Donors Support the Charles and Patsy Collat Industrial Distribution Program
“The message ‘I believe in you and what you are trying to achieve’ is very powerful,” says Kristen Craig, industrial distribution (ID) program manager in the School of Business. She believes that by continuing to support the ID program, donors are sending this message to ID students.
Last year, Patsy and Charles Collat made a $1-million commitment to the ID program, challenging others to match these funds. Many friends, business associates, and even competitors have answered the call to meet that challenge. These generous donors include Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Cooper Industries, Eaton Corporation, Tom Gorin, International Electric Supply Corporation, Kassouf & Company, Klein Tools, and Beth and Wes Smith. Other donors such as Hubbell, Ken Jackson, Lithonia Lighting, O’Neal Steel, OSRAM Sylvania, Panduit, Perry Supply, and Thomas & Betts had already made contributions to the program.
“Funds from external donors have been instrumental in propelling the growth of the ID program, the first nonmedical endowed program at UAB,” Craig adds. “Creating the vision for the program, Charles Collat not only established the endowment but also has led the fund-raising efforts to expand the endowment from the inception of the program to today. He has provided the funds to recruit leading faculty to UAB, and he has been instrumental in establishing great momentum in our development efforts for student-related funding.” Today, more than $140,000 of scholarship money is available per year for ID students.
“The fact that the ID program is an endowed program has a tremendous effect on students,” Craig says. “This says to students that the industry in which they are seeking to work values their education so significantly that they are willing to fund and support the existence of the program. Also, the support is so great that these industry partners will then provide additional funding directly to students to ease the burden of college expenses as well as reward students for high academic achievement. The endowment coupled with significant scholarship dollars sends a very clear message about the importance and high regard for this program of study and its students.”