The Campaign for UAB Kicks Off

UAB has publicly launched its largest-ever and most comprehensive fund-raising campaign with the theme “Give Something, Change Everything.”
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Theresa Bruno, Shirley Salloway Kahn, Mike Warren, Johnny Johns and President Ray Watts

Patsy and Charles Collat made the lead gift for this $1 billion campaign with a $25 million pledge to name the Charles and Patsy Collat School of Business.

Theresa Bruno, Johnny Johns, and Mike Warren — outstanding civic and business leaders known for their service to and philanthropic support of UAB and the community, will guide The Campaign for UAB, which will run through 2018.  

“I am thrilled and deeply grateful that Johnny, Theresa, and Mike will join us to help steer this effort and to work closely with our volunteer leadership in the schools and units and at the university and regional levels,” UAB President Ray Watts says.

Johns, president, CEO and chair of Protective Life Corporation, is a staunch advocate for economic growth and improved education, arts and culture in Birmingham and the state. Johns has served as chair of the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Business Council of Alabama and Innovation Depot.

“I’m just thrilled that UAB is launching this campaign,” Johns says. “There must be tens of thousands of people and families who have been enriched by UAB — through the world-class care received at the medical center or the educational opportunities that young people have received in the undergraduate programs or because of the cultural amenities that would not be available otherwise. I always love it when people can pay it forward, pay it back, and this is a great opportunity for that.”

Bruno, president of THB Inc., is a strategic planning consultant, noted film producer, arts educator and Juilliard-trained musician. She serves as chair of the corporate board of UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center (ASC) and is a leader in global and local efforts pertaining to poverty and arts outreach — most notably ArtPlay and ArtReach.

“Part of the reason I accepted the role of co-chair is an absolute love for this city, and an understanding of the power of UAB and the transformation that can happen in our city when we raise a billion dollars,” Bruno says. “I was excited when I heard the goal for the campaign. It validates the value of UAB and the value of this city. I’m both humbled and thrilled to be part of this campaign.”  

Warren, president and CEO of Children’s of Alabama and former chair/CEO of Energen, has served as chairman of the Business Council of Alabama, the United Way, Children’s Hospital, Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama.

“Getting involved with The Campaign for UAB was an easy decision for me, and the reasons are many,” Warren says. “As CEO of Children’s of Alabama, I know UAB is our longtime, great partner in providing the very best health care possible for Alabama’s children. The future success of Children’s is directly tied to the continued success of UAB. At the same time, as a lifelong resident of Alabama and longtime business person, I know the importance of UAB as the economic engine of Birmingham and the state. In addition, the intellectual horsepower on the UAB campus helps make Birmingham a more vibrant and diverse community with positive, optimistic energy. It is not an overstatement to say that the future of the entire state is inextricably tied to the future of UAB. This campaign gives us the opportunity to see that future and then to make it happen.”

UAB’s previous philanthropic campaign took place between 1997 and 2003 and far exceeded its goal of $350 million, which at the time was the largest ever undertaken by an Alabama university. UAB raised $388.7 million.

“The goal of this campaign will again be an unprecedented figure for UAB,” says Shirley Salloway Kahn, Ph.D., vice president for development, alumni and external relations. “We are fortunate to have three dynamic leaders working with us and with our volunteer boards across campus. UAB is poised for transformational growth, and the money that is raised will help our faculty and staff continue their efforts to find new cures for diseases, educate students and bring recognition to our city and state through their outstanding teaching, patient care, research and service.”

With an economic impact exceeding $5 billion in Alabama annually, the implications of a successful UAB fund-raising campaign are broad and far-reaching. “The scope and impact of this campaign will extend far beyond our campus,” Watts says. “A successful fund-raising effort of this scale will reap vastly improved health care, educational opportunities and quality of life, as well as robust economic development, throughout our community, state, nation and beyond. This will be a campaign with a truly global impact.”