Category: Messages from the President

End of Semester Message from President Bell

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

It has been another incredible semester, and as we close out the 2018-2019 academic year, it’s a good time to reflect on what we have achieved together. The University will confer over 6,000 degrees at commencement next week, and that means over 6,000 dreams were realized through the passionate pursuit of an education with significant future impact.

Just today, we were thrilled to learn the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program selected three University of Alabama students as Goldwater Scholars for 2019-2020. Beating Princeton, UA tied with both Harvard and Cornell and continues to be in the top three nationally for the number of program recipients. Currently, the Capstone has been honored with 56 Goldwater scholars. Congratulations to UA students Peyton Strickland, Ryan Tuckey and Thomas “Hank” Richards for the highly esteemed honor.

UA is also pleased to add two new Boren scholarship recipients to our list of outstanding student successes. New Orleans native Michelle DeGeorge will study in the Czech Republic and Nicholas Hayes of Memphis, Tennessee was selected to study in Tanzania. Both represent a spirit of civic service that benefits our nation.  Linguistic and cultural immersion abroad adds to the educational experience of our students. I encourage you to explore the hundreds of programs UA offers in locations all around the world through the Capstone International Center.

Earlier this week, it was a privilege to present Dr. Subhabrata “Subha” Chakraborti with the Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award, which is one of the highest honors bestowed on UA professors. Dr. Chakraborti is a professor of statistics for the Culverhouse College of Commerce in the Department of Information Systems, Statistics and Management Science. The prestigious award signifies Dr. Chakraborti’s steadfast dedication to his students and to research. We’re grateful for his service and significant contributions to the success of the University.

Congratulations to UA history professor Dr. David Beito and his wife, Dr. Linda Royster Beito, for recently receiving one of the nation’s highest honors. They received the gold prize out of more than 1,500 entries from the largest publishing trade association in the United States for their book, T.R.M. Howard: Doctor, Entrepreneur, Civil Rights Pioneer. This honor exemplifies the creativity and innovation of our faculty, who are helping us advance in substantial ways.

Finally, a hearty “well done” to the UA Adapted Athletics program, unquestionably one of the finest in the nation. Under the leadership of program director Dr. Brent Hardin and assistant director, Dr. Margaret Stran, the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams are both national championsfor the first time in Alabama history. It is the 6th national championship for the women’s team and a back-to-back championship title for the men’s program. We’re very proud of the coaches, staff and students who represented the University so well through their efforts.

I’m honored to lead this great University. I’m so glad you chose UA as the place to begin your own legendary journey if you’re a student, or to help mentor and mold legends if you’re faculty or staff. Through research, creative activity and public outreach, we are changing the world. Susan and I wish you all the best, and we look forward to seeing those remaining on campus for the summer sessions and those enrolled for the fall semester.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

Spring Semester Message

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Spring break is right around the corner, and I think I can safely assume we’re all ready for some warmer temperatures and sunshine! I wanted to take this opportunity while you are still on campus to share some of the central events and exciting accomplishments of the UA community.

Current freshmen and seniors were sent an important link on Feb. 7 for a National Survey of Student Engagement. Please take a few minutes to leave your legacy by telling us about your experience at the University. Because the survey is only given once every several years, it is a unique opportunity for you to help us continue improving the education we provide in a way that can impact thousands of future UA students. Thank you for your constructive feedback.

Speaking of our impressive student body, recently a Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law moot court team won a national competition, defeating more than 150 other teams and bringing home UA’s first championship in the event’s history. Remarkably, of the 28 teams who qualified for the finals, the UA team was the only one made up solely of second-year law students. Another notable achievement was the recognition of the University as a top producing institution for Fulbright Scholar students for the third time in four years. UA had 15 alumni and graduate students who received Fulbright student awards. I was also very proud to see UA’s recent ranking for internship placements. The Princeton Review positioned UA No. 1 among schools in the Southeastern Conference and No. 10 in the nation. The University will continue to develop and support students through knowledge, training and networking opportunities that will enhance their future endeavors.

Because the University is committed to its mission of advancing teaching, research and service at the highest level, I hope all faculty and staff will support UA’s faculty and staff giving campaign, We Are UA. Through your participation and generosity, our student body and surrounding community will see the positive impact of philanthropic investment in the Capstone. Thank you for giving to this important campaign.

Congratulations are also extended to Dr. Mercy Mumba, assistant professor in UA’s Capstone College of Nursing for receiving the prestigious Southern Nursing Research Society’s Early Science Investigator Award, given to nurse scientists who are less than five years into a professional career following the completion of a doctoral degree. Dr. Mumba was the youngest PhD graduate in UA’s history, and her research has been presented at many local, regional and international conferences.

Finally, I want to personally invite all faculty and staff to attend the Spring Campus Assembly on Tuesday, April 9. Several members of UA’s faculty and staff will be recognized for their commitment to service and excellence. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with other University professionals, network and enjoy refreshments. I hope you will join us.

Susan and I wish you a relaxing and revitalizing spring break. Campus is breathtaking during the second half of the spring semester and should be in bloom when you get back! Enjoy your break, and thank you for your ongoing commitment to the Capstone.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

Lee County

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I was devastated to learn of the tornado that hit Lee County and the surrounding area yesterday. At least 23 people were killed in Lee County, including children, and some individuals remain unaccounted for at this time. We are reaching out to our students and those in our community who may have been impacted by the storms to offer them support.

The loss of life, as well as the damage to homes and businesses, has also affected our friends on the Auburn campus, with students and colleagues there experiencing inconceivable loss. We are deeply saddened for those impacted by this terrible tragedy.

Please continue to keep your fellow Alabamians in your thoughts and prayers as they deal with a disaster that we here in Tuscaloosa know all too well. The UA community is caring and compassionate, and we will extend our support during the recovery efforts and beyond.

Stuart R. Bell
President

Promoting and Maintaining a Safe, Respectful Campus

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Each semester I pledge to maintain The University of Alabama’s commitment to promoting and maintaining a safe, respectful campus environment. The well-being and security of every member of the UA community is a priority and, as part of that commitment, we will continue to work to eliminate gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct of any kind on our campus.

With the spring semester underway, I want to, again, share important information about the resources, reporting options and support available to those affected by gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct, including new resources such as the SAFE Center and the new Title IX Office location.

The Title IX Office has recently moved from its space in Burke West. The Title IX Office is now located at 2814 Capital Hall. Please see the Title IX website for detailed directions to the new Capital Hall office. The Title IX Office oversees the University’s efforts to foster a secure campus community free of discrimination based on gender. Reports of sexual misconduct or gender discrimination can be made to the Title IX Office by visiting the new location, emailing (titleix@ua.edu) or calling 205-348-5496. We also encourage reports of sexual misconduct to be made with The University of Alabama Police Department at 205-348-5454. Confidential reporting, counseling and advocacy are also available through the Women and Gender Resource Center(WGRC) and UA Counseling Center. A full list of reporting options is outlined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy and available by visiting UAct. For more information about resources available to those impacted by sexual misconduct, please see the Sexual Assault and Misconduct Services and Support website.

Last November, the Tuscaloosa community gained a vital new resource in the Tuscaloosa SAFE Center. The SAFE Center is centrally located at 1601 University Blvd. East, Suite 150 and can be reached by phone at 205-860-SAFE (7233). The SAFE Center is a 24-hour facility offering the latest advances in providing high-quality care and forensic examinations to those impacted by sexual assault.

In addition, the University provides resources for safety and support. Text “UASAFETY” to 444999 to receive a downloadable Contact Card that provides relevant contact numbers and information related to safety and support resources like UAPD, the Title IX Office and the WGRC. You can also download the UA Safety App, which, among other things, gives immediate access to information in case of an emergency and includes the ability to contact campus law enforcement agencies quickly. The Safety App also features a built-in GPS to provide walking directions to any building location on campus, including the locations of shelters and AED Defibrillators.

Please know that The University of Alabama takes the issue of sexual misconduct very seriously. We will regularly share information about the wide range of resources available to the campus community. I hope you will personally commit to partner with us in an ongoing effort to combat sexual misconduct.

Sincerely,

Stuart R. Bell
President

Start of Spring Semester

Dear Campus Community:

Welcome back! I always enjoy the beginning of a new year and a promising, new semester. Even though last night’s game did not end the way we had hoped, I know our fans, students, alumni, faculty and staff share my pride in our Crimson Tide football team. It was a tough matchup, but our players proved themselves to be some of the finest student-athletes in the league, and we played with dignity and integrity with the entire nation watching. The coaches and coaching staff led with dedication and a tireless devotion to helping our players reach their full potential. There is a reason we are consistently in the running to be the number one team. We had an impressive season and anticipate another exciting year of football in fall 2019.

As you know, December was busy with activities and holiday preparations, but for many students it was also a month that represented the achievement of their educational goals. We awarded some 2,233 degrees during fall commencement on Dec. 15. Some of those recent graduates have left campus for the beginning of a new career. For others, graduation marked the completion of one degree program with another challenging academic goal ahead. Regardless of the path, we are always very proud of all our alumni and eagerly anticipate the legendary influence they will have on their communities and the world.

Another very exciting announcement of UA’s new research ranking came during the holiday break. For the first time in University history, UA achieved Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity status as listed by the Carnegie Classification. This important classification is given exclusively to institutions that grant doctoral degrees and is determined by criteria such as research funding, research staff and the number of doctoral graduates. Not only is this status an impressive accomplishment for the Capstone, it also demonstrates our continued commitment to research and scholarship productivity and innovation.

And, as long as we’re celebrating important events, the recent hiring of Dr. Jamie R. Riley as UA’s assistant vice president and dean of students (effective Feb. 25) is also exciting news. Dr. Riley brings a wealth of student-focused experience and proven leadership ability with him to campus, and we look forward to him beginning his new role as an important student advocate.

Finally, with the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday two weeks away, we are excited to share several events planned to encourage student, faculty and staff involvement in learning and service opportunities. Because the University is committed to the principles and legacy of Dr. King, we invite everyone to participate in the lectures, campus tours and conversations that will take place Jan. 14-30. Several very special scheduled events include the MLK Day of Service (“The Fierce Urgency of Now: A Day On—Not a Day Off!”) on Jan. 21 from 8 a.m. until noon and the annual Realizing the Dream legacy banquet (Jan. 18) and concert (Jan 20). We encourage your participation and recognition of Dr. King’s remarkable impact on our country.

As we begin the spring semester, I look ahead to what we can accomplish. I know our faculty, staff and students will continue to achieve great things; we ALL have legendary potential.  I challenge you to make this year your personal best. I hope you have a memorable spring term, and of course, ROLL TIDE!

Stuart R. Bell
President

End of Semester Message from President Bell

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

As the fall semester nears its close and students gear up for exams and a well-deserved break, I want to tell you how proud I am of this University community. I appreciate your hard work, your dedication to education and the way you represent the Capstone. It is our people that make UA such a special place. With less than two weeks until commencement and the beginning of the holiday break, Susan and I wish you and your family a joyful and blessed holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Students, I know you are tirelessly preparing for semester exams. Be diligent, focused and confident in what you have learned this semester. You should be very proud of yourself and your educational accomplishments. You chose to attend a legendary University, and I know you are pursuing the goals you have set for your future. I wish you the best on your exams.

Tonight, Susan, Dr. Grady and I are hosting our traditional late night breakfast for all students at Lakeside Dining Hall. With the recent improvements at Lakeside, the facility is a wonderful gathering place for everyone, and we hope you will join us. The fun begins at 10 p.m., and you should come hungry. There will be plenty of food to enjoy, including chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits and breakfast pizza. The best part is that all the food is free! There will also be a DJ to provide music while you relax and refuel.

And, to everyone in the UA family, I am especially proud of our campus community for helping us not only surpass our United Way campaign goal, but also for making this year’s contributions the largest giving total in UA campaign history. We reached a record-breaking goal of $469,483 for United Way of West Alabama. With approximately 90 cents of every dollar raised being directly distributed to agency and initiative programs, we can take pride in knowing we have invested in a worthy cause that benefits those in need in our community. Thank you for giving so generously.

Faculty and staff, what you do every day adds tremendous value to our University. We have a large campus and it takes us all being committed to a shared vision to achieve our mission. I know our employees care and are personally invested in our students. As a student-centered research university, and with our faculty working alongside our students, we are educating the future leaders of the world.

We are also making some remarkable advancements in the area of research which have far-reaching impact. I’m very proud of the external grants and contracts for research, instruction, fellowships and service that totaled almost $100 million, the highest in UA history. The total includes $62 million in research awards, and it is the highest in the University’s history. Research encourages professional excellence in both faculty and students, and we know UA students are the next generation of specialists and professionals. When our students are engaged in research that requires purposeful progress and critical thinking under the guidance of their professors, they are sharpened and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the future. We will continue to focus on the power of creative thought through innovation and advanced research at The University of Alabama.

Finally, we are all celebrating the achievements of our highly acclaimed football team for winning the SEC championship against Georgia. The win in Atlanta continues Bama’s SEC Championship legacy, and was the Tide’s 27th SEC title. Enjoy the holidays and then put on your Alabama gear to cheer on the Crimson Tide on Dec. 29 for the Capital One Orange Bowl against Oklahoma. It’s going to be a great game.

Best wishes to you all as you close out the semester. I wish you a safe and happy holiday break.

Roll Tidings!

Stuart R. Bell
President

Fall Semester Update

Dear Campus Community,

The recent tragedies in Pittsburgh and Louisville were terrible and disheartening. As we grieve for the victims, their families and their friends, we stand strong in our promises of respect, inclusivity and service.

We are a community that cares for others. If you need assistance, we are here for you. Please visit https://counseling.sa.ua.edu/ for information on how to get help.

In times like these, I find solace and hope in the commitments we make as members of The University of Alabama community. Take time today to renew our unwavering oath and reconfirm our Capstone Creed:
“As a member of The University of Alabama community, I will pursue knowledge, act with fairness, integrity and respect; promote equity and inclusion; foster individual and civic responsibility; and strive for excellence in all I do.”

The UA inclusiveness and heart are evident in our strong start to the semester, welcoming many new faculty and staff and enrolling students from every county in Alabama, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 78 countries. We continue to attract the best and brightest to our campus.

Our faculty remain focused on influencing the lives of our students and making substantial contributions in research, scholarship and creative activities. After reviewing this past year, we expect to report our faculty have set a new record for research awards on our campus, and we will be highlighting that exciting news in the coming days.

Following a national search, we were pleased to announce Dr. Russell J. Mumper as our vice president for research and economic development effective Jan. 1, 2019. As part of UA’s strategic plan, Dr. Mumper will continue advancing our research and economic development efforts. Dr. John Higginbotham has been serving as UA’s interim vice president for research and economic development, and we are fortunate to have had his leadership.

Our students continue to impress. Recently, UA’s dance marathon was honored by Children’s of Alabama for raising and donating more than $1 million to the hospital over a seven-year period. What began as the vision of a small group of impassioned students has turned into a transformational service opportunity that is changing lives. In fact, our student body has completed over one million hours of volunteer service in the past year. I’m very proud of how our students demonstrate they are socially conscious through their efforts to make our world a better place.

Over the past year, we have celebrated 125 Years of Women at UA and honored women on campus through awareness, education and service. I encourage everyone to give back to their respective communities through service for 125 minutes on Wednesday, Nov. 28. You can use social media to share your kindness with #ServingFor125.

One of our alumni, Jody Singer, recently made national news as a female pioneer. She was appointed as director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville and is now managing one of NASA’s largest field installations. She is the first woman appointed to the position, and we are proud of her achievements.

Truly, our alumni and donors continue to amaze us with their philanthropy. The University benefits from the donations and support of our friends and graduates. We had a record year in fundraising through the generosity of 62,300 donors, raising more than $224.3 million in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Our alumni remain steadfast in investing in the future of our University.

One such backing came from a $26.5 million donation from Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. and his wife, Eliza, in September. The Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law will be even better positioned to continue to prepare students for meaningful contributions throughout their legal careers. UA students and alumni are also benefiting from the generosity of Marillyn and James Hewson, two UA graduates who embody the Capstone’s core values. Marillyn has an impressive career as chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, was recently named CEO of the Year, and is No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s list of Most Powerful Women for 2018. The Hewsons’ gift will include support for the construction of Hewson Hall and will provide more space for UA’s 9,000 future business leaders while broadening the impact of the Culverhouse College of Business.

I am proud to serve as your president. Thank you for your impact. Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell
President

UA’s Commitment to a Safe, Respectful Campus Environment

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Each semester I pledge to maintain The University of Alabama’s commitment to promoting and maintaining a safe, respectful campus environment. The well-being and security of every member of the UA community is a priority and, as part of that commitment, we will continue to work to eliminate gender discrimination and sexual misconduct of any kind from campus. With the fall semester underway, I want to again share important information about the resources, reporting options and support available to those affected by sexual misconduct.

The University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy provides a wealth of information about how to report potential sexual misconduct, how a report may be handled or investigated, and resources available to those affected by sexual misconduct, among other important topics. Resources include medical treatment and counseling services, academic assistance, safety planning and risk reduction, housing assistance, assistance with filing a criminal report, and assistance with community resources.

And speaking of community resources, I am proud to announce the upcoming opening of the Tuscaloosa SAFE Center early next month. The University is deeply committed to our partnership with DCH Regional Medical Center and other local entities in helping establish the center, a centrally located facility offering the latest advances in providing high-quality care to those impacted by sexual assault. This is a valuable resource for all members of our community affected by sexual violence.

The University’s Title IX Office, located at 107 Burke Hall West, works diligently to oversee our efforts to foster a secure campus community free of discrimination based on gender. Reports of sexual misconduct can be made to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Beth Howard, at titleix@ua.edu or by calling (205) 348-5496. Reports of sexual misconduct may be filed directly with UAPD at (205) 348-5454. Confidential reporting is also available through the Women and Gender Resource Center (WGRC) and UA Counseling Center. A full list of reporting options is outlined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy and by visiting UAct at www.ua.edu/uact.

I also encourage all of you to text “UASAFETY” to 444999 to receive a downloadable KEYNECTUP Contact Card. This valuable card allows you to easily upload into your phone relevant contact numbers and information related to safety and support resources like UAPD, Title IX and the WGRC.

In addition to the foregoing resources, the UA Safety App gives immediate access to information in case of an emergency, including the ability to quickly contact campus and law enforcement agencies. It features a built-in GPS to provide walking directions to any building location on campus, including the locations of shelters and AEDs. A variety of resources, services and support programs are listed on the Sexual Assault and Misconduct Services and Support website at ua.edu/SAMS.

Please know that The University of Alabama takes the issue of sexual misconduct very seriously. Each semester we will update our campus community about the full range of resources available to all of you. I hope you will personally commit to partnering with us in an ongoing effort to combat sexual wrongdoing.

Stuart R. Bell
President

Welcome Message

Dear Campus Community:

I am thrilled to see so many faces who are new to the Capstone this fall. Welcome to The University of Alabama! I can’t wait to see how our newest students, faculty and staff members will maximize their unique talents to continue building our university’s tradition of excellence.

I also want to welcome back our returning students, faculty and staff. We are so glad you will continue the good work you have already started at the University.  I hope you were able to use the summer to rest and recharge and are now ready to hit the ground running during this Week of Welcome. I encourage you to begin by seeking out ways to foster relationships among our entire campus community. With each semester, there is a new opportunity to make a positive difference in your own life and education – and in the lives of many others.

While you were away, we stayed very busy. More than 250 incoming freshmen immersed themselves in service projects in West Alabama through Alabama Action and Ripple Effect Day of Service. Students landscaped and painted schools, cleaned up outdoor recreational areas, conducted vision screenings, partnered with local nonprofits and more. Their contributions to the community are a reflection of the University’s commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians. What an impact these students’ hard work has already made on the Tuscaloosa area.

Our students also continue to win a large number of Fulbright Awards, ranking UA among the top producers of Fulbright Award winners in the country. For the current academic year, 15 University of Alabama students have been selected to teach, study and do research abroad through this competitive program. We remain steadfast in our mission to share knowledge and to spread positive influence.

Speaking of awards, the accolades just keep coming. Our Alabama Public Radio staff won the national Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for their yearlong work investigating and reporting on Alabama’s rural health crisis. The APR news team received their well-deserved award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., and we are delighted their documentary was recognized.

Additionally, Seth Panitch, professor of acting and head of UA’s acting programs, won a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to produce his play “Separate and Equal,” which will premiere at the Marian Gallaway Theater on campus Aug. 28-31. From there, the play will run a full month beginning Sept. 6 in New York.

These are tremendous accomplishments and are just a few of the many influential and impactful leaders we have on our campus. Let us use their examples and channel their energy as we all remember our commitment to the Capstone Creed.

I look forward to the friendships and exciting achievements ahead, and to working alongside you as we further the legacy of this great university. I am glad you’re here on this journey with us.

Again, welcome back and, as always, ROLL TIDE!

Stuart R. Bell

President

End of the Year Message

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

The University of Alabama has finished another successful academic year. It began with record-breaking enrollment of 38,563 students, and ended with the presentation of more than 5,000 degrees earlier this month.

Once again, our students, faculty and staff have distinguished themselves, and our athletic teams continue to excel at the highest level as we won national championships in football, as well as men’s wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis.

It is an honor for me to lead this great University, and I am pleased to share with you this video highlighting just a few of our successes that all of you made possible.

Stuart R. Bell
President