February 16, 2017
Guin Robinson and Tim Parker (Above) Mark Hickson, left, and Marilyn Padgett-Greely

February 16, 2017 | Kayla Jenkins


Over the course of almost three decades, Mark Hickson, PhD, has taught more than 10,000 students—many of whom he still remembers and who certainly haven’t forgotten him.

Dr. Hickson is one of those professors with a witty sense of humor and way of making class concepts relatable and interesting. Communication Studies alumna and former employee Marilyn Padgett-Greely fondly remembers Hickson.

“He is an outstanding person as well as a wonderful leader and teacher,” says Ms. Padgett-Greely. “He is a true scholar.”

Ms. Padgett-Greely has designated a significant gift from her estate to support the graduate program in Dr. Hickson’s honor, and will provide financial support to deserving graduate students pursuing training and a career in Communication Management.

Dr. Hickson received his BS and MA from Auburn University, then a second master’s degree from Mississippi State University. He received his PhD from Southern Illinois University and a JD from Birmingham School of Law. An expert in non-verbal communication, Dr. Hickson received the Gerald M. Phillips Award for Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship from the National Communication Association in 2014. In addition, he has written numerous, well-regarded books, including “Talking Sports,” published in 2015.

Dr. Hickson has also been recognized for the quality of his teaching. He received the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1994.

After several years as a professor at UAB, Dr. Hickson had a vision to expand opportunities for students and top-notch faculty by creating a Master of Arts in Communication Management graduate program in 2003. It was his hope to make graduate study more accessible not only as a way to recruit students to UAB, but also to give them the ability to complete their graduate degree here rather than relocating to other universities. But most of all, Hickson hoped students wouldn’t have to work three jobs to go to graduate school, understanding the vital role scholarship support would play in the success of the program.

As an alumna and colleague, Ms. Padgett-Greely remembers Dr. Hickson’s commitment to making this dream a reality. “During the time I worked there, he was working on getting the graduate program approved through the state. I saw him diligently work on that and balance teaching and the success of that program,” she says.

Ms. Padgett-Greely says the scholarship is in keeping with Dr. Hickson’s support of students. “He has an ability to see what people are capable of doing and opening doors for them,” she says. “With this scholarship, someone who would otherwise hit a wall after completing their undergraduate degree would have the opportunity to pursue their passions in graduate study.”

For information on making a planned gift: Kimberley S. Coppock, kcoppock@uab.edu; 205.975.5970; uab.planmylegacy.org