A Message from the President – February 4, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As members of The University of Alabama family, you serve as champions for the betterment of our state, nation and world. As such, we continue to do all we can to protect your health and well-being, including our ongoing COVID-19 response efforts that support our mission of transformative education.

The availability of vaccines is anticipated to grow throughout the spring and we have begun our campus vaccine program following the guidelines of CDC and the Alabama Department of Public Health. I am especially grateful for Dr. Richard Friend and the dedicated staff in the College of Community Health Sciences and the University Medical Center for their ongoing leadership and efforts to mitigate COVID-19 transmission. In addition, five faculty members from the University are contributing to a national research coalition to strengthen the equitability of COVID-19 vaccinations in our country.

Another important component of our proactive approach to fighting the virus is UA’s free sentinel testing efforts led by Dr. John Higginbotham and the COVID support team. We have seen a great response to our sentinel testing program through the first two weeks of the spring semester, and I want to thank those who have already participated. While symptomatic and exposure testing continue to be available, sentinel testing helps us detect trends, identify potential outbreaks and monitor the prevalence of the virus in our community.

These ongoing initiatives have enabled our campus to continue to boldly pursue our aspirations. Students, I am so proud of your academic accomplishments. An impressive 13,128 full-time, undergraduate students earned a position on either the Dean’s or President’s List during the Fall 2020 Semester. In addition, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship was awarded to three UA students who will study abroad during 2021-2022 to learn more about other countries and cultures. Senior Lauren Pan, who endeavors to bring more diversity to the field of engineering, demonstrated UA’s standard of excellence by receiving one of the Society of Women Engineers’ most prestigious collegiate awards this past November.

Unquestionably, our students’ notable achievements are inherently linked to our enterprising faculty and staff. We recently announced Dr. Sara McDaniel as UA’s recipient of the 2020 Blackmon-Moody Outstanding Professor Award. For his service, Dr. Ajay K. Agrawal was awarded the 2020 Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award. And Dr. Krystal Williams was selected as one of thenation’s top 15 emerging scholars under the age of 40. I applaud their achievements and appreciate all our faculty and staff for their exceptional work.

In conjunction with Black History Month, this week we recognize the 65th anniversary of Autherine Lucy Foster’s enrollment as the first African American student to integrate the UA campus. A trailblazer and living legend at the Capstone, Foster’s courageous legacy serves as a reminder of the impact of one brave individual. I invite you to watch this video we have produced in her honor.

I’m proud of this University, and it remains my honor to serve as your president.

Tide Together,

Stuart R. Bell