New surgical robots receive funds through college foundation


A $5 million gift to the University of South Alabama will allow for the expansion of the USA Trauma Center, the university announced in Mobile Friday morning.

Longtime USA supporter Herbert A. Meisler donated $5 million to expand the facility, which will be renamed the Fanny R. Meisler Trauma Center, in honor of Meisler’s late wife. The gift will more than double the size of USA’s trauma center from 11,000 to 27,000 square feet and convert the current 22 private and semi-private exam rooms to 41 private exam beds, according to the university. The renovation will serve to meet the increasing demands placed upon the region’s only Level 1 trauma center. “The USA Medical Center serves thousands of people each year and saves the lives of our citizens every day,” Meisler said. “The expansion of its Level 1 trauma center — the only one of its kind in the region—is vitally important to our community. I am so pleased to be able to give back to the University of South Alabama and to the USA Health system in this way.” Dr. John V. Marymont, vice president for medical affairs and dean of USA’s College of Medicine, said this investment is transformative for this region and the state.

“Mr. Meisler’s generous gift is the capstone of a partnership with the state and USA Health that will transform trauma care in this region, enhance economic development and provide future emergency medicine physicians for Alabama,” Marymont said. “USA Health has committed to starting an emergency medicine residency to help fulfill the need for board-certified emergency medicine physicians in our state, and our expanded trauma center will greatly enhance those efforts.” In addition to Meisler’s gift, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced last August that $4 million from an economic bond issue will be directed to the cost of the trauma center’s renovation. “The USA Medical Center’s Level 1 trauma center is critical to our state’s Gulf Coast region,” Gov. Ivey said. “Not only is it a vital economic draw for corporate development, a facility of this caliber is imperative to our citizens who rely on receiving life-saving care. Mr. Meisler’s generosity will allow the trauma center expansion to move forward and become a reality.” Meisler and his late wife, Fanny, have been longtime benefactors of the University of South Alabama and USA Health, according to the university. Their support of trauma care at the University began more than three decades ago with a gift to establish the Ripps-Meisler Endowed Chair in the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. The Meislers’ philanthropy also enabled the University to establish the Fanny and Bert Meisler Endowed Professorship in Jewish Studies and to name USA’s student services building Meisler Hall. “We are honored to receive this generous contribution to the USA Medical Center from Mr. Meisler,” said University of South Alabama President Dr. Tony Waldrop. “He has shown a deep commitment to the University and to USA Health for many years, and his latest investment in the Fanny R. Meisler Trauma Center is truly transformational for the state and the region.”

Meisler, with his brother-in-law Harold Ripps, launched RIME Companies, an apartment construction and management company, in 1964. He has received numerous honors for his philanthropic endeavors including the Mobile Jewish Community’s “Man of the Year” award in 1972 and 1987, the Alabama Eye and Tissue Bank’s “Person of Vision” in 1988, and the City of Mobile’s Philanthropist of the Year in 2000. In 2011, Mr. and Mrs. Meisler received the Distinguished Service Award from the USA National Alumni Association.

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