The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry has dedicated its outdoor plaza to Frances Lee Hire, mother of Don M. Hire, a longtime supporter of UAB along with his wife, Marsha H. Hire.
“We are lucky to have people like Don and Marsha Hire support the UAB School of Optometry, and we are very grateful for their ongoing support,” said Rod W. Nowakowski, O.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Optometry. “Don has served loyally on our Dean’s Community Advisory Committee, and their gift made the renovation of the plaza surrounding the school possible.”
Nowakowski says the beautification of the plaza includes new plants, tables, chairs, umbrellas and re-surfacing.
“This has opened pleasant new areas for Optometry faculty, staff and students to enjoy outside our building, and they are taking full advantage of it on a daily basis,” Nowakowski said. “This makes our school much more appealing and competitive for prospective students when they visit prior to deciding where they want to attend optometry school.”
Funding for the updates came from a $200,000 charitable trust that the Hires gave to the school.
“After our parents were deceased, we made the decision to give to the School of Optometry because of the sight problems in Alabama and because former professor and Optometry Dean John F. Amos, O.D., was a personal friend,” Don Hire said. “We wanted to help people and help somebody we liked.
“My mom always loved flowers, plants and being outdoors,” he added. “So when Dr. Nowakowski called and said they wanted to use the money from the trust to fund having their portion of the plaza redone, it was appropriate and something my mom would have been very happy with because of the enhanced ability of staff and students to be outside and enjoy the world.”
Hire says he and his wife try to support UAB in multiple ways, in both academics and athletics.
“Our parents taught us if you do well you’re supposed to give back to others, and this is a portion of our doing what we were taught to do,” Hire said.