Category: Messages from the President

Spring Semester Update

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

The end of the semester is a busy time so I want to make sure you are aware of several things that may be of particular interest to you this month.

This week we will be hosting Honors Week activities as we recognize many of our students for their commitment to excellence in the classroom. We are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Computer-Based Honors Program and its official renaming to the Catherine J. Randall Research Scholars Program.

Speaking of celebrations, the School of Social Work is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week, which will include a dedication of Little Hall after recent renovations. I hope you have also heard we are celebrating 125 Years of Women at UA as we recognize the impact women have had on the University since Anna Adams and Bessie Parker first enrolled in 1893. A list of events will appear on our website throughout this year.

As part of the nationwide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Denny Chimes will sound 39 times at precisely 6:05 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, once for each year of Dr. King’s life. It was also 50 years ago this month that the Black Student Union was founded on our campus. To commemorate this milestone, BSU will host a weekend-long celebration April 19-21.

Later this month, we will recognize excellence in research and scholarship at Faculty Research Day. I hope you can join us April 17 at 4:00 p.m. at the Bryant Conference Center. You can view the online list of 12 faculty who are being honored, and we will present the President’s Faculty Research Award at the event.

While I am mentioning faculty, please join me in congratulating Dr. Trudier Harris, a UA English professor, who was named a recipient of the 2018 SEC Faculty Achievement Awards, and is now a nominee for SEC Professor of the Year. This year, Harris also has received the 2018 Clarence E. Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing and was named a 2018-19 Fellow of the National Humanities Center. We wish her all the best.

Other significant awards were presented March 22 at the Premier Awards dinner. I hope you will take time to read the recipients’ bios because they are quite impressive. Student recipients were Marissa Navarro, Maggie Holmes, Asia Hayes, Nivory Gordon III, Theresa Stoddard and Manoj Sunny. Dr. Kristy Reynolds received the faculty award, and Lamea “Elle” Shaaban-Magana received the non-student award for demonstrating the highest standards of scholarship, leadership and service.

I also want to congratulate Maret Montanari for becoming UA’s first Public Relations Student of the Year as named by PRWeek. This is the highest honor given to PR students across the nation. It certainly speaks to our outstanding public relations program, which has been in the top five nationally eight out of the last 10 years.

Let me take a moment to congratulate our men’s wheelchair basketball team for bringing home their second national championship. It was also great to see our men’s basketball team advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Avery Johnson is building a terrific program, and we are already excited about next year.

A special thank you goes to our facilities and grounds crew that went to Jacksonville State University last week to help in the aftermath of an EF3 tornado that hit their campus March 19. About 50 of our students also went over the weekend to assist in this important effort as JSU works to reopen for classes. I spoke with JSU’s president, John Beehler, last week, and he told me how much their campus appreciates the tremendous support they have received from us.

We have new leaders for both our Student Government Association and Faculty Senate. Congratulations to Price McGiffert of Tuscaloosa, our new SGA president, and Dr. Rona Donahoe, professor in geological sciences, who is the new president of the Faculty Senate. I look forward to working with both of them in the coming year.

I hope you will mark your calendars for our spring Campus Assembly Tuesday, April 17, at 1:30 p.m. in the Ferguson Theater. We will present annual awards, hear from faculty, staff and student leaders, and I will provide a University update. Refreshments will be served. I hope you can join us.

Lastly, please take time to complete the survey about work-life balance that was sent to you by email. Your input is important as we work to make The University of Alabama one of the premier places to work in higher education. The email is from Modern-Think, and it contains both a link and a password. The deadline is April 13.

I know I say it often, but thank you for everything you do each day to make this such a special place for all of us who live and work here.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell

Message from the President

We have learned of an offensive video involving racist language by a student who is no longer enrolled. We hold our students to a much higher standard than this. We are united in condemning this racist behavior and resolute in our commitment to ensure our students, faculty and staff know they are welcome, accepted and supported on our campus, and that discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated. The University is dedicated to continuing our collective work with students, faculty and staff to ensure an inclusive campus for every member of our community.

Stuart R. Bell

Great Accomplishments from this Semester

Good morning!

With the semester almost half over and spring break just around the corner, I wanted to take a few minutes to share some of the great accomplishments from this semester.

Our students will be electing their representatives to the Student Government Association today. I hope our students will take time to vote and let their voices be heard. SGA plays such an important role in the lives of our students and on our campus.

I’m pleased to tell you The University of Alabama is once again a top producer for Fulbright U.S. Student Awards, and we are the leader in the SEC. Fifteen of our 47 applicants received the award, one of the highest percentages in the nation. This is the second time in the past three years UA has been recognized as a top Fulbright producer. Ten of our graduates won awards as teaching assistants, and five received Fulbright awards for research and study overseas.

I’m also happy to report that senior Luke Kaliszak, a member of the UA men’s swimming and diving team, was honored last month as the SEC Male Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Luke is an NCAA champion and a 10-time All-American who carries a 3.9 GPA as a pre-med major. This is the third year in a row that an Alabama swimmer has earned this honor. Also, at its meeting last month, The University of Alabama Board of Trustees approved a $21 million renewal and renovation of the Alabama Aquatic Center, home to the Crimson Tide men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the University of Alabama Dance Marathon announced it raised $341,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital at Children’s of Alabama. Thanks to everyone who participated in this great fundraiser for such a worthy cause.

When we return to campus after the break, all faculty and staff will be invited to complete a work experience survey. This email will come from ModernThink, an off-campus vendor. The University is committed to providing a work environment that encourages our employees to thrive in all areas of life, and I encourage each of you to complete the survey.

The next few weeks will be busy ones, but I hope you will mark your calendar to attend the Spring Campus Assembly at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, in the Ferguson Theatre. We will present annual awards, hear from faculty, staff and student leaders, and I will provide a University update. Light refreshments will be served. I hope you will join us.

Best wishes for a happy and safe break next week, and Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell

Chime In – Workplace Experience Survey

Dear Faculty and Staff:

As part of our strategic plan, Advancing the Flagship, the University is committed to providing opportunities and resources that promote work-life balance and enhance the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff. In order to support this effort, we will be introducing a workplace experience survey in the coming weeks, and we invite you to participate.

The University has always been committed to providing a work environment that encourages our employees to thrive in all areas of life. As we continue to grow and move forward, we want to ensure we are making progress in this area. As an employee, your opinion matters to us. We invite you to CHIME IN and add your voice to this project. Your responses will help guide our leadership team as we work to support work-life balance. Your feedback will allow us to see where we are now and how we might improve.

The survey will be coordinated by a third-party, off-campus vendor, ModernThink, and your responses will be kept confidential. After the survey period is over and ModernThink has compiled the results, we plan to share them with the campus community. For more information about the project or the process itself, please visit

In addition to aiding our work-life balance efforts, survey responses may also support our accreditation efforts through SACSCOC. Your input is important, and I hope you will take this opportunity to CHIME IN.

Stuart R. Bell

Resources to assist those affected by sexual misconduct

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

The conversations around sexual assault and misconduct happening across the national and social media landscape are a timely reminder for everyone to learn about the resources, reporting options and support available to members of the UA campus community.

The University offers a wealth of services, staff and other resources to any member of our campus community, outlined at, which includes how to report any type of sexual misconduct. The UA Sexual Misconduct Policy addresses how the University will respond and provide assistance to affected individuals. The University is also committed to providing employees with training for issues related to sexual misconduct.

Reports may be filed directly with UAPD or other University offices as outlined at Confidential reporting is also available through the Women and Gender Resource Center at and Counseling Center at A list of all confidential reporting options is available.

The University’s Title IX Office, located at 107 Burke Hall West, is instrumental to the University’s efforts to foster a campus community free of gender discrimination and sexual violence.

The Title IX Office also protects against discrimination related to pregnancy or parental status. A list of frequently asked questions addresses resources and support for pregnant and parenting students and is available on the Title IX Office website at

Stuart R. Bell

A Message from the President

In light of the racist and disturbing videos posted by one of our students on social media, I want to express my personal disgust and disappointment.

Like many of you, I find the videos highly offensive and deeply hurtful, not only to our students and our entire University community, but to everyone who viewed them. The actions of this student do not represent the larger student body or the values of our University, and she is no longer enrolled here.

We hold our students to much higher standards, and we apologize to everyone who has seen the videos and been hurt by this hateful, ignorant and offensive behavior. This is not who we are; it is unacceptable and unwelcome here at UA. These types of incidents affect community members differently. If you have been impacted and would like additional support, please access resourceshere that are available to you on our campus.

Over the last year, I have had conversations with many of you who shared your UA experiences with me. You have voiced your pride in the progress we have made, but we still have much work to do. I want to thank all of the students, faculty and staff who met today to have conversations about this event and the steps we can take, individually and collectively, to create a more welcoming and inclusive campus. You have my commitment and the commitment of our leadership team to sustain progress and address directly any issues that arise.

I know you join me in taking a stand against this and all reprehensible behavior. As members of this community, we are a family and this is our home. Everyone has a right to feel safe and welcome here.

Stuart R. Bell

Start of Spring Semester

Dear Campus Community:

Good morning! I hope everyone enjoyed a great holiday break. It is always exciting to start the semester with a national championship, and I know I speak for the entire University community when I say we are incredibly proud of our student-athletes and coaches for their success. I would also like to congratulate the 25 of those student-athletes who were able to wear SEC Graduate patches in the playoffs (this is the highest number of any SEC team, by the way). What a tremendous accomplishment to complete your degree and be a member of a championship-winning football team!

Speaking of graduates, in December we awarded just over 2,200 degrees. Commencement is a special time for our faculty, students and their families as they recognize the culmination of years of hard work. We’re proud of all of our alumni and look forward to hearing of their continued success as they depart our campus.

So many of our students are attracting national recognition for their work. The staff of the Crimson White recently received first-place honors as the Four-Year Weekly Newspaper of the Year. We also celebrate with our students of Project Health, who were named a NASPA Outstanding Peer Education Group at the end of 2017. I know we have many more achievements in store for the UA family in 2018.

Later this afternoon, I’ll be cutting the ribbon on our Stran-Hardin Arena, a state-of-the-art adapted athletics facility. This initiative is a result of remarkable leadership from Drs. Margaret Stran and Brent Hardin as well as significant generosity from donors Kathy and Mike Mouron and many others. I look forward to seeing students in our championship-winning Adapted Athletics program have a space designed specifically to accommodate their sports programs.

With the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on the horizon, there are a couple of functions about which we are particularly excited. Realizing the Dream always packs the weekend with great events, and this year will be no exception. Also, for students interested in giving back to the West Alabama community, there is a service day on Monday, January 15. We encourage your participation.

Finally, as we look forward to welcoming our new vice president for financial affairs, we are filled with gratitude as we consider the leadership current Vice President Lynda Gilbert has offered to the University for more than a decade. She has faithfully served the Capstone during a time of unprecedented growth and success, and we thank her for the legacy she leaves with us.

As we kick off this new year, I know it will be another academic semester filled with achievements and accolades for our faculty, staff and students. Best wishes to each one of you for a wonderful spring term, and Roll Tide!


Stuart R. Bell

A Busy Semester

Good morning!

What a busy semester it has been, and I want to thank you for all you do to make this University the very special place that it is. As we get ready for finals week, Susan and I will be hosting our traditional Midnight Breakfast for all students beginning at 10 p.m. tomorrow at Lakeside Dining. We hope you’ll come by and see us.

As we look back on this semester, we were thrilled to see students from our College of Communication and Information Sciences bring home high honors from the annual Public Relations Student Society of America Conference. UA’s Capstone Agency won Best Campaign and Best Tactic in the Student-Run Firm Awards, and UA’s PRSSA chapter won a national award for university service due in part to its impressive work on the Beat Auburn Beat Hunger campaign. During this year’s food drive, our students collected over 260,000 pounds of food, beating Auburn’s collection by over 27,000 pounds. This friendly competition continues our campus tradition of caring for those in the community around us.

team of students and faculty from our College of Engineering is having an impact beyond our borders. They recently collaborated with the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research to assess damage where Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida. Data they collected should lead to better construction so homes can withstand damage from future storms.

Our research efforts are gaining national attention. The University was recently accepted into the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which focuses on research and training in atmospheric system sciences. This membership will expand our opportunities to be part of groundbreaking discovery to improve our understanding of the Earth. Another recognition we celebrate is that of Dr. Jared Allred, assistant professor of chemistry, who recently received an Early Career Research Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. This award will fund student-involved research to understand new materials.

And, to all of you, I am incredibly proud of our campus community for exceeding our goal in this year’s United Way campaign as we raised a record-breaking $454,929 for United Way of West Alabama. Thanks to all of you who donated for continuing to embody the Capstone’s giving spirit.

Finally, we celebrate the achievements of our football team in making it to the College Football Playoff for the fourth year in a row. We will ring in the New Year by cheering on the Crimson Tide in this year’s Sugar Bowl.

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

Roll Tidings,

Stuart R. Bell

Semester Achievements

Dear Campus Community:

Good afternoon! I hope you enjoyed a restful and safe fall break over the weekend. We are happy to have everyone back on campus today as we begin another week at the Capstone. It’s been a great semester so far, and I wanted to share a few of the high points with you, just in case you missed them.

Our students continue to raise the bar of achievement. Joshua Williams, Tuscaloosa native and doctoral student in the School of Music, won first place in the professional division of the International Horn Competition of America. This is one of the greatest feats in the world for horn players, and we’re incredibly proud of his talent. Also bringing home championship-level success, a group of our MBA students won the grand prize at their recent case competition. Liz Alley, Jessika Banks, Bryonna Rivera Burrows, and Myles Ward competed and beat 41 other teams from across the country, winning $25,000 in scholarships. We can all share pride in their teamwork and commitment to excellence.

Our students and faculty compete and win, and so many of you are performing research that will change lives. Several of you have put your minds together to design a prosthetic hand device for children who need them. This innovation stands to have a lasting effect on many in our state and nation for years to come. And earlier this month, the School of Social Work was awarded a $1.35 million grant from the Department of Justice to ensure a more positive outcome for victims of human trafficking in Alabama. I’m proud of the work our researchers are doing to tackle real-world issues for Alabama and the rest of the world.

Helping us reach all of these accomplishments and dream even higher are our faithful alumni and friends. Last week we announced that 2017 has been a record-breaking year in terms of giving at the University. Our Capstone family boldly surpassed the previous record year (2012) with generous contributions from many. We are grateful for their tremendous support and look forward to seeing its impact for generations to come.

We’ve not yet reached the halfway point for the academic year, and already we have so much to celebrate. I’m sure our list of achievements will continue to grow, and I’m proud to come to work each day on a campus filled with so many exceptional individuals. By the way, if you’d like to apply for or nominate a student, faculty or staff member for one of our Premier Awards—the highest honor we bestow at the Capstone—please do so by November 13.

Thanks for all the great work you’re doing, and Roll Tide.


Stuart R. Bell

Campus Assembly

It was great to see so many of you at yesterday’s Campus Assembly. I understand we had a record crowd, and this speaks to the level of interest, engagement and personal commitment that each of you share as we work together to advance The University of Alabama to the next level.

While each of you has an important role in our success, we were pleased to highlight a few who made extraordinary contributions this year. Those honored yesterday included Dr. Daniel G. Bachrach, Dr. James Paul Hubner, Dr. Kenneth G. Ricks, Dr. Heather M. Taylor, Dr. Jim Gleason and Ashley Newsome. Groups recognized were the Educational Technology Web and Editorial Team in the College of Arts and Sciences, Crossroads Community Engagement Center, UAPD Community Oriented Police Division, Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs (AIME) and the Online Wellness Portal Team.

I am proud to work alongside each of you every day. Thank you for all you do!

Stuart R. Bell