Category: Messages from the 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

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

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 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

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 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

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

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

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


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

End of the Semester Update

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Another academic year is about to close, and I want to thank you for making The University of Alabama your home this year. You are the essence of this University, and we take pride in your achievements.

Our students are busy studying as they head into finals, and Susan and I always enjoy hosting them for a late-night breakfast to get them fed and refueled. We look forward to seeing the students tonight for a complimentary breakfast from 10 p.m. until midnight at Fresh Foods, 500 Margaret Drive. Please note this is a new location from years past due to renovations at Lakeside Dining.

In the last few weeks, we have had several reasons to celebrate. Two of our students – Elizabeth Rowe of Chicago and Donna Xia of Tuscaloosa – became our newest Goldwater Scholars. Congratulations to both of them. This brings our total to 53, and we continue to be one of the top two producers of Goldwater Scholars across the nation.

Have you heard we won two more national championships this week? Our wheelchair tennis team won its third consecutive national championship, and fourth overall, defeating the University of Florida. Also, senior Jalen Drummond of Wedowee, Alabama, won first place in informative speaking at the 41st American Forensics Association Individual Events Tournament Championships. Congratulations to them and everyone who works with our highly successful forensics and adapted athletics programs.

We also won another SEC championship this month when our students won first place in the SEC Student Cyber Challenge. They had 48 hours to develop a solution in a hackathon-style challenge. Team members are Kevin Poorman, Austin Lucas, James Woods and Austin Hose. Their team adviser is Dr. Matthew Hudnall.

During last week’s Spring Campus Assembly, we were pleased to recognize Dr. David Hale and Lee Harris for their commitment to service and excellence as members of UA’s faculty and staff. Dr. Hale, professor of information systems, statistics and management information in the Culverhouse College of Business, received the E. Roger Sayers Endowed Distinguished Service Award. Lee Harris, assistant chief of the UA Police Department, received the Dr. Minnie C. Miles Endowed Excellence Award.

Next week, more than 5,600 of our students will graduate and begin a new chapter in their lives. Susan and I look forward to hosting them at a reception at the President’s Mansion from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, May 4, and we look forward to seeing many of you May 4-6 for commencementceremonies at Coleman Coliseum.

Susan and I wish all of you the best as you begin your summer, and we look forward to seeing you back here in the fall.

Roll Tide!

Stuart R. Bell

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