This award recognizes Collat alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally, brought honor to UAB, and have made significant contributions of time and/or philanthropy to UAB and their community. These alumni represent the very best of the values we hold dear – extraordinary achievement, selfless public service, and a lifelong commitment to Blazer pride.

Distinguished Alumni


Ken Jackson - 1970s

Ken Jackson - 1970s

Ken Jackson received his bachelor's degree in business from UAB in 1971. The next year, he earned his MBA from UAB. Ken likes to point out that he graduated 2nd in his MBA class, which was a class of two. Before retiring in 2014, he served as president of Dudley C. Jackson Inc. for 13 years turning it into a very successful industrial distribution company and being named the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2001 Executive of the Year.. He is a passionate Blazer having served as NAS president and also supporting an endowed scholarship in industrial distribution at the business school. But we here at the Collat School of Business are forever grateful for a contribution that will be a lasting legacy at UAB… and that is the incredible, tradition-setting Blaze statue!


Kathy Freeland – 1980s

Kathy Freeland – 1980s

Kathy Freeland received her bachelor’s degree in finance from UAB in 1985 and her MBA from the University of Maryland in 1991. A serial entrepreneur, Kathy founded RGII Technologies in 1990 from her basement office growing it into a successful IT company who’s myriad of customers included nine presidential cabinet agencies of the federal government. She sold RGII in 2003 and in a few short years acquired A-Tek, Inc a high-end IT services and solutions company based in Mclean, VA where she continues to serve as CEO. She has been recognized numerous times with awards honoring her as Entrepreneur of the Year and Enterprising Woman of the Year as well as being named Alumna of the Year at the Collat School of Business. Here at UAB, she serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board, she endowed a scholarship for minority students seeking a degree in finance or information systems, and she contributed substantially to our building campaign by naming a classroom.  


Chad Hagwood – 1990s

Chad Hagwood – 1990s

Chad Hagwood received his bachelor’s degree in finance from UAB in 1994. He is senior managing director and southeast regional manager at Lument, a real estate capital company. Over the course of his career, Chad has closed in excess of $10 billion in commercial real estate transactions and is annually ranked one of the industry’s leading loan originators. Chad was named one of Birmingham’s Executives of Influence in 2019, and “Who’s Who” in commercial real estate in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, Chad was awarded the Honorary Lifetime Membership Award by the UAB National Alumni Society. For many years, Chad chaired the Finance Advisory Board here at the business school before stepping down and taking on his new role as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board. In 2007, he endowed a scholarship in honor of his parents for UAB finance students focusing on real estate. In 2017, Chad became the first Collat School of Business alumnus to give $1 million to his alma mater by naming a classroom in honor of his mentor and friend, Dr. Lary Cowart, and by naming the Chad Thomas Hagwood Finance Lab.  


Shegun Otulana - 2000s

Shegun Otulana - 2000s

Shegun Otulana received his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from UAB in 2003. After receiving his degree, Shegun worked in the technology and consulting space for several years but ultimately his entrepreneurial spirit won out when he went full time in 2011 with his first computer software company, Zertis. In 2013, Shegun founded TheraNest, an “all-in-one” practice management software for the mental and behavioral health industry. TheraNest ultimately became one brand within Therapy Brands, which Shegun founded in 2017 and served as CEO until 2020. In May of last year, Shegun sold Therapy Brands for $1.2 billion. Now, he has turned his focus to elevating local founders and supporting the Birmingham local startup scene with his new venture, Harmony Venture Labs. In 2019, Shegun received Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Southeast Region. And recently, Shegun and his wife Mary, also a Collat alum, gave $1 million to UAB endowing a scholarship supporting international and underrepresented students.  


Alicja Foksinska – 2010s

Alicja Foksinska – 2010s

Alicja Foksinska received her dual bachelor’s degree in Information Systems and Management from UAB in 2015. She was also a part of the Global and Community Leadership Honors Program, as well as the Business Honors Program. She received her Masters in Business Analytics from Indiana University Bloomington in 2019. She currently serves as a Lead IT Auditor specializing in data analytics at Protective where she began her career. For the last 2 years, Alicja has served as an instructor at Collat teaching Data Visualization and Accounting Information Systems. Recently, she partnered with a fellow alum, Danielle Brannock, and our very own accounting professor Dr. Arline Savage to co-author a 1st edition Accounting Information Systems textbook. This year Alicja was named by the Birmingham Business Journal as a NextGen honoree in Accounting which highlights emerging young leaders in their field. In 2021, she was awarded the UAB Rising Star Award from the National Alumni Society. She serves on the Junior Board for the Bell Center. She serves as president for the Birmingham Chapter of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. And carving out more time for her alma mater, she serves as Co-Chair for the Dean’s Young Alumni Council at the Collat School of Business.