ’11, M.P.A. ’13, Secretary-Treasurer Doug Whitmore ’05, Past President National Alumni Association Board of Directors Mr. Earl Blackmon ’80 Mrs. Sharon Davis ’02, MBA ’07 Mr. Clyde Higgs ’97 Mr. Mike Mitzner ’90 Mr. Hugh Keating ’74 Mrs. Patsy Kennedy ’96 Mr. Justin Labrato ’98 Mr. Dan Lafayette MBA ’07 Dr. Amy McCoy ’02, MD ’06 Mr. Robbie McGhee ’93 Mr. Jody Montelaro ’00 Mr. Nick Morisani ’05 Mr. Brian Rhoades ’95 Mrs. Laura Sergeant ’91, MEd ’05 Mr. Jimmy Shumock ’80 Mr. Ronnie Stallworth ’03 Mrs. Melanie Sumerlin ’07, MBA ’11 Dr. Paige Vitulli ’86, MEd ’00, PhD ’06 The Honorable Robbie Waller ‘02 Mr. Trent Walters ’08 Mr. Charlie Warner ’76 Col. Frank Wendling ’88 Aly Nguyen, President, USA Southerners National Alumni Association Executive Director Karen Webster Edwards ’80 Associate Director Stephanie Powell ’97 Associate Director Patty Howell Assistant Director Ailey Arrow Cometti Alumni Membership Specialist Coleman Wolf ‘14 Secretary Robyn C. Drinkard Editor Julie Jackson Director of Creative Services Diana Nichols







Philanthropist Abe Mitchell commits $5 million to Hancock Whitney Stadium.



McKinney Family names Alumni Center Greek Plaza in honor of Sigma Chi fraternity and the entire Greek system.



Former South Alabama baseball player becomes the first Jaguar to receive the honor.





South grad helps food insecure children through Feeding the Gulf Coast.

Five leaders honored at 15th annual event in March. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA





As you make your way down USA South Drive, just past the Mitchell Center, a flurry of activity is taking place across the street from Moulton Tower and Alumni Plaza. The new MacQueen Alumni Center is quickly rising up from the ground as we excitedly await its completion. Featured on the cover of this edition of SOUTH Magazine are Doug Whitmore ‘05 and Jeb Shell ’00, co-chairs of the MacQueen Alumni Center committee, along with Patrick Dungan ’06, current president of the National Alumni Association. These dedicated alumni leaders, along with many others, have worked tirelessly over the past few years to ensure all USA alumni will enjoy a beautiful on-campus home. When football comes to South Alabama’s campus in the fall of 2020, the MacQueen Alumni Center will serve as game day central. We will have the unique opportunity to create new game day traditions that will be passed on to future generations of Jaguars. It’s not too late for you to be a part of this wonderful new alumni legacy through your support of the MacQueen Alumni Center. For more information please visit or contact me at (251) 460-7092 or I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our more than 2,000 Spring graduates who now join the ranks of the USA alumni family. We are now more than 83,000 strong across the country and internationally. #WeAreSouthAlumni Karen Edwards ’80 Executive Director USA National Alumni Association




USA medical students learn their “Match” Senior medical students from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine learned where they will do their residency training as part of the National Resident Matching Program, or “Match Day,” in March. The College of Medicine seniors matched in 20 states, with 58 students matching outof-state and 19 students matching in the state of Alabama. Twelve of those students matched at USA hospitals. “Match Day is a huge day for medical students,” said Dr. John V. Marymont, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the USA College of Medicine. “After students complete their undergraduate career, they go on to do four years of medical school where they earn their doctor of medicine,” he said. “During their residency training, they will become immersed in the specialty of their choice and build upon the fundamental skills they learned during medical school.”

Commencement welcomes more than 2,000 new alumni On Saturday, May 4, a total of 2,167 degree candidates were recognized at two commencement ceremonies at USA’s Mitchell Center. Among them were four who received dual degrees. Students who graduated with honors included: 4.0 GPA, 35; summa cum laude, 101; magna cum laude, 129; and cum laude, 162. Twenty-nine students graduated from the University Honors College and five with departmental honors. Ovie Mughelli, a former football player for the

Baltimore Ravens and the Atlanta Falcons whose post-NFL career has focused on empowering youth and educating the public on living an ecologically friendly lifestyle, delivered the commencement address for the morning program. William J. “Happy” Fulford, whose USA career spanned nearly 40 years of service in governmental relations, alumni and development, addressed graduates during the afternoon program.

South, Hancock Whitney in stadium partnership The University of South Alabama and Hancock Whitney announced in January that the University’s new on-campus football stadium, scheduled to open in 2020, will be named Hancock Whitney Stadium in recognition of a new, comprehensive financial partnership between the two organizations. “We are excited and proud to partner with an established, respected financial services company that is headquartered on the Gulf Coast,” said USA President



Tony Waldrop. “We look forward to a long and successful relationship with Hancock Whitney, and we look forward to welcoming our students, alumni and fans to Hancock Whitney Stadium.” Additionally, the University and BudweiserBusch Distributing Co., Inc. reached an agreement on a commitment to the new Hancock Whitney Stadium that includes recognition of the terrace in the facility’s south end zone, to be named the Michelob Ultra Terrace.

WE TREATED A MOM HAVING A STROKE and saved her from missing her son’s baseball tournament.

Leigh Morton | Stroke Survivor When Leigh Morton had a stroke, USA Health University Hospital performed a special procedure to remove a brain clot and save her life. Watch her story at and see how we’re Transforming Medicine like no one else in the region can.


Alabama anglers donate $40,000 to student support


Alumnus awarded top journalism award South Alabama alumnus Andrew Conniff was awarded the 2019 Photojournalist of the Year from the Alabama Broadcasters Association in March during the 13th annual Alabama Broadcasters Association’s “Best in Broadcasting Awards,” otherwise known as the ABBYs. “When I heard them call my name I was definitely proud of how far I had come since starting in the news industry,” Conniff said. The 2017 graduate of USA’s College of Arts & Sciences works at WBRC Fox News in Birmingham.



Dr. John S. Meigs named president of Medical Association of Alabama Long-time Centreville physician John S. Meigs Jr., M.D., has been named president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. Meigs received his medical degree from the University of South Alabama in 1979 and completed his internship and residency in family medicine with UAB/Selma Family Practice Residency Program. “The Association welcomes Dr. Meigs’ continued service on the Board of Censors as president,” Executive Director Mark Jackson said. “His medical experience, as well as his civic-mindedness and sense of compassion brings a strong perspective to the board. It is a genuine pleasure to work with such a leader in the medical community.” Meigs is a diplomat with the American Board of Family Medicine. He is also a past president and former board chair of the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians; a Fellow, former speaker, a past president and immediate past board chair with the American Academy of Family Physicians, and member of the American Medical Association. In 2014, Meigs received the high honor of being elected to the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame, which recognizes those persons who have made outstanding contributions to or rendered exemplary service for health care in the state of Alabama. He is also a 2017 recipient of the National Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

The Coastal Conservation Association Alabama (CCA) recently donated $40,000 to the University of South Alabama’s department of marine sciences. With the goal of advancing knowledge of marine sportfish now and in the future, CCA invested $20,000 for a cobia tagging and research program and $20,000 for the department’s Student Benefit Fund, affirming its commitment to enhancing conservation-based science for the benefit of marine resources and recreational anglers. “These donations are at the core of CCA’s Science of Conservation Program, and we are proud to partner with a marine science leader such as the University of South Alabama to improve the sustainability of our amazing coastal resources,” said Matt Grant, CCA Alabama state chairman.

Women’s Golf wins Sun Belt Championship The University of South Alabama women’s golf team claimed its second Sun Belt Conference championship — and the first in 22 years — when it finished with a season-low 877 combined score on April 17 at the LPGA International – Hills Course in Daytona Beach, Fla. The victory sent the Jaguars to the NCAA regional for the first time in program history. Sophomores Siti Shaari and Caroline Berge earned top-five finishes and were named to the 2019 All-Tournament team after shooting their best 54-hole totals of the season.


South graduates first class of PASSAGE USA PASSAGE USA, which stands for Preparing All Students Socially and Academically for Gainful Employment, is for students ages 19-25 who have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, meaning an IQ of 70 or below. A total of six students graduated and received their certificates during USA’s May 4 spring commencement ceremony at the Mitchell Center. “When we first announced this program, we shared our philosophy, ‘College is Possible,’” said Dr. Abigail Baxter, project director and professor of special education

in USA’s College of Education and Professional Studies. “And now with our first graduating class, we have created a program that has strengthened each student’s independent living, technology, social and job-readiness skills. And we have proven that there are no limits for these students. We know that the research shows students do better when they’re with their typical peers, and many of those peers are studying at colleges and universities.”

EMS Department partners with Mobile County schools to teach CPR Thanks to a recent grant from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, USA’s department of emergency medical services purchased new cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) manikins that provide real-time feedback to gauge the rate, depth and recoil of chest compressions. The result of this donation is a partnership

with the Mobile County Public School System and the USA department of EMS to provide CPR training to all 45,000 Mobile County middle and high school students, faculty and staff during the 2019-2020 school year at no charge to the schools or students.

South alumna named middle school Principal of the Year Andrea Dennis, a graduate of the University of South Alabama’s College of Education and Professional Studies, has been named 2019 Middle School Principal of the Year for Alabama. “This was a true team effort at Scarborough,” Dennis said. “This award helped reinforce what I have been sharing. I have phenomenal students and teachers. Together, with the parents and community leaders, we have achieved tremendous growth. I advocate daily for my students. They deserve the very best. I have worked hard to establish relationships with my students. It’s the core of any improvement process.” Dennis graduated in 2002 with a master’s degree in secondary science education and earned a certification in educational administration in 2007. She currently serves as principal at Scarborough Model Middle School in Mobile. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA



Mitchell Match 100 Days | 100 Donors

It is my hope that others will be as inspired as I am about the future of the University of South Alabama, and the significant milestone that the new stadium represents, particularly its impact on student life. ­—ABRAHAM MITCHELL




The playing field at the University of South Alabama’s new Hancock Whitney Stadium will be named Abraham A. Mitchell Field, in recognition of a $5 million commitment from Mitchell to the football stadium project. The gift is a challenge match to attract additional philanthropic support for the project. “The University of South Alabama is extraordinarily grateful to Mr. Mitchell for his very generous gift to the Hancock Whitney Stadium project,” said USA President Tony Waldrop. “Mr. Mitchell has been exceptionally generous to the University for many years, and we are very pleased that his name will be prominent on another of the many facilities that he and the Mitchell family have made possible with their philanthropy.” The $5 million naming gift for Abraham A. Mitchell Field is structured as a challenge gift that will facilitate additional donations to Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mitchell will match, on a one-to-one basis, any donation to the stadium project from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $250,000 per donor. A special campaign called 100 Days | 100 Donors launched on May 1 to challenge others to support the Mitchell Match. “It is my hope that others will be as inspired as I am about the future of the University of South Alabama, and the significant milestone that the new stadium represents, particularly its impact on student life,” said Mitchell. “I’m extremely proud to have played a role in the growth

and development of the University, and I look forward to continued enhancement of USA’s success in academics, health care and athletics.” The philanthropic support of Mitchell, along with his late brother, Mayer Mitchell, and Mayer’s wife, Arlene Mitchell, has enabled the University to offer substantial new scholarship funds to students, and to construct the Mitchell Center, the Mitchell College of Business, the USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute and other facilities of USA Health and the USA College of Medicine. “Mr. Mitchell has had a profound and remarkable impact on every aspect of the University of South Alabama, from student scholarships and academics to health care and athletics,” said Ken Simon, chair pro tempore of the USA Board of Trustees. “This gift continues and expands the legacy of improvement and expansion that he and his family have made possible over the past several decades. We are extremely pleased that the Abraham A. Mitchell Field at Hancock Whitney Stadium is now part of that legacy.” Fundraising for the stadium continues, and additional sponsorship and donor opportunities are available. To support Hancock Whitney Stadium, contact Joel Erdmann at jerdmann@southalabama. edu or (251) 460-7121, or Jacob Ludwikowski at or (251) 461-1553, or visit


Campaign momentum builds for new Pediatric Emergency Department at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital


No one wants to think about their child being rushed to a hospital emergency department. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and thousands of children are seen in the pediatric emergency department at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital each year. Fortunately, because of the unwavering commitment of the community, alumni and USA Health leaders, sick and injured children are treated by the most qualified physicians, nurses and caregivers who have specialized training designed to meet a child’s unique needs. Kristen Beard DeLaney, along with members of her family, believe strongly in supporting the region’s only children’s and women’s hospital to ensure that everyone who lives on the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast and beyond have this resource available should they need it. “Having a specialized children’s and women’s hospital close to home is not something we should take for granted,” DeLaney said. “Many families have to travel hundreds of miles to get the care we receive here.” USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital is in the first phase of a capital campaign to build a new pediatric emergency department on its midtown Mobile campus. To-date, $4 million has been raised toward a $10 million goal. Construction will begin when the campaign raises $5 million, USA Health officials said.

Now, the pediatric emergency department is an 11-bed unit that treats more than 35,000 young patients - age 19 and younger- each year. While the unit is staffed with the highest trained and most caring team members, it is housed in a 6,766-square-foot space. Plans call for an expansion to 25,000 square feet, with additional rooms for beds, patient care areas and testing. The new emergency department design calls for designated areas for major medical treatment, resuscitation, psychiatric patients, an isolation area for infectious disease patients and better triage capabilities. Larger and additional private treatment rooms will better accommodate caregivers and patient during care. The Beard family, including Kristen and her husband Drew DeLaney, Brooke Beard Dodson and her husband John Dodson, and their parents, Brad and Melissa Beard have been generous supporters of USA Health initiatives. The group has been instrumental in launching the campaign for expanding USA Health’s pediatric emergency department. “Our family is honored to support USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital,” Kristen DeLaney said. “A hospital focused on the needs of children and women is a unique and precious gem. We love this hospital and this community and recognize the need to support local institutions like USA Children’s & Women’s, serving so many in Mobile

and surrounding areas.” DeLaney, and her sister Brooke Beard Dodson, said they are grateful the pediatric emergency department was there when their little ones needed after-hours acute care. While their children didn’t require long hospital stays, they know that’s not the case for others. “Once we became mothers and saw firsthand our children as patients, our love and appreciation for USA Children’s & Women’s grew and motivated us to become more involved,” Dodson said. “For so many families, leaving town for a child’s cancer treatment or a surgery is financially difficult and adds more obstacles to an already trying time.” Kristen DeLaney said she and her family encourage others to support the campaign for a larger pediatric emergency department by making a donation of any size: “Sure, big gifts are appreciated, but small gifts can be made by so many more people and they can add up to match large gifts,” she said. “All parents hope they never need the care of a children’s and women’s hospital. If you do, you can be at ease knowing there is a wonderful facility with caring doctors and nurses here in Mobile.”

Left to right: Brad and Melissa Beard, Brooke Beard Dodson and husband John Dodson, Kristen Beard DeLaney and husband Drew DeLaney.



Frazier Hired as First Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

D Dr. Frazier is right for this task. He faces an added responsibility with a great opportunity to build a program from the ground up... in a University committed to his success. ­—DR. TONY WALDROP



Dr. Paul A. Frazier has been named chief diversity and inclusion officer at the University of South Alabama. Frazier most recently served five years as associate vice president for institutional diversity, equity and community engagement at Texas Tech University. Frazier is leading South Alabama’s newly established Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with a focus on advancing the University’s strategic plan, which includes a commitment to maintaining an inclusive and supportive campus climate. University President Dr. Tony Waldrop said Frazier’s professional experience and achievements in diversity, equity and inclusion are impressive. “Dr. Frazier is right for this task,” Waldrop said. “He impressed both me and the selection committee with his knowledge and strength in program development, and his ability to communicate and speak frankly about tough issues, along with having a data-driven assessment with a collaborative approach. He faces an added responsibility, with a great opportunity to build a program from the ground up. He has the benefit of existing energies by our faculty and staff, and a University committed to his success.” Frazier earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, a second master’s degree in education, and his doctorate in education and leadership, all from Texas Tech. “When I visited and interviewed for this position, I was welcomed with such kindness,” Frazier said. “The

University has a strong strategic plan regarding diversity and inclusion.” The search committee was chaired by Dr. Angela Coleman, associate vice president for institutional effectiveness. “We were very thoughtful in our selection of candidates to interview,” Coleman said. “There were more than 200 applicants that had unanimous support from the committee at each state of the selection process. We are confident in his ability to lead our institution in this effort.” Frazier grew up in Amarillo, Texas, and worked for public schools in Lubbock as an executive director for student administrative services. He was also a high school principal, an assistant principal for middle, high and magnet schools, and a high school teacher and coach. In higher education, Frazier has held several administrative positions and he served as an adjunct instructor for the College of Education at Texas Tech. He has written and been awarded numerous grants worth upward of $1 million, and he has authored articles for numerous publications. As a member of many organizations and the recipient of numerous honors and awards, Frazier has a distinguished professional and community service background. Also, under Frazier’s leadership at Texas Tech, his division won numerous awards.

Invest in scholars. “By receiving scholarships at South, I have had the opportunity to expand my academic horizons beyond pre-med classes. I was able to study abroad this past summer and hope to one day become a physician who works with a Spanish speaking population.”­ — NADEN KREITZ, SENIOR BIOLOGY/SPANISH MAJOR MONTGOMERY, AL

Double Your Impact Today.

The Mitchell-Moulton Scholarship Initiative will match your investment dollar for dollar. Help undergraduate students like Naden turn their dreams into realities. Give online: | (251) 460-7032 | email:



With construction underway and the MacQueen Alumni Center closer to becoming a reality at the University of South Alabama, a new fund development effort has been championed by another alumnus, Lee McKinney, a former member of the USA National Alumni Association board of directors. A L A ST IN G L EGACY McKinney’s most recent donation of $100,000 will help create the McKinney Family Greek Plaza in honor of his organization, Sigma Chi fraternity, and the entire Greek-letter system at South Alabama. McKinney, who attended South from 1989-1992, recalls having an amazing and rewarding experience as a student and a member of the South Greek system. “I wanted to honor my fraternity and leave a lasting legacy for the entire Greek system at South,” McKinney explained. “When talking to Karen Edwards, South’s alumni director, I mentioned that it was important for us to have a place on campus where all members of the Greek organizations could gather and fellowship. And the McKinney Family Greek Plaza idea was born.”

Championing the Gift, Leaving a Legacy G R E E K O R G A N I Z AT I O N S E N C O U R AG E D TO D O N AT E 12


IT ’ S A FA M ILY A F FA IR It was important for McKinney, who came to South on a track scholarship, to do more than help think of an idea, and that’s when he and his family decided to help kickstart the campaign with his initial gift. McKinney has a history of giving at South. He has supported the track team, donated funds to South and created an endowment for track and field student scholarships at South that total nearly $300,000. “I really enjoyed my time at South Alabama,” McKinney said. “I want to make sure all students and students of the Greek system have a wonderful experience. This gift for the McKinney Family Greek Plaza is given in honor of my family, which includes my wife, Candice; my two daughters, Everlee, age 6; Ella Slaton, age 3; my parents, Roddy and Janice; and my brother, Danny. As representatives of our family company, McKinney Capital, with offices in Birmingham, Mobile and the Southeast, it’s important that we give back whenever we can. And we are committed to giving to South.” SOU T H’ S B RIDG E B U IL DE RS Over the years at South Alabama, the students in the Greek system have served as outstanding leaders, and now they are making contributions as professionals who are giving back to their alma mater with their time, skills, expertise and dollars. “I believe South Alabama has a unique Greek system. It has always been open and inclusive to students from


broad backgrounds,” said Patrick Dungan, National Alumni Association president and member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. “We know our diversity makes us stronger, and now we will have a place to gather, fellowship and enjoy our beautiful campus together.” Dungan, ’06, has been on the South Alabama alumni board since 2012, and he has been able to watch the implementation of the construction of the MacQueen Alumni Center and now the new McKinney Family Greek Plaza, which will be housed on the front exterior of the center. “Through the Greek system at South, I have created lifelong friendships, and doors have opened for me, and I have a strong understanding of how to work with those who are different and have varied experiences. The McKinney Family Greek Plaza will be a great asset for our campus. I am proud to be a South alumnus. We have a great alumni board of directors, and we are grateful to the staff who is a huge asset as well. It’s an exciting time for South Alabama.” Douglas Whitmore ‘05, National Alumni Association immediate past president and member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, was very involved with the plaza’s design. He said the McKinney Family Greek Plaza will be an anchor for the new alumni center. “This will be a functioning space where members of all the Greek organizations can gather to take photos and enjoy each other,” Whitmore said. “This space will give us a sense of pride. We have several past presidents who have served and helped make this space a reality.” TH E PATH WE WA LK TO G E TH E R As of this spring, 15 Greek organizations and their members have donated $10,000 each to help build the McKinney Family Greek Plaza. The plaza will have a seating area with engraved plaques recognizing each Greek organization. The Greek members all agree this will be an important and lasting legacy for the Greek system at South. Jeb Shell, ’00, National Alumni Association past president and member of Kappa Alpha Order fraternity “When I was president, I was very involved with managing and approving the design process and the McKinney Family Greek Plaza has gone through a couple of design phases,” Shell noted. “The overall purpose is to showcase the Greek organizations that are currently on campus along with those that have been around since the University was founded. It was the membership of the Greek organizations that helped to start and create the National Alumni Association.”

Margie Tuckson, ’73, USA trustee and member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority “It was significant to make sure we supported this important initiative, and have a presence in the new McKinney Family Greek Plaza,” Tuckson shared. “As one of the charter members of the Iota Nu City Wide Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., founded in 1972, I am elated that we represent South Alabama, Spring Hill College and the University of Mobile. I am proud that we will play an important role in helping to create this cultural space for all Greek organizations to come, fellowship and enjoy together. I knew when we joined this effort several years ago, this would lead to us building a strong legacy at South for Greek organizations.” Patrick Hicks, ’71, member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity “When I became aware that the McKinney family wanted to create and support the McKinney Family Greek Plaza,” Hicks said, “I saw this as an opportunity for the Greek system to participate in something we all could benefit from and be proud of. My fraternity saw the importance of us giving to this much-needed space for the Greek system. We didn’t have any problems raising the funds.” Kim Lawkis, ’11, ’13, member of the Chi Omega fraternity “Greeks are the most involved across campus,” Lawkis noted. “We are humbly honored to be able to support such a great campus initiative. This new space will give us a place to be recognized. And, we will be able to showcase our organizations and honor our past and the future. I am proud we are South alumni.” Grace Newcombe, ’19, immediate past president of the Student Government Association and member of Phi Mu fraternity “Phi Mu joins all the other Greek organizations by having a strong legacy of fund development and philanthropy,” Newcombe stated. “We are grateful to be able to join the McKinney family in providing support for this muchneeded space for Greeks on South’s campus.” The NAA expects construction of the MacQueen Alumni Center and McKinney Family Greek Plaza to be completed by spring 2020.

McKinney Family Greek Plaza, in honor of Sigma Chi Fraternity, Participating Organizations N AT ION A L PA N HE L L ENIC C OUNC IL Delta Sigma Theta Kappa Alpha Psi Sigma Gamma Rho PA N HE L L ENIC C OUNC IL Alpha Gamma Delta Alpha Omicron Pi Chi Omega Kappa Delta Phi Mu IN T E RF RATERNITY COU N CIL Kappa Alpha Order Phi Kappa Sigma Pi Kappa Alpha Pi Kappa Phi Sigma Alpha Epsilon Sigma Chi Tau Kappa Epsilon




From left: Ron Watson, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame board member, Luis Gonzalez, Gov. Kay Ivey, Edgar Welden, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame board chairman.

Luis Gonzalez first Jaguar to be inducted into Alabama Sports Hall of Fame



Former University of South Alabama baseball standout Luis Gonzalez was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2019 in April at a ceremony in Birmingham. Gonzalez was a three-year letterman at South Alabama, twice earning All-American honors and was named to Baseball America’s All-Freshman Second Team. He holds the Jaguar single-season records in RBIs (80) and games played (70), which he produced in 1988 and 1987, respectively. He led the Jaguars with 16 home runs in 1988. Gonzalez had his number retired at USA in 2001 and was inducted into the USA Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. In the fourth round of the 1988 MLB draft he was drafted by the Houston Astros and went on to play 18 seasons for seven different teams. In 2001, Gonzalez was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ only World Series championship team to date. He had his number retired by the Diamondbacks in 2010, becoming the first player in the organization’s history to earn the distinction. He was a five-time All-Star with Arizona, and was awarded the 2001 Silver Slugger Award the same year he delivered his walk-off single in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series off of New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, which gave the Diamondbacks their first-ever world championship. Gonzalez was the 2005 Branch Rickey Award recipient for his community service following Hurricane Katrina, and was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in 2011. He is a 2006 recipient of the National Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award.



SouthConnects is your online gateway to the University of South Alabama alumni community. Simply login to connect with fellow South alumni across the globe, search job opportunities posted by fellow South graduates, or learn about alumni gatherings near you. The South Alabama National Alumni Association makes it easy for you to stay in touch with your University and the family of South alumni. Connecting is simple. Visit today to connect.



F I V E H O N O R E D AT 1 5 T H A N N U A L

Distinguished Alumni & Service Awards

The University of South Alabama National Alumni Association honored four alumni and a Mobile businessman for their outstanding accomplishments during the 15th annual Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards gala in March at USA’s Mitchell Center. “The individuals who were honored have shown outstanding leadership, not only in their respective career fields, but in their communities as well,” said Margaret Sullivan, vice president for development and alumni relations. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize their achievements as alumni and supporters of the University.”

“We are incredibly proud of these five individuals. They represent the significant contributions our more than 80,000 alumni and friends are making in our region and

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWA R D This year’s recipient of the Distinguished Service Award was Sr. Marilyn Joyce Aiello, O.P., M.D. Before graduating from the College of Medicine


in 1978, she opened the Franklin Clinic to provide

the world.”

Davis Avenue in Mobile. Afterward, she practiced

health care for the African-American poor near family medicine in the Mississippi Delta, which


includes some of the poorest areas of the country. Later, she taught at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine before moving to Chicago where today she serves as medical consultant for the 600 Dominican Sisters in her community.

V. G O R D O N M O U LT O N DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWA R D The recipient of the V. Gordon Moulton Distinguished Service Award was Ralph A. Hargrove, president and CEO of Hargrove Engineers + Constructors of Mobile. He has been a consistent supporter of USA, hiring more than 130 graduates, supporting athletics as well as the College of Engineering, the School of Computing, USA Health University Hospital and endowing scholarships. A new organization, harGIVES, provides adapted motorized cars to mobility-limited children while supporting USA Engineering’s Senior Capstone Project. Hargrove’s company, known for its relationship building and client service, is also a strong promoter of civic


engagement with its employees. SOUTH | SPRING 2019

R EC I P I E N T S O F T H E D I ST I N G U I S H E D A LU M N I AWA R D S W E R E : Tanya Fratto Blair, ’83, whose outstanding engineering career and her strategic business leadership were evident throughout a career that began with an internship at International Paper and continued to her first job with General Electric, then as CEO and president of her own company. Today, she serves as a board member of numerous international corporations, including Smiths Group PLC, a British multinational diversified engineering business with operations in more than 50 countries; Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc., which produces high-density corrugated pipes and other drainage products; and the Ashtead Group PLC, a London-based industrial

Caleb Crosby, ’03, is president and CEO

Dr. Edward A. Panacek, COM ’81, returned

of the Alabama Policy Institute, a leading

to South to head the emergency department

conservative think tank. His political career

at USA Health University Hospital, as well

began with the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election

as teach, research and develop a new ER

campaign. He served in the Environmental

residency program. He is the only graduate

Protection Agency, then at the White House

to regularly appear on-screen and be the

in the executive office of the president,

medical adviser for a television show “Untold

managing the event and travel budget for the

Stories of the ER.” Panacek contributed to USA

president and first lady. Later, he served at the

Health’s success in securing $9 million for the

Department of the Treasury, and in 2008 he

new Fanny R. Meisler Trauma Center, and he is

became chief financial officer at the National

a leader of the facility’s design team. Presently,

Republican Congressional Committee. He

Panacek leads the medical alumni Class of ’81

returned to Alabama to become API’s director

Scholarship for medical students, which has

of development, then vice president and chief

raised more than $600,000.

financial officer.



Destined to a Life of Service




“Growing up, you never think about the kid next door or the kid you go to school with being hungry. It was a turning point for me as to what’s going on in our local communities.” ­—EUGENIE SELLIER, ’11, MPA ’16


Like many children, Eugenie Sellier’s mom warned her to eat the food on her plate because there were kids in the world who were starving. And like most kids, she knew that meant she better finish her dinner. Growing up in Pass Christian, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Sellier realized there were people who went without enough food. But the issue did not affect her directly, so it was not a real concern. Until her senior year of high school in 2005. “When Hurricane Katrina hit, it completely changed my perspective,” said Sellier. In the weeks following the storm, she and her family received critical help from first responders, including Salvation Army volunteers who delivered hot meals every day. “Seeing how everyone was willing to help out during a disaster made me want to go into a public service career.” Sellier’s path to public service proved an uneven road. She entered the University of South Alabama in 2006 to study physical therapy before switching majors two more times. When one of her roommates suggested she take a communications class, Sellier agreed. “I got hooked on print journalism, and loved it.” After graduating in 2011 with a double major in journalism and French, Sellier continued her college job working in retail until a friend, a fellow South alumna, mentioned an opening for a child nutrition coordinator at the Bay Area Food Bank, now called Feeding the Gulf Coast. Without any experience in child nutrition and limited scope of the organization’s programs, Sellier was skeptical about interviewing for the position. However, after being offered the job, she readily accepted and hit the ground running. During her first year as child nutrition coordinator, Sellier spent much of her time traveling to rural communities in Alabama, learning as much as she could about the needs of hungry children in those areas. The experience became a pivotal moment in her career. “Growing up, you never think about the kid next door or the kid you go to school with being hungry,” said Sellier. “It was a turning point for me as to what’s going on in our local communities.” At the end of that year, Sellier entered South’s master of public administration program to further her career in public service. Although she admits it was

difficult at times to juggle working full-time and attending classes at night, Sellier believes she benefitted from the process. “It was very helpful to be working and going through the program simultaneously,” Sellier said. “A lot of the skills I learned I could relate directly to work. I was able to bring up questions from my job in class for real-time solutions.” One professor in particular made a significant impression on Sellier. On the first day of her class, Sellier was terrified of Dr. Jaclyn Bunch, assistant professor of political science. “Because of that, I didn’t forget anything she taught me,” laughed Sellier. Bunch went on to sponsor the Public Administration Club, a student organization Sellier co-founded. Their relationship eventually transformed into one of mentorship, and Bunch continues to communicate regularly with Sellier to follow her career progression. “Eugenie made a tremendous impact on the classroom experience,” said Bunch. “She is a consummate professional, an enthusiastic scholar and an impactful leader. Our program is honored to count her among our alumni.” After receiving her MPA in December 2016, Sellier was promoted to Alabama child nutrition manager at Feeding the Gulf Coast. Two years later, she became the director of child nutrition programs, overseeing the operation and administration of four child hunger relief programs serving more than 20,000 children at 250 feeding locations in the Gulf Coast region. Sellier credits the education she received at South for learning the skills necessary to thrive in her current position, specifically what she learned in her MPA program. “From human resources, to budgeting, to interpreting data, what I learned in the program allowed me to move ahead in my career more quickly,” said Sellier. She doesn’t try to predict where her career will ultimately lead, but Sellier knows she is finally on the right trajectory. “I never thought I would be where I am today five years ago,” Sellier said. “I enjoy mentoring the younger staff, and I would like to continue managing and leading programs in public service.” Wherever her career path leads, it’s a good bet that Sellier will continue to make a difference in the lives of others.

BACKPACK PROGRAM Feeding the Gulf Coast’s Backpack Program helps meet the needs of hungry children by providing them with nutritious and easyto-prepare food to take home on weekends and school vacations when other resources are not available. AFTERSCHOOL MEAL PROGRAM The Afterschool Meal Program provides free meals and snacks to children through a variety of community locations. It also promotes a safe place where a child can get involved in educational, recreational and social activities. SUMMER MEALS PROGRAM The Summer Meals Program, funded by the USDA, provides free summer meals to children under 18.


backpacks provided weekly


participating schools Child food insecurity rate:

1 in 4


children experiencing food insecurity in the Gulf Coast region



Ground Broken on USA Health University Hospital Trauma Center Expansion


With contributions of $4 million from the state and a private donation of $5 million from local businessman and philanthropist Bert Meisler, USA Health and University of South Alabama officials along with Gov. Kay Ivey broke ground on the Fanny Meisler Trauma Center at University Hospital on December 4, 2018. Planned for the Spring of 2020, the new construction and renovation will expand and modernize the current space, enhancing the hospital’s ability to accommodate patients with traumatic injuries and respond to mass casualty situations in the region. The center is named for Fanny Meisler, the late wife of Bert Meisler, who announced his $5 million gift to USA Health earlier this year. Ivey announced the economic development grant of $4 million in August 2017 for the trauma center, recognizing the need for expansion of University Hospital’s existing Emergency Department.



“We are proud to support the work of University Hospital as the region’s only Level 1 trauma center,” Ivey said. “We depend on this care for our residents. This service is also vital to our state’s economic development efforts, as corporations demand this level of care when they look to relocate to Alabama.” University Hospital is the only academic medical center in the region where patients can receive the highest level of care when a traumatic injury occurs. A dedicated trauma team of specialized physicians and staff is on standby at the hospital 24 hours a day, every day, ready to help patients at a moment’s notice. “We are grateful Gov. Ivey and Bert Meisler recognize the importance of an expanded Level 1 trauma center in our region and the role our dedication to quality health care has in attracting more businesses and saving more lives,” said University of South Alabama President Dr. Tony Waldrop.

Join the Rec!

South graduates who are members of the National Alumni Association are eligible to join the USA Recreation Center. Outdoor recreational pool/ indoor lap pool n 35 foot rock climbing wall n Padded indoor soccer court n 4 basketball courts n State-of-the art cardio theater n Group fitness classes n Children’s summer camps n Outdoor adventure trips n Child care available n

Perfect for the whole family — join today!

U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H A L A B A M A C A M P U S R E C R E AT I O N (251) 460-6293 |

You’re invited to Jaguar Junction! All USA National Alumni Association members are invited to join us at Jaguar Junction, the Association’s pregame hospitality tent, before each home football game. Enjoy complimentary food, drinks, live music and giveaways. Guest fees apply. JUNIOR JAGUARS The Junior Jaguars Club is open to all children, ages 12 and under, of USA National Alumni Association members. Includes admission to Jaguar Junction for each 2019 home football game, exclusive Junior Jaguars giveaways and a membership card. Memberships are available during pre-season through the first home football game. For more information or to join the National Alumni Association, visit, (251) 460-7084 or




Homecoming 2019 October 24-26 T H U R S D AY, O C T O B E R 2 4 Golden Jaguar Alumni Dinner Honoring the Class of 1969 F R I D AY, O C T O B E R 2 5 Coach Campbell Luncheon Alumni Lawn Party Homecoming Parade & Pep Rally S AT U R D AY, O C T O B E R 2 6 Jaguar Junction South Alabama vs. Appalachian State


College of Engineering Celebrates 50 Years


It was 1964 at the University of South Alabama. Fall enrollment – the first fall enrollment for the one-yearold university – was 928 students. There was only one building. But it was from these humble beginnings that a seed was planted. In just the second meeting of the University’s board of trustees, on Jan. 31, 1964, President Frederick Whiddon outlined in a brief report that USA would add a “department” of engineering. Later that year, retired Admiral M.E. Eaton was named associate professor and head of the engineering department. He was, in fact, its only faculty member. Times have certainly changed. The department became a college. Faculty have grown from one to nearly 50 full-time positions. USA’s College of Engineering now has four academic departments: chemical and biomolecular engineering; civil, coastal and environmental engineering; electrical and computer engineering; and mechanical engineering. It offers five baccalaureate degrees, four master’s degrees and a doctoral degree in systems engineering. More than 6,000 degrees have been awarded in the college’s history; roughly 4,700 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate degrees. Enrollment this fall included 1,210 undergraduate students and 67 graduate students. Here in 2019, the College of Engineering is celebrating its 50th year as a college. Its home since 2012, Shelby Hall, hosted the college’s 50th anniversary gala on Saturday, April 13. “This event honored the engineering profession, the college and the world of difference engineers make in Mobile and beyond,” said Dr. John Steadman, dean of the college for the past 18 years. “As we mark this occasion, we wanted to honor our alumni, corporations, foundations, faculty and staff who have made a lasting impact on the college and the engineering profession.” In many ways, Shelby Hall itself symbolizes the growth and maturation of USA’s College of Engineering. The 155,000-square-foot classroom and laboratory building is prominently located at the southeast corner of campus near the intersection of University Boulevard and Old Shell Road. Shelby Hall contains 63 laboratories, 17 classrooms, three large multimedia auditorium classrooms, five computer labs, five student study areas and seven student design rooms, offices for faculty and staff and much more. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA



William B. Burnsed Jr. Department of Mechanical Engineering

“Bill Burnsed represents the epitome of what engineers do. He uses his knowledge to make life better for everyone.” ­—JOHN STEADMAN, RETIRING DEAN, USA COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING




William B. “Bill” Burnsed Jr., a 1972 graduate of the University of South Alabama College of Engineering, has donated $1.5 million to the college’s department of mechanical engineering, which will be named the William B. Burnsed Jr. Department of Mechanical Engineering. This gift will enhance the College of Engineering’s ability to provide the highest-quality instruction, conduct innovative research and provide valuable service to the community. Burnsed worked as an engineer for South Central Bell and BellSouth for 20 years before starting Burnsed Oil Co. Inc., which explores for and produces crude oil. He credits much of his success to the education he received at South. “I had always planned on giving back to South,” said Burnsed. “I never would have gotten to where I am today if I had not received my engineering degree, and South best fit my needs to be able to accomplish this.” University of South Alabama President Tony Waldrop emphasized the positive impact Burnsed’s gift will have on the University’s students and faculty. “This generous gift will allow our College of Engineering faculty to continue to provide exceptional

academic curricula, and it will lay the foundation for transformational growth in the department of mechanical engineering,” Waldrop said. “Through Mr. Burnsed’s generous support, South’s engineering students will continue to become the problem solvers and leaders of tomorrow.” Dr. John Steadman, retiring dean of USA’s College of Engineering, said this investment is a game-changer for the department of mechanical engineering. “Bill Burnsed represents the epitome of what engineers do,” said Steadman. “He uses his knowledge of science and mathematics to create systems and a business that make life better for everyone. His achievements and generosity have brought honor and recognition to the college, for which we are truly grateful.” In addition to his latest gift to the College of Engineering, Burnsed has previously established the William B. Burnsed and Amy Burnsed Barter Scholarship Endowment that provides assistance to undergraduate students in the College of Engineering. He has also donated substantial gifts to the MacQueen Alumni Center and Hancock Whitney Stadium.

Your Jag pride can turn dreams into reality. When you purchase a University of South Alabama license plate, 100% of net proceeds benefit USA student scholarships. USA license plates have raised more than $1 million for students to follow their dreams. Through the Mitchell-Moulton Scholarship Initiative, the proceeds from your Jag Tag are automatically matched. Get your Jag Tag today! #InvestInDreams

Hope Hill, Junior Chemistry/ Pre-Law major Wetumpka, Ala.

(251) 460-7032 |

1974 — SOCI E TY —

Your gift of $1,974, payable over three years, allows you to become an integral part of the new MacQueen Alumni Center. Only 1,974 memberships are available, and all 1974 Society members will be recognized in a central location in the MacQueen Alumni Center. Join the 1974 Society today, and become a part of USA alumni history. | (251) 460-7084

Support the USA National Alumni Association with BBVA Compass for your CauseÂŽ. The BBVA Compass debit card is the only debit card that helps support the University of South Alabama National Alumni Association with every purchase. Through BBVA Compass for your CauseÂŽ, BBVA Compass will donate $50 to the USA National Alumni Association with each new consumer checking account opened using our organization promo code (128133). Also, with each new debit card, BBVA Compass will donate 0.25% of the amount of every signature-based qualifying purchase to the USA NAA. This is an easy way to show your South spirit and to give back to your alma mater.

To learn more visit


Learn how at (251) 460-7084

Sunny Portugal Estoril Coast, Alentejo and Algarve

Your South Alabama Alumni Association membership gives back to USA and sets a foundation for generations to come. JOIN TODAY! Membership Benefits Include: • Lifetime Member’s name inscribed on our Wall of Honor at Moulton Tower (paid-in-full Lifetime Members) • Eligibility to join USA Recreation Center (USA Alumni only) • Admission into Jag Junction football tailgating events • Eligibility for Children of Alumni Scholarships • USA Bookstore discounts | (251) 460-7084





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