If you think about these numbers, they make sense, but no one seems to have put them together.
The University of Alabama was founded in 1831. UAB and UAH—afterthoughts—were created many years later. It’s easy to understand that since UA is the father—and UAB and UAH are the children, why the father would want to maintain his parental control.
But what happens when your children grow up?
Something remarkable has occurred since UAB became the University Extension Center of the University of Alabama in 1936.
UAB now dwarfs UA.
Here are the operating and non-operating revenues of the University of Alabama and UAB*:
UAB’s revenues are triple UA’s.
UA Trustees control all three campuses, and are self-selected (like minds) and self-perpetuating. These unelected men and women make decisions which have a huge impact on three cities and the entire state. To date, their decisions have interfered with the natural organic growth of both UAB and UAH, and this group has even approved capital expenditures to build enterprises which compete directly with both the UAB and UAH franchises.
UAB often is powerless.
UAB represents two of the fifteen seats on the UA Board. That is not reasonable or fair.
Instead of us beating up UAB for being a servant to the University of Alabama—we should stand up for UAB and demand one of the following:
- Stronger board and campus representation
- Elected board members
A reasonable approach would benefit UAB, UA, UAH, and our entire University of Alabama System.
*Revenue numbers copied directly from each University’s website. Click link under revenue numbers to view. UAB revenues include UAB Hospital and Kirklin Clinic.
Disclosure: AmSher, a company in which I am a shareholder, is a vendor for Kirklin Clinic.;UAB Hospital saved my wife’s life from breast cancer; all my doctors and my wife’s doctors are at UAB; my daughter works at UAB; I’m a University of Alabama graduate. It’s impossible to live and work in Birmingham and not be touched by UAB and the University of Alabama.
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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising Agency and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).