Gordon Moulton, whose 47-year career at the University of South Alabama began with a faculty position in the College of Business and ended when he retired earlier this summer after 15 years as President, died today at the age of 73. In a statement on the university’s website, Interim President John Smith said Moulton succumbed to a year-long battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Geri.
Before he fell ill last year, Moulton had attended every commencement ceremony in the university’s history. Known as a dedicated administrator, he returned to work just five days after a surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his brain last October. In February, Moulton announced he was taking leave and in June, officially resigned.
The University’s 50-year anniversary celebration May 3 was also a celebration of Moulton’s tenure. Moulton, who succeeded founding president Dr. Fred Whiddon, is credited with further defining the university’s mission and developing its first comprehensive fundraising effort.
Under Moulton’s presidency, full time enrollment at USA increased from 8,606 in Fall 1999 to more than 15,000 this year. He increased the budget from $384 million in 1998 to $750 million in 2013, and the university currently employees about 5,500 people and has an annual economic impact of around $2 billion.
In 2002, Moulton, hired Dr. Joe Busta, the university’s first vice president of development and alumni relations who kicked off a capital campaign in 2006 that raised $93 million in three years. Before that, USA averaged less than $3 million per year in annual giving.
In the past 10 years, the university has implemented a capital improvement campaign and constructed a new 116,000-square-foot student recreation center, a new 155,000-square-foot home for the College of Engineering, a new 186,000-square-foot health sciences building, a new 330-room residence hall and a new 140-foot bell tower rising over a 240-seat amphitheater and plaza.
There is also a new student services building and a new dining hall. JagTran, USA’s campus-wide transportation system, was implemented in 2005.
Across town, USA’s Children’s and Women’s Hospital recently dedicated a $75 million renovation that nearly doubled its size. Its updated facade gleams alongside the $135 million Mitchell Cancer Institute, completed in 2008 as the only academic cancer research institute on the upper Gulf Coast.
The MCI and the Children’s and Women’s Hospital, as well as the Mitchell Center arena, the Mitchell College of Business and numerous student and faculty endeavors, have benefitted from a relationship between Moulton and the Mitchell family, which has gifted $93 million to the university since 1998.
At the 50th anniversary celebration May 3, Abraham Mitchell pledged $50 million to USA, which is believed to be the largest private contribution to a state school in Alabama history. That money was split between a new scholarship endowment known as the Mitchell-Moulton Scholarship Initiative and the Mitchell College of Business. The Mitchell-Moulton Scholarship Initiative targets students who may not test well, but maintain otherwise respectable grade point averages.
The university is currently evaluating a field of three candidates as Moulton’s permanent replacement. That decision is expected to come before the end of the year.
In addition to Geri, Moulton is survived by a brother, Charles (Rita) Moulton, Albany, Ga.; and a sister, Anne Odom (Donald), Donalsonville, Ga. He is preceded in death by his parents, Gwen and John Curtis Moulton.
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Mitchell-Moulton Scholarship Initiative at the University of South Alabama, in care of the USA Office of University Development, 300 Alumni Circle, Mobile, AL 36688-0002; e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.
A community-wide memorial service will be held on the University of South Alabama campus Wednesday, Oct. 2. The memorial is set for 4 p.m. in the Mitchell Center arena on campus and Geri Moulton will receive guests immediately following at the same location.
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