Mollahan tapped to lead Marion Military Institute

Published 8:21 pm Friday, July 17, 2009

Marion Military Institute announced the appointment of Col. David J. Mollahan as its president by the Alabama State Board of Education. Mollahan’s appointment will be effective Aug. 1.

Mollahan’s appointment serves as the ending of a nationwide presidential search that drew 49 highly qualified applicants.

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to be a part of the great legacy and proud tradition that defines Marion Military Institute,” Mollahan said.

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“Its reputation for excellence in higher education, both in terms of academics and leadership development, is well known.”

After completing his undergraduate degree at Oregon State University, Mollahan decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a Marine.

“My father had been in the Marine Corps during the World War II era,” Mollahan said. “I went to college and decided I was interested in exploring the possibility of the military as a career.”

Mollahan has served as the director of the Division of Humanities and Social Science at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

In addition to having lived in several different parts of the United States, Mollahan has served in Korea, Japan, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

He and his wife, Ingrid, are looking forward to becoming a part of the Marion community.

“Having lived in eastern North Carolina, we are accustomed to the small-town Southern community,” Mollahan said.

“We have been getting to know Marion, and we know the same holds true. [It will be] wonderful to be a part of the community.”

Mollahan will be taking the reigns of MMI at a time after the institute has already undergone significant changes.

In 2006, the Alabama legislature declared MMI to be a part of the Alabama Department of State Education, ending its 164-year run as a private institution, yet the emphasis of the institution has not changed.

“The school includes military training in [overall] education, offering leadership and character development,” Mollahan said.

Several Demopolis citizens are alumni of MMI, incuding Olen Kerby, Mike Walters, Bill Meador and mayor Mike Grayson.

According to Grayson, MMI continues to offer opportunities to its current students, and recent changes in the institution have enabled these opportunities to continue.

“There is a lot of respect for people who go into the military,” Grayson said.

“MMI is still prestigious, if not more so today, because of the military’s high regard. The military is truly a career opportunity.”

At the time Grayson attended MMI on a football scholarship, the institution was the only private junior college in Alabama.

“Whether it was football or baseball or another sport, everyone wore a uniform and was in the military discipline,” Grayson said.

As the new president of MMI, Mollahan plans to continue to develop the tradition of discipline and prestige that has been part of the institution for many years.

“The school is looking to expand the scope of its activities as a junior college,” Mollahan said. “I am interested to learn how the school operates and its current strategies and plans.”