President's Vision for University of South Alabama

President's Vision for University of South Alabama

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Dr. Tony Waldrop made history two months ago, when he left The University of Central Florida to become the president of The University of South Alabama.  Dr. Waldrop holds a position only two others have before him..most recently, the late Gordon Moulton, whose ashes are inside the bell tower on campus named in his honor.

Waldrop admits, following in Moulton's footsteps is a bit daunting.  "What I would say is yes..it's always intimidating.  There are big shoes to fill.  But, I'm very fortunate that they left that legacy..cause now I can work to enhance that and move things forward from the environment that they've created here", said Waldrop.  "They" refers to  Moulton, and his wife, Geri.  Dr. Waldrop plans to expand on their accomplishments by getting the university more involved in the community, working with industries already here to form specialized programs. He also wants to conduct more research by tapping into some of our natural resources.  "Related to the coast, we're in an environment where that's a natural for us.  It doesn't take long to get down to Dauphin Island or the other beaches".

When asked to compare The University of South Alabama to The University of Alabama and Auburn University he said, "We will not ever catch them.  They have years of history on us.  They have a wonderful alumni base.  Their monies coming in through gifts are always going to exceed ours for that reason.  However, we can beat them in areas where we feel we want to pick and we're in a community in an area where we can provide degrees in areas of focus that they may choose not to do"."


Something high on South Alabama's wish list is a football stadium with The Jags currently playing games at Ladd Peebles Stadium.  "I think it will happen someday.  But, do we have the resources now?  Absolutely not.  I don't want to diminish the quality. I don't want to pull money from other things so we can have a football stadium", said Waldrop.


Like many other universities, parking can be a challenge at South Alabama, but, students may not get much sympathy from a president who walks 3 to 4 miles each day.  "My desire certainly in the foreseeable future is to have no additional parking spaces.  Today's generation is one that's very committed to sustainability and green environments.  We need to look at other ways of transportation besides everyone having a car to drive to campus and having a parking space right outside in front of their building".
 
Doctor Waldrop adds that he doesn't want to be seen as what he calls a "stuffy academic", but someone who is approachable.  "I'm one..that I'm going to listen, but, I'm also going to make decisions that I hope will be absolutely the right ones..knowing that not every decision will be one that everyone likes.  I'm also one that feels that you've gotta laugh while you're doing it as well.  There's difficult times and there's good times, and both of those give some opportunities for relaxing and enjoying what you're doing".

When asked what he thinks is the university's greatest weakness, he pointed to the infrastructure.  He says while Gordon Moulton did a wonderful job of beautifying the campus, the school is 50 years old and is in need of repair.
 He plans on asking The Board of Trustees to hire a consultant to determine how to go about tackling the problem during Friday's board meeting.

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