University of Alabama business school celebrates 100 years with festive gala

University of Alabama business school celebrates 100 years with festive gala
Speakers at the Culverhouse Centennial Gala included, from left to right, Drs. Ron Dulek and Lonnie Strickland, who served as emcees for the evening, alums Peter Lowe and Marillyn A. Hewson, current Culverhouse dean Kay M. Palan, former dean Barry Mason and UA President Stuart R. Bell. (University of Alabama)

With nearly 60,000 alumni all over the globe, highly ranked academic programs and a dynamic outreach and research enterprise, the Culverhouse College of Business at the University of Alabama has much to celebrate in its centennial year. Founded in 1919 by Lee Bidgood, it is marking the occasion through a year’s worth of events and programs that help alumni and friends relive the rich history of Culverhouse while showcasing its bold plans for the future.

The college recently hosted a festive gala at The Zone in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The theme of the gala emphasized the college’s role as a transformative influencer in the world of business as well as in greater society.

Gala attendees included UA President Stuart R. Bell and others in University of Alabama executive leadership, as well as many other campus executives, college deans and business leaders. The event was also attended by members of the Culverhouse Board of Visitors, all of whom play an essential role in guiding the college’s current programs and future growth.

The emcees for the evening were two long-serving and beloved members of the Culverhouse faculty, Ron Dulek and Lonnie Strickland. The duo, both members of the department of management, shared memories of the people they met who made such a difference not just in their own lives but in those of Culverhouse students.

“I’ve also taught lots of you folks in the audience,” Strickland said. “And I’m proud of each and every one of you. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to stand in front of you. I will be always grateful for what all of you have done for the college.”

Bell came to the stage next. His remarks focused on the indelible mark that Culverhouse has made across the world.

“[Culverhouse] alumni are working in our communities, influencing positive change and development,” he said. “They are the thought leaders and change makers of the present economy and the future business landscape. They are leaders in their businesses, and they are laying influential paths for our students to follow.”

Culverhouse Dean Emeritus J. Barry Mason then spoke about what the college meant to him. As the longest-serving Culverhouse dean at 22 years, Mason saw first-hand the evolution of the college as it integrated new programs and undertook new initiatives that further broadened its mission.

Alum Peter Lowe then spoke. As a trustee emeritus of the University of Alabama System, he has not only seen the college’s profile and reputation grow since his graduation, but he has seen UA’s physical footprint grow. Mr. Lowe, a successful real-estate developer, shared some memories about his time at Culverhouse and how the relationships he formed at the Capstone were instrumental to his success.

As the college advances into its second century, it expects to continue growing its student body. To serve more students in the decades to come, the college will soon be breaking ground on a new building, Hewson Hall.

A rendering shows Hewson Hall, a planned addition to the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business. Construction on the building is expected to begin soon. (University of Alabama)

The building is the result of a gift of $15 million by Marillyn and James Hewson to start the campaign.

The Hewsons are long-term supporters of UA, and Marillyn Hewson is a Culverhouse alum.

Hewson, the chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, spoke at the gala dinner and described how, over the course of her more than 35-year career, she’s “drawn from, and built upon, the knowledge and experiences from my years at Culverhouse.”

She also talked about the increasingly volatile and complex global business environment, the accelerating pace of change and the need to equip young people to fill the jobs of the 21st century.

“As we look to the future, it’s clear that there has never been a greater need for institutions such as Culverhouse,” she said. “That’s why it is so encouraging to look out at this gathering and to see so many committed to the future of this tremendous institution.”

The evening’s remarks closed out with Culverhouse Dean Kay M. Palan, who expressed gratitude to all those who gathered for the evening and those who helped make Culverhouse the inclusive community that it takes pride in being. That community is also achieving “our vision of being recognized internationally as a leading business school shaping and transforming the future of business.”

Learn more about how Culverhouse is celebrating this time by visiting The website features an interactive timeline that dates back the whole century and a form to help alumni and friends share their lives and favorite Culverhouse memories. The public is also invited to take pictures and tag them using the hashtag #culverhouse100.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

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