UAB's National Alumni Society Raises Funds for Alumni House
Homecoming will soon have a whole new meaning for UAB alumni. The National Alumni Society (NAS) pledged the first $1.2 million to launch the building campaign for the new UAB National Alumni Society House, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.
The building, approximately 15,000 gross square feet, will be located at 1001 13th Street South and will provide an excellent venue for alumni programming and events. In addition to housing staff offices for UAB Alumni Affairs, the space will accommodate some 200 to 300 people for luncheons, dinners, receptions, and board and chapter meetings, with adequate parking for daytime and evening events. A large reception area will allow many events to be held on campus that have had to be held elsewhere in the past.
|Runners in the 2010 Dollars for Scholars race take off.
According to Rebecca V. Watson, associate vice president for alumni affairs and annual giving, the addition of the Alumni House will afford UAB the same opportunities as other universities that have an alumni facility on campus. “It will be a symbol to our students of the viability of our organization and will allow us to better show them how important it is to stay involved after graduation,” she says.
Current NAS president Cindy Godwin says working on planning for the Alumni House has been invigorating. “We are excited about having a place with meeting rooms, offices, and space for most of our alumni functions—a place we can call home,” she says. “We are so appreciative of the UAB administration and our alumni for their support.” She says the NAS wanted to give the initial $1.2 million “so that we could have the right to name the building. That was very important to us.”
|Blaze poses with his likeness in front of Bartow Arena.|
The NAS raises money for scholarships through several different programs and events. The License to Learn car tag is just $50 more than a regular tag, of which $32.50 goes directly to students in need. The 2010 Dollars for Scholars 5K/10K race, an annual event, raised more than $76,000, twice as much as the previous year. And Uncorked is an annual wine tasting and silent auction event with live music. Watson adds, “Having a presence on campus will only serve to help raise scholarship money.”
Tommie G. Cummings, a partner and member of the executive committee of Frost Cummings Tidwell Group LLC and past NAS president, says that the NAS past presidents joined together to make a contribution to name the gathering room at the Alumni House. “We wanted to leave a permanent mark on the UAB Alumni House. The NAS past presidents have developed into a group with mutual respect for one another and have become friends who enjoy being together. The gathering room was a natural choice for us since we hope to have many opportunities to gather and enjoy one another’s company.”
Rodney Tucker, M.D., medical director of the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, is also a past NAS president and former Mr. UAB. “The past presidents are a somewhat small group considering the youth of our alumni body, and many of us have known each other for years, so we have developed strong bonds during our professional lives as well. We felt it was very important to have an area in which the past presidents were represented as supporting the philanthropic development of the building.”
|Silent auction at Uncorked|
Cummings, whose two sons are UAB graduates, believes that the Alumni House will have a positive effect on current and future students. She adds, “It indicates UAB’s interest in its alumni and sets the tone that once you are in the UAB family, you remain in the UAB family. It will offer a central place where an affinity for UAB can form and continue through the years. You start with brick and mortar and a roof over your head, but what happens inside the house is what makes the difference. Having a nice, inviting space where UAB alumni, students, faculty, administrators, and friends gather to work on projects, eat and drink before and after UAB events, and laugh and visit will form memories and familiarity that will convert the Alumni House into the alumni home.”
Tucker agrees. He says having a facility such as the Alumni House would certainly have enhanced his experience at UAB. “Clearly, I think the building would have provided a more visual hub of activity for alumni activities and would have possibly reinforced to students that the alumni body exists and remains supportive of the university. Having a meeting space for activities would have facilitated more interactions between the alumni body and the student body. As a central hub of activity for alumni activities, the Alumni House will enhance the visibility of the alumni body with increased programmatic opportunities between students and alumni. This will hopefully serve the NAS in its efforts to encourage more giving by the alumni to support scholarships, which directly impacts the lives of students choosing to attend UAB.”
Godwin and her husband, Randy, gave an additional gift toward the project on their own. “Our gift will build one of the fireplaces in the main hall,” she says. “We feel honored to be a part of making something wonderful happen at UAB.”
Godwin adds, “Our board’s vision for the Alumni House is that all groups on campus will be encouraged to use the facilities for alumni events and that our UAB students and alumni know that they are always welcome at the house for these events. Our ultimate goal is that the house be opened for our alumni to bring family and friends to celebrate UAB functions and feel that they have come home.”
Maintaining the Momentum / Summer 2010