South Breaks Ground on $200 Million Whiddon College of Medicine Building
Posted on December 8, 2023
The University of South Alabama broke ground Friday on a new 250,000-square-foot Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine building that will allow the University to graduate more physicians and accelerate research and innovation. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and other supporters attended the event on South’s campus.
The $200 million facility, set to be completed in 2026, will round out a medical education hub on campus that includes the College of Nursing, the Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions, the Health Simulation Building and the Charles M. Baugh Biomedical Library. When the new building opens, more than 500,000 square feet of campus facilities will be dedicated to healthcare education and research.
“This facility will offer our future students the most advanced learning and research opportunities anywhere in the country,” said USA President Jo Bonner. “It will transform medicine to the unique needs of our community while educating and training the next generation of providers.”
The new Whiddon College of Medicine building will provide state-of-the-art laboratory spaces that will create flexibility and efficiency for research today and in the future. It will also allow for expanding the class size of first-year medical students from 80 to 100, with the capability of increasing to 120 in the future, at the same time the nation faces a projected shortage of healthcare providers.
“This is an investment in the future of healthcare to meet the needs of Alabamians,” said Dr. John Marymont, dean of the Whiddon College of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs. “By national metrics, this medical school produces high-quality physicians that stay in the state, helping meet the needs in primary care as well as in rural and underserved areas at an affordable cost.”
The Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama is one of 158 accredited MD-granting institutions in the United States, and one of only two in the state. More than 1,139 of its graduates are practicing medicine in Alabama. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the USA consistently ranks in the top tier nationally for graduates practicing in underserved areas.
Key stakeholders have responded to help invest in the state’s healthcare. In one of his final acts as an Alabama U.S. senator, Richard Shelby set aside $60 million in federal appropriations for the new facility. The USA Foundation contributed $30 million, while the State of Alabama has given $50 million in support of the project.
“Alabama proudly recognizes the value of the Whiddon College of Medicine, and by breaking ground on this state-of-the-art facility, we are further positioning one of our state’s premier institutions to connect our people with the care they need,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “From larger cohorts to greater research capabilities, this new facility will take an already excellent program to the next level.”
Many others have also recognized the critical need to build a new College of Medicine. The City of Mobile will give $10 million, and Mobile County has pledged $5 million. Alabama Power, The Caring Foundation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the Bedsole Foundation, the Daniel Foundation and others also have given transformational gifts.
“We made a call for support to provide a building to match the quality of our student’s education,” Bonner said. “Their action shows that they understand the critical value an academic health system brings to its local community and throughout the state.”
The University has set an additional $30 million philanthropic goal to see the project through to completion. Gifts may be pledged over five years and recognized through naming opportunities in perpetuity.
Shortly after the University of South Alabama was established in 1963, President Frederick P. Whiddon began discussions with community and state leaders about creating a medical school in Mobile. In 1973, this vision became a reality, and the charter class was admitted to the USA College of Medicine. One year later, the Medical Sciences Building was completed as the home of the Whiddon College of Medicine.
The University of South Alabama and USA Health have more than 11,000 employees, making it one of the largest employers in the region.
Other donors include:
- Dr. and Mrs. Charles Rodning
- Dr. J.B. Craven
- USA Medical Alumni Association
- Gerber Taylor
- Dr. and Mrs. Steven Stokes
- Dr. Glenn Wilson
- The Sullivan Family
- The Family of Dr. C. William Daniels
- Mrs. Arlene Mitchell
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