Nancy Walburn refers to a story from a recent conference in Mobile when she talks about the importance of Mary Leopard’s role as the office services specialist in the Division of General Studies.

Mary Leopard, an office services specialist in the Division of General Studies, is June’s Employee of the Month. E-mail Jason Turner at to nominate someone deserving of Employee of the Month honors.

The conference included representatives from two- and four-year colleges in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi – and one by one, they approached UAB advisers to thank them for Leopard’s guidance.

“People from several of those states had called to get information for transfer students who were coming to UAB and they spoke to Mary,” says Walburn, director of the Division of General Studies. “Several individuals came up to us and said ‘Mary Leopard is absolutely fabulous. She is the one person, not just at your university but other universities we call on for our transfer students, that we can get to talk to us and give us help getting students there.’

“I think that speaks volumes of the kind of work she does for UAB.”

Leopard is June’s Employee of the Month in part because of what she does to help students get to UAB, and also because of the work she does with students who are already here. In fact, says Walburn, it was the students who frequently visit the General Studies offices in the Hill University Center who jump-started Leopard’s nomination for the employee of the month honor.

They see her making student appointments with advisers, preparing files for those appointments and generally working to make sure their questions are answered every day.

That doesn’t include the things she does they don’t always see, like preparing orientation for new incoming freshmen and transfer students — all of this for a division that has upward of 3,000 students coming through it at any given time.

“Mrs. Leopard is nice and sincere,” says Adam Scott, a junior. “She always seems to brighten up my day and encourage me before I go to see my adviser regarding my application process and academic career. I believe Mrs. Leopard represents UAB with pride and exemplifies what it means to be a caring, professional role model.”

Leopard, who has been in her position for more than two years, is a mother of two children, 12-year-old Maggie and 10-year-old Landry. She says her training as a mother has helped her appreciate the needs of the students who come through her office.

“I see a lot of myself in these students when I was their age, and I think they need to see a smile and see someone positive in front of them, telling them things are going to be OK,” she says. “I probably wasn’t as sensitive about certain things before I had my children. In fact, I know I wasn’t. But now I’m much more aware of others, their wants and needs, and I hope that is reflected in how I help our students at UAB.”

Senior Valerie Gribben says there is no questioning the value of Leopard’s calm demeanor and caring heart when it comes to the needs of students. She says the hectic pace of the office never diminishes Leopard’s attitude toward helping others.

“Every time I see Mary she is making UAB a better place to go to school,” Gribben says.

“Her multi-tasking skills are unbeatable. On a busy day, I have seen her making appointments, photocopying documents, answering the phone and filing papers almost simultaneously — and always with a bright attitude. With her characteristically calm demeanor, Mary puts students at ease while capably assisting them.”

The fast pace and duties of the office may keep Leopard bouncing back and forth from helping a student, to answering questions from an adviser at another institution, to accepting donations on behalf on an honor society that will be routed to Veterans Hospital or the Easter Seals. She says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Every day is different and I like that aspect of it,” she says. “I enjoy what every day brings.”