The leadership of the University of Alabama System is mourning the Saturday morning death of Jim Wilson, who has sat on their Board of Trustees for the last 20 years.

The Board oversees the System, which includes the University of Alabama, The University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the UAB Health System, for which Wilson was a vocal champion.

A spokesperson for the Board said in a statement that Trustee James Wilson III, 59, died Saturday morning.

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"The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees is heartbroken by the loss of Trustee James Wilson III, who passed on March 11, 2023, after bravely fighting a sudden illness," director of System Communications Lynn Cole said. "We all benefitted from Jim’s strong leadership, savvy business acumen, and relentless passion for the University of Alabama System. Jim, a proud graduate of The University of Alabama, served for two decades on the Board and made numerous lasting contributions. An accomplished real estate developer and investor, Jim served for six years as chairman of the Physical Properties Committee and oversaw the construction of dozens of buildings on the UA System campuses. He also chaired the UAB Health System Board for several years and was instrumental in the Health System’s unprecedented growth and success."

Outside his board responsibilities, Wilson and his brother Will Wilson led Jim Wilson & Associates, an investment and real estate services firm their father founded in 1975.

Wilson was first elected to the board in February 2003 and had a reputation as one of the Trustees most invested in the success of the System's athletic endeavors.

"Jim was an avid Alabama football fan, served on the Crimson Tide Foundation Board of Directors, and was the current chair of the Athletics Committee of the Board of Trustees," Cole said. "We will miss our friend and colleague, who always kept us laughing. We are holding his wife, Susie, his daughters, Wesley and Lillian, his grandchildren, and his many other loved ones in our thoughts and prayers."

The Athletics responsibilities were only Wilson's most recent for the board -- he also chaired the audit committee from 2005 through 2008, served as the UAB Health System Board Liason for most years from 2008 until 2022 and chaired the Physical Properties committee from 2014 until 2020.

The 16-member board is made up of the Governor of the State of Alabama, three members elected by the Board from the congressional district in which the Tuscaloosa campus is located, and two members elected by the Board from each of the other six congressional districts in the State of Alabama, as those congressional districts were constituted on January 1, 2018.

The other Trustees will elect a successor for Wilson via secret ballot to serve until the end of his six-year term, which expires in 2026.

The thoughts of the Tuscaloosa Thread staff are with the Board, Wilson's family and all those who knew and loved him. Stay connected for updates on what comes next for the Board.

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