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National Alumni Society Member

James Wesley CalhounName: James Wesley "Wes" Calhoun

Degree and Graduation Year:  BS in Criminal Justice - 1987

Current employer and job: Shoe Corp (President)

What is your favorite UAB memory? Being part of a group of young men who started the colony chapter of the Theta Chi fraternity at UAB.

How has UAB impacted your life? I am proud that I have come full circle by utilizing my major in criminal justice and minor in studio art to evolve my career.

What made you choose your current profession? After over 20 years in the advertising business, wherein I owned and operated my own communications firm, my father asked me to return to the family business in 2008 and assist him in growing Shoe Corp.  

What lessons has your professional life taught you? To treat others with fairness and make a WIN-WIN situation for all.

What would you do if you were given more time in each day? Play more tennis.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be? 
1. To live a healthy, full life.
2. To have my father back on Earth.
3. To be able to put the 3rd wish in my pocket for necessity.

If you could go back to any age, which age would it be and why? I would go back to 13/14 years old when I made a transition from a small, private school to public school.  I wore my father out begging him to let me go to public school and he finally acquiesced.  I was excited and overwhelmed when I got there.  I definitely would go back to this time to be a better student.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? World peace - and end to the violence for our future generations.

Who would you want to portray you in a film about your life and why? Gene Wilder would be the best actor to portray this magical adventure.

What is your motto? Lead with your head, judge with your heart.  

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? The best piece of advice I received was from my father, “Don’t stop at 90%, finish the task at hand and make it 100%.”  I use this as motivation to this day.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Punta Arenas, Chile - a.k.a Patagonia.  This is the southernmost point of South America and one of the world’s oldest seaports.  My wife and I travel a lot.  We haven’t been there yet!

What is something you are proud of and why? I am proud to continue the family business with my sister, Michelle.  Shoe Corp stems from a single retail shoe store opened in 1950 in downtown Homewood by my grandparents and has evolved over the years from retail into one of the country’s largest suppliers of inmate footwear serving all 50 states and Canada.

Where would you go in a time machine and why? I would go back to the night in 1961 when my parents were walking 3rd Avenue North in Birmingham to catch a movie at the Alabama Theater.  My father heard his unit called to report to duty the next morning on the handheld radio he was carrying.  He and my mother then decided to skip the movie and go to my grandparents house to let them know he was leaving for France in the morning AND that he and my mother were already married.  I would love to go back to that time to see all that go down first hand.

What 3 items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water?
1. Bug spray
2. Sunscreen
3. Commercial-grade spot light


Student Alumni Society Member

Jignasha PatelName: Jignasha Patel

Graduation Year: 2018

Major: Biology

Hometown: Dadeville, AL

Why did you choose to attend UAB? UAB had the challenging curriculum I was looking for and opportunities I never received before.

Who is the best professor you have had at UAB so far and why? Dr. Raut in the Biology Department is one of the best professors at UAB. She teaches biology in a way that if you are not interested in biology, which I could not imagine, she relates it to each person and how it relates to that person and their lives. She also cares a great deal about her students and how they do.

What is your favorite UAB memory? My first visit to the campus is my favorite memory of UAB. From the first step I made on campus, I knew I felt comfortable here. Walking around the campus I could see myself shuffling to class.  Stepping into the dorms I remember planning how I wanted my room to look, and by the end of the visit I knew this is where I belonged.

How has UAB impacted your life? I never thought I would be able to strive for my dream and have so much support and opportunity; UAB has given me both. Because of the great people I have met through classes, organizations, events, and my family, I have a support system behind me that I thought I would never have! With that support and the endless opportunities UAB has given me, UAB has changed my life for the better in so many ways.

What do you do for fun? I love reading novels and watching old movies.

Who are your heroes in real life? I know people say this all the time, but my parents are my heroes. They have been through so much and have never wavered. They have always kept me happy and never let me settle for less than I deserve. And even when I made decisions they did not agree with, they are there for me when I need them.

If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? If given more time in the day I would volunteer at Children’s and maybe fit in a couple of chapters of a great book.

What is the best invention of your lifetime and why? While I believe people my age, including me, have become too dependent on our technology, I think the best invention of my lifetime is smartphones. Smartphones of any type allow for easy access to basically every part of our lives. Whether it is staying in touch with family, researching for a lab report, or streaming a movie on Netflix, smartphones are a game changer in my lifetime.

What are your future goals? My future goals professionally involve volunteering with children and animals in hospitals and animal shelters. My future life goals include travelling to places like Honduras and Spain, becoming more independent, and being a more caring and aware individual.

What would be your ultimate dream job? My ultimate dream job is to become a primary care pediatrician.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fiction, with whom would it be? Since I was young, I always had a crazy dream about being a spy. I once read a book series where the main character, Cameron Morgan, went to a spy school and became a spy.  She would be the person I would love to trade places with.

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? My Polaroid camera, a volleyball and my Ganesha idol.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? If I had the power to solve one problem in the world it would be the need to find a sustainable, renewable resource that is multi-versatile. I feel like it is important for everyone to take care of the environment and preserve it for future generations. Also, we would not have to fight over where to drill for oil.

What’s the best advice you ever received? Let nothing and no one stop you from achieving your dream.