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