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Jo Bonner named University of South Alabama’s next president

Bonner, Gov. Kay Ivey’s chief of staff, has served in her office since December 2018.

Gov. Kay Ivey's chief of staff Jo Bonner.

The University of South Alabama’s board of trustees on Wednesday selected Gov. Kay Ivey’s chief of staff, Jo Bonner, as the university’s next president. 

Bonner, 61, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2003 to 2013. While in Congress, he was a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Ethics Committee. 

Bonner joined the Ivey administration in December 2018, as her senior adviser and served as vice chancellor for economic development at The University of Alabama System from 2013 to 2018.

Bonner was selected as the university’s next president over two other finalists, which were Michael Tidwell, immediate past president at The University of Texas at Tyler, and Damon Andrew, dean and professor at the College of Education at Florida State University.

Bonner was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award in 2013, by the U.S. Navy, a distinction given to civilians, and in 2016 was honored as the inaugural recipient of the “Congressman Jo Bonner Spirit of Leadership Award” which was created by the Business Council of Alabama that year. 

The University of South Alabama, which he’ll now lead, awarded Bonner with an honorary doctorate in 2012 for his record of public service. 

Bonner graduated from the University of Alabama in 1982, with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism. He and his wife, Janée, have two children, a daughter, Lee, and a son, Robins.

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Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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