Though still a young institution, UAB has been fortunate through the years to have many people who made a substantial positive impact in the lives of those around them.
|Andy Marsch, assistant vice president for Student Life, stands with the UAB Wall of Honor, located on the second floor of the Hill University Center. The Wall of Honor was created to memorialize those who, during their lifetime, made outstanding contributions to UAB.|
And when we lose those faculty, staff and students to death, it can be painful. Many times, we do not want the memories of the deceased to go unnoticed or forgotten by current and future generations.
That’s why the UAB Wall of Honor — the brainchild of John Jones, the first vice president for Student Affairs — was created in April 1985. The wall, located in the second-floor lobby of the Hill University Center, was donated by The Faculty Women’s Club as a means to memorialize those who, during their lifetime, made outstanding contributions through their activities, efforts and interactions to the university and to the educational development of students.
“There are a lot of people on the Wall of Honor who meant a lot to our institution, especially the students,” says Andy Marsch, assistant vice president for Student Life. “Every one of them made great contributions in enriching the lives of those they taught or interacted with.”
Any of the recognized student government associations within the university may nominate an individual to be memorialized on the Wall of Honor by submitting a nomination to the Office for Student Life. Any department within the university or student services area may nominate an individual to be memorialized.
|The names included on the UAB Wall of Honor are:
Marsch presents all nominations to the Council of the SGA Presidents for review and consideration. If approved by this council, the recommendation is sent to President Carol Garrison for review by the Executive Cabinet, which makes the final decision on the selection for the Wall of Honor.
Marsch and the department chair and/or dean of the school from which the nominations come are responsible for the program recognizing the person being memorialized and developing the necessary inscription for the plaque.
Twelve names are currently on the plaque, including the most recent honoree, sociology Professor Becky Trigg.
Trigg was honored in November 2011 after a career that left an imprint on the lives of students and colleagues that knew her, including Mark LaGory, Ph.D., professor emeritus of sociology and Shelia Cotten, Ph.D., professor of sociology.
“Teaching for Becky was not just preparing and delivering good lectures or using cutting-edge methodologies and technologies for her classes,” LaGory says. “Teaching and mentoring students was life work for her — a vocation.”
Trigg taught classes including introductory sociology, family conflict and violence and introduction to women’s studies, which connected her with hundreds of students each year.
She also handled the roles of new-student orientation speaker and administrator for various campus programs.
Trigg was recognized for her teaching excellence with several awards, including the Dean’s Career Award for Outstanding Teaching from the School of Social & Behavioral Sciences.
Sometimes Trigg’s connection to students went well beyond the classroom. A student going through some particularly difficult circumstances came to her for help in one instance. Trigg responded by allowing the student to live at her home until the situation was resolved.
“Becky had a real desire to help those students who were disadvantaged in some way,” Cotten says. “Becky often would mention how some students had come from lower socio-economic backgrounds, didn’t have a family member who had attended college, were not as polished as other students and lacked the social and cultural capital of other students who had come from higher socio-economic situations. She talked about how it was up to us to mentor these students to help them succeed.”
“She was always a strong advocate for students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Cotten says. “Her belief in these students helped many of them achieve great things. It also helped me to be a better faculty member.”
Marsch says many options are available to properly memorialize those selected to be on the Wall of Honor, including receptions, dinners, luncheons or something more modest.
“We try to do whatever the department or program who nominated the person thinks is appropriate,” Marsch says. “It truly is a Wall of Honor, and it is a permanent recognition of people who have made serious contributions to making UAB a better place for students.”
The wall’s location on the second floor of the HUC is temporary. A new location for the wall will be decided on in the future.
“When the Hill University Center is renovated in the next couple of years, we’ll find the appropriate location for the Wall of Honor,” Marsch says.