MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Jo Bonner was formally introduced as the University of South Alabama’s next president Thursday morning.
He told the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and students he is ready to build relationships and listen to people on campus.
The former congressman was selected as the university president last month, and he is already planning what he’ll do in his first few months.
“I’m going to spend the first several months getting out on this campus, many different groups, many different people. The door will always be open to the president’s office for them to come to us,” Bonner said.
After he was named as the fourth president of the university last month, some students have voiced their concerns over his political history.
“Meet me halfway, to give me a chance,” said Bonner.
He says his goal is to continue to grow the university’s foundation.
“I hope when people look back on this chapter, they say, they build on what Dr. Whiddon, and President Moulton, and President Waldrop and really all of those 85,000 alumni and faculty and staff did. Because our job is to continue to build, continue to extend those opportunities,” Bonner said.
The Chair of the Board of Trustees says Bonner’s contract is still being ironed out. It is expected to be complete by the end of the week. He says Bonner’s contract will be about the same as previous president, Tony Waldrop. Waldrop made about $520,000 as president of the school.
Right after he was officially introduced, Bonner helped cut the ribbon of the new Marine and Environmental Sciences Building.
Bonner will officially begin as the president of South in January.