UA Aims for Record Goal in 2016 United Way Campaign

Photos by Jianlong Yang
CCBP Student

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Members of the University community joined the College of Continuing Studies (CCS), host of the 2016 United Way campaign, on Thursday, Oct. 6 for a Campaign Kickoff event at the Ferguson Center Plaza on campus. This year’s goal is a record $365,000 — a $20,000 increase from the 2015 goal — with an additional emphasis on increasing the percentage of employees participating in the campaign.

The tailgate-themed event brought beautiful, unseasonably warm weather as UA campaign administrators, partner-agency representatives and leadership-level donors gathered to launch the annual effort.

“The theme for this year’s campaign, UA CARES: UNITED WE THRIVE, represents the spirit of the faculty, staff and students as demonstrated through our service and generosity toward those on our campus as well as those in our surrounding communities,” said Dr. Stuart R. Bell, UA president, in a letter to the campus community. “Our partnership with the United Way of West Alabama plays a vitally important role in our efforts to improve the quality of life for individuals in West Alabama.”

UA is consistently the largest institutional contributor to the United Way of West Alabama campaign, holding the distinction of being the No. 1 employee campaign in total dollars pledged since 2001. Additionally, the University is the current SEC leader in percentage of employees contributing to local United Way campaigns.

CCS Dean Craig Edelbrock, in welcoming those in attendance, took a playful swipe at the “orange and blue” institution “down the road” for using UA’s United Way success as motivation to increase its participation … “and they moved up from fifth to second. What a great competition between two universities in Alabama!”

Bell spoke of the importance of the campaign and how it knits together organizations that help the community. “Thank you for what you all do, every day,” he said, acknowledging partner-agency representatives at the event.

Jackie Wuska, president and chief executive officer of the United Way of West Alabama, thanked the University community for its support, recognizing the service leadership attitude at UA. “We are the envy of everyone in the SEC,” she said. Then, in reference to that school down the road mentioned earlier, she good-naturedly encouraged UA to “crush the Lee County spirit.”

Campaign co-chairs from CCS are Bill Elrod, director, business development and college relations; Dixie MacNeil, director, academic outreach; and Dr. Robert Prescott, director of corporate engagement. The campus coordinating committee supporting them includes representatives from the Division of Community Affairs, UA Printing, Auxiliary Services, Financial Affairs and Facilities, as well as the Faculty Senate, the Professional Staff Assembly, the Student Government Association, The SOURCE, The University of Alabama Retirees Association and a host of committee members and department-level coordinators.

United Way of West Alabama has 26 partner agencies and covers Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties. These agencies provide a variety of education, income-related, health and emergency-response programs to citizens throughout West Alabama. For more information about United Way of West Alabama, visit

Get weekly updates on the campaign progress.

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.