University of Mobile flags have been lowered to half staff in honor of the university’s second president, Dr. Michael A. Magnoli, who died May 1, 2021.
Dr. Magnoli served as president of his alma mater from 1984 to 1997.
He was a member of the then-Mobile College charter class of 1967 where he served as editor of The Rampage yearbook and was a campus leader, helping establish many of the university’s traditions that continue today.
He joined the Mobile College administration and served in development, becoming president upon the retirement of founding president Dr. William K. Weaver Jr.
He led a change in organizational structure that resulted in Mobile College becoming the University of Mobile on July 1, 1993. Under his leadership, the college expanded athletic facilities and started an intercollegiate athletic program that is now one of the largest in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The university won its first NAIA national championships in men’s and women’s tennis, men’s golf and women’s soccer during his tenure. The first master’s degree programs were started in education, business administration, nursing and religion. Residential and academic facilities were constructed. The university opened a branch campus in Nicaragua, graduating over 250 students until the campus was sold in 2000.
Several of the university’s signature landmarks were established during Dr. Magnoli’s presidency, including the Sentinel 18 Fountain sculpture. Lyon Chapel, originally built in 1883 as St. Stephens Baptist Church in St. Stephens, Alabama, was moved to campus and restored in 1988.
A Memorial and Celebration of Life service will be held Friday, May 7, at 2 p.m. at Dauphin Way United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama.