TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A $10 million gift commitment from the Holle Family Foundation, of Birmingham, will position the College of Communication and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama as a leader in creativity and communication and honor the life of Brig. Gen. Everett Hughes Holle.
The generous gift, which represents the largest commitment to-date for the College of Communication and Information Sciences, pays tribute to Holle’s dedication to his alma mater and his profound impact on the field of communication.
“We are honored to permanently associate General Holle, a paragon of the communication industry, with excellence and creativity in communication arts at The University of Alabama,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell.
Pending approval by the UA Board of Trustees, the gift will establish the Holle Center for Communication Arts, an interdisciplinary center in C&IS.
“The Holle name is synonymous with leaders in creativity and communication at the Capstone,” said Dr. Mark Nelson, dean of C&IS. “As the cornerstone of the Holle legacy, the Holle Center will distinguish itself nationally as a highly visible interdisciplinary platform that builds capacity for critical thinking, engenders empathy and prepares students to be active and engaged citizens capable of succeeding in any career path in the context of the digital age.”
In addition to funding the Holle Center, pending approval of the UA Board of Trustees, the gift will support C&IS through the following:
- Establish the Holle Endowed Chair of Communication Arts, enabling C&IS to recruit and retain esteemed scholars and faculty members of national and international distinction in communication
- Enhance existing space to house the Holle Center for Communication Arts
- Provide permanent program support for the C&IS Hall of Fame and the Holle Awards for Excellence and Creativity in Communication, elevating these events into a premier celebration of present and future leaders in the communication arts
- Enhance the Everett Hughes Holle Endowed Scholarship, established in 2009 by former Scouting leaders, friends and supporters of Holle to pay tribute to his dedication to young people, higher education and to promote the education of C&IS students
“Through the Holle Center guided by the Holle Endowed Chair, interdisciplinary work will continue in perpetuity to produce research and creative activity that advances human dignity, breaks down barriers to understanding, illuminates injustices, and encourages collaboration and empathy,” said Bell.
A talented broadcast and film communication major, Holle wrote and reported for the Crimson White student newspaper and produced and announced programs for the student radio station. As a student leader, Holle was actively involved in SGA and Army ROTC, among other organizations on campus.
Upon graduating in 1950, Holle was commissioned in the United States Army as a radio/television/motion picture officer, acting as the Army’s network liaison. Following his return to Birmingham, he became a member of the 87th U.S. Army Maneuver Area Command. He held several command positions until his retirement in 1985 as brigadier general.
He was highly regarded for his 40-year career in the Birmingham television industry at WAPI (now WVTM) NBC 13 and his service as a dedicated leader throughout the community and in numerous civic organizations, including his extensive involvement with Scouting.
As a member of the C&IS Board of Visitors, Holle passionately invested in the success of University of Alabama students. In 2015, he established the Holle Awards for Excellence and Creativity in Communication to celebrate and reward student achievement in the areas of book arts, filmmaking, media writing, public speaking and screenwriting. Each year, one recipient is selected in each of the five categories and is awarded $10,000. He was honored for his extraordinary commitment to higher education when he was inducted into the C&IS Hall of Fame in 2015. Holle passed away in 2017.
“The Holle Family Foundation Board of Directors is pleased and honored to partner with The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences to promote excellence in the communication arts by providing student scholarships, recognizing achievement in the communication field and supporting faculty growth and development,” said Patrick O’Neil, chair of the Holle Family Foundation.
“The world’s complex social, cultural and political environment demands the highest levels of communication skills to create lasting solutions to difficult problems. The UA-HFF partnership will provide an environment and academic structure for future students to nurture and employ these much-needed talents.”
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.