Birmingham couple make transformational $20 million gift to University of Alabama

Birmingham couple make transformational $20 million gift to University of Alabama
When the newly announced $20 million donation from Kelley and C.T. Fitzpatrick is completed, the Birmingham couple will be the largest cash donors in University of Alabama history at $24 million. (contributed)

A $20 million comprehensive gift from C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick will significantly enhance the Culverhouse College of Business and intercollegiate athletics at the University of Alabama.

When completed, the commitment will increase the Fitzpatricks’ total giving to UA to $24 million and make them the largest cash donors in the University’s history.

Pending approval by the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, the $20 million gift will establish the C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick Center for Value Investing.

It also provides funding for research in value investing, enhances the Culverhouse Investment Management Group student-led investment program, elevates the Fitzpatrick Endowed Chair of Value Investing to the C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick Endowed Director of the Center for Value Investing and supports enhancements to Crimson Tide Athletics facilities.

“The Fitzpatrick family continues to transform the UA College of Business through remarkable investments in our students’ lives and professional careers,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell.

“We’re thankful for their steadfast support and for their enduring legacy,” Bell said. “Future business leaders are being shaped and empowered through C.T. and Kelley’s philanthropy, and UA’s business programs remain exemplars for success among public business schools.”

As founder and CEO of Vulcan Value Partners, C.T. Fitzpatrick has grown the firm from a startup in 2007 to an internationally recognized investment management firm with more than $15 billion in assets under management. His strategy has proven successful.

A donation from C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick will establish the C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick Center for Value Investing within the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business, among other enhancements to the College. (University of Alabama)

All five of Vulcan Value Partners’ investment strategies are in the top 1% of their peers since inception.

The Birmingham couple has strong ties to UA. As an alumnus, C.T. Fitzpatrick is immersed in various areas of his alma mater, including serving as a member of the University of Alabama President’s Cabinet, a member of the Culverhouse College of Business Board of Visitors and formerly as chair of the Hewson Hall Building Campaign Steering Committee.

Kelley Fitzpatrick is a Tuscaloosa native and the daughter of Lewis Manderson, for whom UA’s Manderson Graduate School of Business is named.

In 2015, the Fitzpatricks gifted the University $3 million to create the Vulcan Value Partners Research Library and Trading Room as well as an endowed chair and professorship in the Culverhouse College of Business.

That gift made UA’s business school the first in the nation to offer a value investing concentration at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The success of the program proved a wise investment, leading the couple to provide additional support with $8 million of their most recent gift devoted to value investing.

“We are doing this because the University has been a good steward of our initial investment,” said C.T. Fitzpatrick. “We think the additional investment can earn even higher returns and ultimately help more students, as well as benefit the University, the state and the region. There is a lot of leverage in the gift.”

“With C.T.’s support and active participation, the University has already built a one-of-a-kind undergraduate program in value investing,” said John Heins, UA’s Fitzpatrick Endowed Teaching Professor of Value Investing.

“It’s particularly gratifying,” Heins said, “that one of the best investors in the business has chosen to invest further in extending the reach and impact of the program to the lasting benefit of the University, the Culverhouse College of Business and all of the students and alumni who will continue to benefit from his wisdom and generosity.”

In addition to supporting value investing, the significant gift will also provide funding for various aspects of the College, from its programs to its students, faculty and facilities.

Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban joins other officials in October 2018 to announce The Crimson Standard fundraising campaign for University of Alabama Athletics. Birmingham’s C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick are contributing $5 million to the campaign as part of an overall $20 million donation. (Kent Gidley/University of Alabama Athletics)

The gift includes $1.5 million to bolster marketing efforts that strategically heighten awareness of the College; $2 million to enhance professional development and career services for all Culverhouse undergraduate students; and a $2.5 million matching gift challenge that pushed the $30 million Hewson Hall campaign to completion in fall 2019.

“Over the years, we’ve had many conversations with our friends C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick about ways we could partner together to elevate — and transform — what we’re doing here at the Culverhouse College of Business,” said Dr. Kay Palan, dean of the College.

“This gift is the result of those conversations,” Palan said. “It symbolizes confidence in our mission and an investment that will pay future dividends, as it will allow the enhancement of academic programs, services and amenities relied on by students across the College. We are extraordinarily grateful to the Fitzpatricks for their generous support.”

The Fitzpatricks also designated $5 million of the gift to the Crimson Standard Capital Initiative to support enhancements to Crimson Tide athletic facilities.

“We are so appreciative of the Fitzpatricks’ continued support of the University of Alabama, and we thank C.T. and Kelley for their generosity in designating $5 million to the Crimson Standard,” said Greg Byrne, UA director of athletics. “This capital initiative is helping us prepare for the future of Alabama Athletics, and its success would not be possible without philanthropic gifts such as this.”

The Fitzpatricks said they value the influence their legacy has on the student experience and anticipate a greater return on investment for the foreseeable future.

“To watch these students progress and see what they are doing is very gratifying,” said C.T. Fitzpatrick. “It becomes a virtuous circle where they go out and thrive and through their success are able to give back just as we have. That is the legacy, and we want to continue to build on it.”

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

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