The University of Alabama maintains a confident, resilient commitment to Alabama students even as it offers opportunities to enrollees from all 50 states and 78 countries, UA President Stuart R. Bell said Wednesday, Oct. 3.
Bell, speaking at the Fall Campus Assembly, pointed out that UA did not raise in-state tuition in 2018 and continues to draw students from every Alabama county.
“We remain firmly committed to educating and graduating students from around the world, but especially from Alabama; as the flagship university, this is a vital part of our mission,” Bell said. “To underscore that commitment to students residing in Alabama, UA is offering more competitive scholarships for in-state students. And, unlike all other in-state universities, we did not raise in-state tuition this fall. We want to continue to enroll all qualified students from the state of Alabama. We want them here on our campus.”
Bell also stressed the strong commitment UA alumni have to support the campus, citing two recent, significant gifts that will help the University charge into the future.
“I’m sure you heard the announcement of a $26.5 million gift from Hugh F. Culverhouse, Jr. and his wife Eliza two weeks ago, which was the largest gift in the history of the University. Hugh was quoted as saying, ‘I have an obligation on myself to make sure the money produces something,’ and that he wants ‘to see this university [among] the BEST of all law schools.’”
He commended the $15 million gift by Marillyn and James Hewson. Marillyn Hewson, chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp. and 2018 CEO of the year, began her career with two degrees from UA.
“Just a few days ago, we announced the plans for construction of our newest Culverhouse College of Business building – named after Marillyn – we’ll have Hewson Hall,” Bell said. “It will broaden the impact of the Culverhouse College of Business even more. Because of Marillyn and James Hewson’s philanthropy, our business students will reap the benefits and will make meaningful contributions in their future professions.”
2018 Freshman Class
In addition, Bell praised the class of incoming freshmen at UA, which includes a sizable number of National Merit Scholars as well as other top-ranked students.
“We enrolled 187 new National Merit Scholars this semester, up from 134 last fall and bringing our total now to more than 600 on our campus,” he said. The average high school GPA of the incoming freshman class was 3.71, with more than one-third earning a 4.0 or higher. And, almost 40 percent of them scored 30 or higher on the ACT, which puts these students in the top 5 percent in the nation.”
Thanks to the determined efforts of the students who lead the UA Dance Marathon, Bell said, he had the honor of attending a recognition ceremony at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. The hospital dedicated a pillar in honor of the UA Dance Marathon for having raised more than $1 million for the institution.
“Did you know, for example, that our UA Dance Marathon group has raised over $1 million for children needing healthcare at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham? That’s an incredible accomplishment,” Bell said. “It began with the dream of about 15 UA students.”
As he walks around the campus, Bell said, he sees how the faculty and staff remain committed to the Strategic Plan of the University and the development of empowered and competitive minds through the resources the University offers.
“As I look around the room, I’m reminded of our Where Legends are Made campaign, which is about the past, present and future of the University,” Bell said. “You – everyone gathered here and everyone who plays an important role on this campus – you are the legend makers. You are the designers of the impressive final products who walk across the stage in Coleman Coliseum at graduation. Now that’s a legacy.”
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.