The Joy and Bill Harbert Foundation

bill harbertThe Joy and Bill Harbert Foundation was created in 1997 by Mr. and Mrs. Harbert to promote philanthropy and voluntarism in their community. The Foundation provides assistance through philanthropic support, and its tradition of giving continues with their children. In memory of the late Mr. and Mrs. Harbert, the Foundation made an endowment to assist in funding the construction of this building and partnered with UAB to establish the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which serves to foster and promote entrepreneurial experiences and education. The goals of the Institute are to empower the entire UAB community to inspire, discover, innovate, create and exemplify the legacy that Bill Harbert created throughout his career. His hard work and innovation led to the broad expansion and success of his companies, both locally and internationally.

Joy and Bill Harbert were known for their deep commitment to serving others, outstanding support of UAB, and their tremendous contributions to the Birmingham community. It is the desire of their son, Billy, to honor his parents’ legacy through its partnership with UAB.

Mississippi native Bill L. Harbert, grew up in Birmingham and graduated from Auburn University in 1948. With his brother, John M. Harbert III, he founded the Harbert Construction Corporation in 1949. A pioneer in the field, Bill saw an opportunity to expand overseas and went on to serve as COO of Harbert International Inc. from 1979 to 1990. Bill led projects, ranging from drilling wells and distribution pipelines to assisting Ethiopian refugees, to construction of the “upside-down” bridge in Costa Rica on the Pan-American Highway System. In 1991, he purchased and renamed the company Bill Harbert International Construction Inc., where he served as Chairman and CEO, and continued to exemplify impactful leadership until his retirement in 2000. Bill played a vital role in business, civic, and community life in Birmingham and left a legacy of respect for human dignity, service toward others, and success through hard work and innovation.

joy harbertMary Joyce “Joy” Harbert was born in Cullman, Alabama and grew up in Jasper, Alabama. She attended Walker County High School, Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and graduated from The University of Alabama, where she was a member of Chi Omega sorority. Joy married Bill Harbert on June 18, 1952, and together they raised three children, Anne Harbert Moulton, Elizabeth Harbert Cornay and Bill L. “Billy” Harbert, Jr. Joy was a civic leader, helping charter the Silhouettes Dance Club and Sprig of Argus Literary Club and held numerous offices in Civiettes, Inc. She was an active member of Canterbury United Methodist Church and an inaugural member of the UAB School of Nursing Board of Visitors.

The support of the Harbert Family has been paramount to the growth and success of UAB. From their contributions UAB excels in advancing medical care and research through the Mae Schooling Harbert Fund for Resident Physicians and the Joy and Bill Harbert Endowed Chair in Cancer Genetics. They have fostered business and entrepreneurial success through the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship as well as lead gift supporting the new Collat School of Business building. The Harbert Family legacy is evident across the UAB campus and the Birmingham community.