UA President Judy Bonner Announces Plans to Leave Presidency
University of Alabama President Judy Bonner sent this letter to the campus community this afternoon:
Dear UA Students, Faculty and Staff:
On Monday, I sent a letter (http://uanews.ua.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bonner.pdf) to Chancellor Witt indicating my plans to leave the presidency of The University of Alabama no later than the end of September 2015. I would like to return to my first love, which is teaching and working more directly with students. In order to do so, I will take a year’s sabbatical to prepare to return to the classroom in the Fall of 2016. After all, our core mission at the Capstone has always been – and must always be – about giving our students the best chance to go out and be successful, making a difference in our state and around the world. Once the Board of Trustees has identified the next president, I will do everything I can to assist with a seamless transition.
To all who know me – my faculty colleagues, our dedicated staff, our outstanding students, and our loyal alumni – you can imagine that this was not an easy decision to make. Like many other Alabama families, ours, too, has a long and deep connection to this special place. More than 100 years ago, our grandfather graduated from The University of Alabama and, earlier this semester, my niece began her freshman year. Four generations of my family have called the Capstone home, and Alabama’s first university has been – and will always be – an integral part of my life.
Looking back on my career here, it is fair to say that I have totally enjoyed every position I have held. I loved teaching and research. As I moved through various administrative positions, I never forgot that I am a faculty member first. I also treasured being able to serve first as a department chair, then an assistant vice president, special assistant to the president, dean, provost and executive vice president, and now president. With each position, I worked hard, giving every task my highest and best self, while forever being faithful, loyal, firm, and true to this great institution.
In each of these positions, I have had the privilege of providing leadership on the shoulders of giants. No provost or president can accomplish very much alone. But, together, we can – and we are – achieving great things that are transforming our University into a nationally competitive university characterized by excellence on multiple fronts. I am most proud of the way our campus is working together as a team with a common vision. As a result of teamwork, we are creating an environment that is attracting the best and brightest students, faculty, and staff, and we are empowering them to succeed.
It is impossible to thank all the mentors, friends, colleagues, and supporters who have helped make this journey so incredibly special. Going back to my own professors when I was an undergraduate, I was richly blessed to have so many wonderful role models and enablers at every step along the way. However, two people in particular helped open the door to my current position – former presidents Roger Sayers and Bob Witt. I know my own presidency would have never happened had it not been for these two individuals.
Serving as an assistant academic vice president to Roger Sayers when he was our academic vice president and then briefly serving as a special assistant to President Sayers, I gained an important and unique understanding into some of the day-to-day challenges and decisions that often land squarely on the desk of the provost and president. And, I learned from the master how to solve complex problems on a university campus. To this day, Dr. Sayers remains a trusted friend and confidante.
And I will never be able to fully express my gratitude to Dr. Witt when, only a week into his presidency in March 2003, he asked me to be his provost and executive vice president. Working side-by-side with President Witt, I was given the opportunity to play a major role in a decade that will be remembered for the remarkable growth in our student body, our faculty, and our infrastructure. I was so honored when Dr. Witt and the Board of Trustees asked me to become the 28th president, providing an opportunity to build on the successes of the past decade and continuing to work to complete the unfinished agenda that we began together.
Finally, I want to thank our Board of Trustees for the confidence they placed in me and for their unwavering support during my time as president. Their love for The University of Alabama is unquestioned, and I have committed to them that, during my remaining time as president, we will continue to be focused on making sure the Capstone continues to make progress.
We will continue to work together and make progress in the coming months. Please know that each of you holds a special place in my heart, and I appreciate all that you do to make this University truly great.
The University of Alabama
DR. JUDY L. BONNER
Dr. Judith L. Bonner was named the 28th president of The University of Alabama on November 1, 2012. Founded in 1831, the University is the state’s flagship and a student-centered comprehensive research university.
Dr. Bonner served as interim president from March 5 until Aug. 31, 2012. She was promoted to executive vice president and provost on April 1, 2006, after serving as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs since March 2003.
During Dr. Bonner’s tenure as provost and president, the University underwent transformational change growing from just over 19,000 students in 2003 to more than 36,000 students in 2014. Each year, the academic strength of the student body and the faculty exceeded the record set the previous year.
Under her leadership as president, the Shelby Science and Engineering Quad has been completed and plans to transform the Peter Bryce campus into a vibrant new academic area are underway.
In addition, UA’s athletics programs have excelled in recent years with several teams winning national championships.
Dr. Bonner joined the faculty at The University of Alabama in 1981 as associate professor and head of the department of human nutrition and hospitality. She served as assistant academic vice president from 1985-1990 and as special assistant to the president from 1989-1991.
Promoted to professor in 1988, she was named dean of the College of Human Environmental Sciences in 1989 and held that position until 2003.
Prior to coming to UA, she held faculty appointments in the department of pediatrics at UAB and the department of medical dietetics at The Ohio State University.
Dr. Bonner earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Alabama and her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, all in nutrition. Her research focused on nutritional needs of chronically ill children and on eating disorders, and has resulted in numerous publications.
Dr. Bonner is an active member of civic, scientific and professional organizations. Among other awards and honors, her accolades include the Distinguished Alumni Award from The Ohio State University, the AHEA Leader Award and the award for Outstanding Dietitian for the state of Alabama.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.
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