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  • Ellyn Grady: Alumni Service Award 2020

    This award honors alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the local, national, or global community.

    Ellyn Grady: M.P.A., 1992The College of Arts and Sciences annual alumni awards highlight the diverse talents, professional accomplishments, and community service of our alumni. The Alumni Service Award honors alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the local, national, or global community.

    Ellyn Grady has over thirty years of successful experience in public administration, youth development, and community education. Trained in the performing arts, special education, adult instruction, and community planning, she retired from her position as Senior Vice President of Resource Development at the United Way of Central Alabama in 2019.

    While at the United Way, Grady directed the Agency Impact Department and in 2009, was named Senior Vice President overseeing their annual campaign, which raised more than $38 million.

    Prior to 2002, Grady was the Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Central Alabama, a youth development organization that provides programs for more than 7,000 inner-city girls. Before moving to Birmingham in 1989, she managed one of the nation's largest community education programs in Fairfax County, Virginia.

    She holds a degree in drama and speech from Furman University, continuing education course work from George Mason University and the University of South Carolina, and a Master of Public Administration degree from UAB.

    Grady served as a council member of the MPA alumni and president of the United Way Executive Director’s Council. She is also a member and past board member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham, past president of The Women’s Network, and a Paul Harris Fellow.

  • Amanda Keller: Distinguished Young Alumni Award 2020

    This award honors alumni ages 40 or younger for significant accomplishments in industry and/or their career field or for service in the College.

    Amanda Keller: B.A. Philosophy, 2009The College of Arts and Sciences annual alumni awards highlight the diverse talents, professional accomplishments, and community service of our alumni. The Distinguished Young Alumni Award honors alumni ages 40 or younger for significant accomplishments in industry and/or their career field or for service in the College. In 2020, we recognized two winners in this category: Amanda Keller and Michael Chambers II.

    Amanda Keller is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and moved to Alabama in 2006. She is the Founding Director of the Magic City Acceptance Center (MCAC), a direct-service social supportive space for the LGBTQ community in Birmingham that opened in the spring of 2014. In her five years as director, she has been instrumental in expanding services to over 1,060 local LGBTQ and strongly allied youth, ages 13-24.

    Amanda also manages Family Matters: LGBTQ Youth Perspectives, a photography exhibition by Carolyn Sherer. Family Matters premiered at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in April 2014, and was selected as a Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery finalist in 2016. Prior to MCAC, Amanda served as Finance Director at Birmingham AIDS Outreach.

    Amanda serves on the Board of the Children’s Policy Council, and Mayor Woodfin’s LGBTQ Advisory Board. She was also an honoree of AL.com’s 2017 “Women Who Shape the State”, one of the 2018 Birmingham Business Journal’s “Women to Watch,” and a member of the Leadership Birmingham Class of 2020.

  • Michael Chambers II: Distinguished Young Alumni Award 2020

    This award honors alumni ages 40 or younger for significant accomplishments in industry and/or their career field or for service in the College.

    Michael Chambers II: B.A. African American Studies, 2007The College of Arts and Sciences annual alumni awards highlight the diverse talents, professional accomplishments, and community service of our alumni. The Distinguished Young Alumni Award honors alumni ages 40 or younger for significant accomplishments in industry and/or their career field or for service in the College. In 2020, we recognized two winners in this category: Michael Chambers II and Amanda Keller.

    A native of Washington, D.C., Michael Chambers II has worked at the local, state, and national level, managing and developing programs across a variety of arts and humanities organizations. He has produced living history vignettes, curated panel discussions, and led cultural youth development programs. In his latest role in the Director's Office at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, he manages board relations, a national philanthropic professional network, and special projects.

    Chambers also leads a cultural consulting practice, Humanities in Public, which uses a humanities lens to foster new ways of thinking, presenting history, and connecting new audiences. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

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