BOA Concludes Spring 2024 Meeting; Witt Inspires Leadership

by Dr. Elisabetta Zengaro
Communications Specialist, Division of Community Affairs

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Community Affairs Board of Advisors concluded its spring 2024 meeting at the Bryant Conference Center on April 22, where members discussed upcoming initiatives and reflected on the importance of leadership from keynote speaker, UA President Emeritus Dr. Robert E. Witt.        

Witt, who jokingly noted that his legacy will be known by hiring former Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, reflected on the growth of the University throughout his tenure and the role of alumni in providing leadership to inspire future generations. 

“One of the University’s strengths for a long time has been our alumni,” Witt said. “You’re our most effective advocates. You helped us come from where the University was when you were here on campus to where the University is today.”

As the Division of Community Affairs enters its 20th anniversary year on campus, Witt also remarked how the Division has laid a foundation for reciprocity among the campus and surrounding communities through the leadership of Dr. Samory Pruitt, whom he appointed to serve as vice president for Community Affairs in 2004. 

Earlier in the day, BOA members reflected on how they may continue the legacy of Community Affairs during panel discussions focused on committee interests in areas of public health, academic success, entrepreneurship, global and community leadership, and veterans’ support. The Board also welcomed its newest member Nicole King, who joined the Board since the BOA fall meeting.  

The BOA committee leadership presented their upcoming initiatives during the dinner, sharing thoughts on how they can inspire positive change in their communities. Additionally, Beau DeVaul, chair of the Global and Community Leadership Development Committee, acknowledged two UA students who were recipients of the BOA’s Study Away scholarships for the upcoming year, Hannah Francis and Steven Multer.

Expanding on Witt’s comments from the keynote dinner, BOA President Samarria Munnerlyn Dunson acknowledged the BOA’s role of leadership by imploring members to reflect on how they may uplift others through the foundation of their BOA committees that also complement the overall mission of the University.

“We speak often about our rising tide, and President John F. Kennedy is credited with making popular the quote, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’ yet we are very much aware that there are those in our communities that don’t have the resources to ensure that when the tide rises, their boat is equipped to rise with it,” said Dunson. “What I love most about the Division of Community Affairs is that it is our goal to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to rise.” 

The BOA meeting began on Sunday, April 21, with lunch and an overview of Community Affairs programs and announcements for the BOA, followed by a reception at the A.C. Hotel. The spring 2024 agenda concluded with breakfast on Tuesday, April 23, at the A.C. Hotel in Tuscaloosa.