University of South Alabama
TypePublic research university
Established1963; 59 years ago (1963)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$387.12 million (2020)[1]
PresidentJo Bonner
Administrative staff
Location, ,
United States
CampusSuburban main campus; 1,224 acres (495 ha)
ColorsBlue, red, and white[3]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division ISun Belt Conference
MascotSouth Paw

The University of South Alabama (USA) is a public research university in Mobile, Alabama. It was created by the Alabama Legislature in May, 1963, and replaced existing extension programs operated in Mobile by the University of Alabama. The first classes were held in June 1964, with an enrollment of 276 students; the first commencement was held in June 1967, with 88 bachelor's degrees awarded.[4]

USA is divided into ten colleges and schools that include one of Alabama's two state-supported medical schools. In the fall semester of 2018, South Alabama had an enrollment of 15,093 students.[2] By the spring of 2019, the university had awarded over 90,000 degrees.[5] It is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".[6]

USA has an annual payroll of more than $400 million (US), with over 6,000 employees, and is the second-largest employer in Mobile.[7] The university claims to have an annual economic impact of US$3 billion.[8]


The Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health and College of Nursing
The Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health and College of Nursing
Academic rankings
Forbes[9] 616
U.S. News & World Report[10] 293–381
Washington Monthly[11] 234

The university offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in ten colleges and schools. Several programs offer masters level degrees in addition to undergraduate degrees. Doctoral level degrees are offered in several areas, including a Doctor of Pharmacy degree offered in collaboration with Auburn University.

USA also offers classes in nearby Baldwin County at its Fairhope campus,[12] and in 2015 opened its new Gulf Coast Campus in Gulf Shores.[13] In all, undergraduate students at South Alabama can choose from more than 50 bachelor's degree and certificate programs while there are more than 40 master's degree programs. As of 2011, USA ranks as the 22nd best public university in the southern United States, and 52nd overall (in the South). It has an acceptance rate of 86.5%.[14]

The student-faculty ratio at USA is 18:1,[15] and the school has 44.1 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. USA students are 57% female and 43% male.[14] As of 2018, the university had a 44% six-year graduation rate and a 22% four-year graduation rate for bachelor's degree programs.[16]


Shelby Hall - Home to the College of Engineering and School of Computing
Shelby Hall - Home to the College of Engineering and School of Computing

The University of South Alabama has ten colleges and schools:


The university is governed by a board of trustees appointed by and including the governor of Alabama. The board appoints a president of the university. Since the founding of the university, there have been four presidents. Frederick Palmer Whiddon served from 1963 until 1998 and was succeeded by V. Gordon Moulton who served until 2013. John W. Smith, the current executive vice president, served as an interim president until the arrival of Tony G. Waldrop in 2014 and after his retirement in 2021. Jo Bonner was appointed as university president on November 10, 2021.[17]

Athletics and traditions

Main article: South Alabama Jaguars

South Alabama Football at Handcock Whitney Stadium
South Alabama Football at Handcock Whitney Stadium
Jaguar statue and Mitchell Center Arena
Jaguar statue and Mitchell Center Arena

The Jaguars participate in 17 NCAA sanctioned sports (8 men's and 9 women's), and are founding members of the Sun Belt Conference. Men's sports include Football, Basketball, Baseball, Tennis, Cross Country, Golf, Indoor Track and Field, and Outdoor Track and Field. Women's sports include Basketball, Softball, Soccer, Tennis, Cross Country, Volleyball, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field, and Golf. All sports participate in the Sun Belt Conference, a Division I/FBS conference. The school is often referred to as simply "South", "USA", or the "Jags", but the more formal South Alabama is often used as well.

The university announced the creation of an NCAA sanctioned football team on December 6, 2007, with the goal of fast tracking the program to full FBS status by the 2013 season. The school's first ever game was played on September 5, 2009 in front of 26,000+ fans. The Jaguars football team is led by head coach Kane Wommack. The Jaguars lost at NC State 35-13 during the 2011 football season, the program's first game against a FBS opponent and its first loss after going a combined 19-0 during its first 2+ seasons.[18] South constructed an on campus stadium, Hancock Whitney Stadium. It opened in September 2020.

Notable baseball players include David Freese, who was both the 2011 National League Championship Series MVP and 2011 World Series MVP for the St. Louis Cardinals, and Juan Pierre, a World Series winner with the Florida Marlins in 2003.

The basketball program has reached the NCAA tournament eight times, with its only win coming against the University of Alabama in 1989. The Jaguars have been beaten by the eventual national champion 3 of those 8 times (Michigan, Arizona, & Florida), with the Michigan loss occurring in the second round.

Moulton Bell Tower and Alumni Plaza
Moulton Bell Tower and Alumni Plaza

Legal and other matters

Police shooting

On October 12, 2012, 18-year-old freshman Gil Collar was shot by a campus police officer,[19] after appearing naked outside the police station.[20] The university released a statement saying a campus police officer "was confronted by a muscular, nude man who was acting erratically."[19] (Collar was 5 foot 7, and weighed 135 pounds.[20]) Authorities state that Collar appeared to be on drugs when the incident occurred.[21] The student's family filed suit against the university, the officer involved, and the police chief, Herbert Earl "Zeke" Aull.[21] In February 2013, a Mobile County judge ruled that the University was not liable for the student's death.[22] in 2014 the case moved to federal court.[23] In 2015, the officer was cleared in a civil suit.[24] In 2016, the family requested that the Alabama Supreme Court rehear their appeal of the lower court verdict that cleared the officer.[25] The shooting inspired Brian Burghart, then editor of the News & Review in Reno, to found Fatal Encounters, a database that tracks killings by law enforcement officers.[26][27]

2014 federal discrimination lawsuit

On April 4, 2014, a group of students belonging to Students for Life USA, a pro-life student organization, filed a complaint about alleged discrimination in federal court against University of South Alabama officials. The university later settled the lawsuit, paying the students an undisclosed amount of money. According to a copy of the settlement document provided by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the university "denied all material allegations and Plaintiff's claims of constitutional infirmities".[28] USA agreed to change a portion of its policy on use of its space and facilities, and to pay an unspecified sum settling "all of plaintiff's remaining claims, including liability, damages, and attorney's fees".[29][30]

Student life


The Grove: is a privately owned apartment complex on campus that offers individual leases of 2br/3br apartments to only USA undergraduate and graduate students. (Not affiliated with USA Housing & Residence Life.)

Greek life


Panhellenic Council

Interfraternity Council

National Panhellenic Council

Professional Fraternities

Independent Social Fraternities

The following are Greek organizations that existed at the University of South Alabama that are no longer active sorted by the date they received their national charter

Notable alumni

This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they merit inclusion in this article AND are alumni, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. (November 2020)

Notable alumni of the University of South Alabama include:



  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  2. ^ a b University of South Alabama, Historical Enrollment Numbers
  3. ^ USA Brand Guidelines (PDF). Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  4. ^ "USA: A Brief History". University of South Alabama. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  5. ^ University of South Alabama, 2019 Spring Commencement (PDF)
  6. ^ "Carnegie Classifications Institution Lookup". Center for Postsecondary Education. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  7. ^ University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations, "Quick Facts.". (2011-01-25). Retrieved on 2012-05-25.
  8. ^ "University of South Alabama Engagement". University of South Alabama.
  9. ^ "America's Top Colleges 2021". Forbes. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  10. ^ "2021 Best National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  11. ^ "2020 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  12. ^ "USA Baldwin County Campus". University of South Alabama. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  13. ^ "USA Opens Gulf Coast Campus in Gulf Shores". Archived from the original on 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2015-07-15.
  14. ^ a b South Alabama | University of South Alabama | Best College | US News. Retrieved on 2012-05-25.
  15. ^ "About USA Page". University of South Alabama.
  16. ^ "University of South Alabama - 4 Year Graduation Rates, Gender, Race -".
  17. ^ "University of South Alabama names new president".
  18. ^ University of South Alabama – 2011 Football Schedule. Retrieved on 2012-05-25.
  19. ^ a b Gray, Melissa. "Campus officer kills naked freshman at University of South Alabama". CNN.
  20. ^ a b Fambro, Cassie (October 6, 2014). "Two years later, the death of Gil Collar still haunts the University of South Alabama in Mobile". Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  21. ^ a b Kirby, Brendan (26 July 2014). "University of South Alabama student fatally shot by officer was seeking help, lawsuit says".
  22. ^ "Ala. Judge Dismisses Shooting Suit Against College". Associated Press.
  23. ^ "Gil Collar death suit will become a federal case". WSFA. July 28, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  24. ^ Fambro, Cassie (September 15, 2015). "Campus cop who shot and killed Gil Collar cleared in civil case". Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  25. ^ Stokes III, Prescotte (September 19, 2016). "Family of slain USA student Gil Collar wants a re-hearing". Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  26. ^ Johnson, Bert; Christiansen, Rachel (June 5, 2020). "Interview: For 7 Years, This Journalist Has Tried To Track Every Police Killing In The U.S." CapRadio. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  27. ^ Lozano, Alicia Victoria (July 11, 2020). "Fatal Encounters: One man is tracking every officer-involved killing in the U.S." NBC News. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  28. ^ "In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama Southern Division" (PDF). Alliance Defending Freedom. p. 2. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  29. ^ Perez, Andrew (9 April 2014). "Pro-life students file suit against University of South Alabama". Fox 10 TV. Archived from the original on 28 May 2014.
  30. ^ "USA, pro-life student group settle free speech lawsuit". Retrieved 2021-02-16.
  31. ^ "Texas boy, 12, preps for life at Cornell". Ithaca Journal. Retrieved 3 April 2019. Michael Kearney, a child prodigy, graduated from the University of South Alabama at the age of 10
  32. ^ Hevesi, Dennis. "Rodger McFarlane, Who Led AIDS-Related Groups, Dies at 54", The New York Times, May 18, 2009. Accessed May 19, 2009.
  33. ^ "The Vanguard | South Alabama Student Newspaper". Retrieved 2015-07-15.
  34. ^ "A Journal Pertaining to College Students: College Student Journal". Project Innovation, University of South Alabama.

Coordinates: 30°41′48″N 88°10′43″W / 30.69671°N 88.17873°W / 30.69671; -88.17873