Alabama Academy of Honor

Sidney L. McDonald

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2001, and updated in 2015.

Sid McDonald of Union Grove enjoyed a distinguished career in business and public service.

The St. Clair County native was born in Springville and educated in the Arab public schools. He went on to attend The University of Alabama where he earned his degree from the College of Commerce and Business Administration in 1961.

A dedicated public servant, Sid McDonald was among the first appointees named to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education when ACHE was created in 1970. He served on that oversight board for eight years. He also compiled a record of distinguished service in the political arena. He was first elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1966, where he served two terms before being elected to the State Senate in 1974. He was State Finance Director from 1980 to 1982.

Well known for his sound business acumen, Mr. McDonald built a successful career in his home state. Assuming the presidency of Brindlee Mountain Telephone Company in 1961, he guided the company, which had been owned by four generations of his family beginning in 1933, to record levels of success in profits, growth, and service quality. In July 2000, he announced the sale of the company to CEA Capital Associates of New York. Mr. McDonald was the founder of DeltaCom Long Distance Services, the largest Alabama-owned telecommunications company operating in Alabama and northwest Florida. He has also achieved success in real estate, developing significant properties in Alabama and in North Carolina.

Mr. McDonald’s involvement with his alma mater came full circle in 1992 when he was elected to the Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama from the Fourth Congressional District. At the time of his election, Trustee Yetta Samford, Jr., said: “In a time when Higher Education has become a major generator of economic growth, Sid McDonald’s expertise will be an important resource for the faculty, students, and staff of The University of Alabama System.”

During Mr. McDonald’s tenure on the University Board, he was involved in a number of key actions, including the hiring of Chancellor Tom Meredith in 1997, and the creation of the UAB Health System. He went on to serve a second term as president pro tempore of the Board and chaired the Executive Committee, also sitting on other key committees.

Throughout his distinguished career, Sid McDonald was a vocal proponent of fiscal responsibility, the importance of a strong family and moral foundation, and the need for concerned citizens to become involved in public service. Serving by example, he has given generously of his time, set the highest standards of volunteer leadership, and devoted his full energies to helping Alabama achieve a prosperous future.

Mr. McDonald and his wife Jane are the parents of three children – Foster, Kelly, and Wesley. They have five grandchildren.

Mr. McDonald passed away on May 15, 2015.