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