The University of Montevallo celebrates its 150th anniversary


The University of Montevallo celebrated its 125th anniversary on Founders’ Day on October 14 on Main Quad on the University campus. Founders Day is an opportunity not only to honor the founder of the University but also to recognize people who have distinguished themselves.

The sun was shining on the procession of UM professors, followed by the graduates, as they walked under the arch of the Bowers Colonnade and took their places for the ceremony. After an invocation by Anakate Andrasko, president of UM’s Student Government Association, and the singing of the national anthem by music student Elicia Freeman, President John W. Stewart III welcomed administrators, faculty, staff, alumni, families and friends at the outdoor location, a departure from the traditional Palmer Hall Auditorium, due to COVID-19 concerns. Stewart briefly reflected on the history of the University from its origins to the present day, with a focus on the past two years.

“This institution was born out of challenge, born out of progress and change, and it is our adaptability that continues to ensure success in the classroom and later for our students in society,” said Stewart. “I am here today, both grateful and proud.”

Dr. Mary Beth Armstrong, Dean and Vice-President of Academic Affairs, chaired on the traditional investiture of the upper class, personally bearing heating Collier, president of the senior class, who led the senior engagement.

In keeping with tradition, in the days leading up to Founders Day, an ornamental “crook” (a walking stick) is hidden somewhere on the UM campus, and the student or students following published clues and locate the con artist receive a prize. This year’s successful detectives were Katy Barnes, Lucy Frost-Helms, Rachel Johnson and Cole Swain.

The 2021 President’s Award, presented by the Hon. Todd Strange, chairman of the board of directors of UM, went to Dr Carl A. Stockton, chancellor of Auburn University at Montgomery. Stockton was recognized for his efforts to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to faculty and staff at UM during the early months of the pandemic, allowing the University to continue its mission of educating its students.

Professor Carey W. Heatherly, Archives and Special Collections Librarian, was the opening speech speaker. He told the story of the University from the idea inception in Julia Tutwiler’s mind to the present day, including fun anecdotes and the recognition of exceptional people who have contributed to the success of the school. along the way. He received a plaque honoring his diligence in preserving the history of the University.

The Montevallo University Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr Melinda S. Doyle, performed the arrangement of Deep River by Roy Ringwald.

Dr Steven Peters, Dean of middle School of Fine Arts, presented the University Scholar Prize to Dr Tiffany Wang, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Professional Progression Quality Improvement Plan (P2P). The University Fellow is recognized for exemplary progress in creativity, research and scholarship.

Dr. Ray Ozley, Associate Professor of Communication and Chair of the Faculty Senate, presented the Faculty Service Award to Dr. Cynthia Tidwell, Professor of Chemistry and Coordinator of the Faculty First cycle Research program. Tidwell has been recognized for her accessibility to students and her leadership in promoting undergraduate research.

Additionally, Ozley presented a Faculty Senate proclamation recognizing the efforts of University staff who continually provide support functions necessary for day-to-day operations, especially during the recent pandemic. Many logistical changes were necessary to maintain the viability of the University during times of quarantine, and many staff members were instrumental in facilitating these adjustments.

Cynthia Todd, President of the National Association of Alumni of the University of Montevallo, presented prizes to three people selected by the UMNAA Board of Directors. The three alumni were chosen based on their dedication to the University and the accomplishments they have made in their personal and professional lives.

Joshua Miller, Director of Consulting Services, received the Outstanding Staff Service Award recognizing service excellence and loyalty to the university. Miller was honored for his diligence in strengthening the University’s counseling programs and for organizing a significant increase in counseling services during the pandemic.

Dr Bruce Finklea, Associate Professor and Mass Communication Coordinator, received the Outstanding Commitment in Teaching Award recognizing his dedication to delivering quality education and its impact on students through the teaching-learning process. Finklea has received several national broadcasting awards and has contributed to a number of communication-focused textbooks.

Sandi Falkenhagen, graduated from the University in 1968, received the Mary Lou Elder Williams Alumnus Loyalty Award in honor of her many years of loyalty and dedication to the University of Montevallo through her time, talents and resources . She served on the board of directors of UM Alumni for 13 years, chairing several committees.

After the closing ceremonies, participants were treated to a picnic on King Quad, followed by several campus events. The day ended with the grand opening of the Thoreau Hut at University Lake, the presentation of the Readers’ Theater at the Center for the Arts, and a UMNAA Awards Recognition Reception at Anna Irvin Hall.


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