TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Gary and Nancy Fayard expect their most recent commitment to The University of Alabama College of Education and Culverhouse College of Business will create a lasting impact on students as they navigate their lifetime of learning.
The $2 million Fayard Endowed Chair in Literacy Education will help the UA College of Education attract a nationally-recognized scholar in the field of childhood literacy. The $1 million Fayard First Generation Business Scholars Endowed Scholarship will provide financial support for first-generation business students from the state of Alabama.
“The University is grateful for the philanthropy of the Fayard family, especially their support of UA students and faculty through this comprehensive and transformative gift,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “This endowed chair and scholarship will support students from the classroom to graduation, providing extra backing that will enable talented students to pursue higher education goals at the Capstone, despite economic obstacles, while elevating our teaching and research through recruiting a renowned teacher-scholar.”
Gary Fayard, a 1975 graduate of the UA Culverhouse College of Business, and Nancy Fayard, a 1975 graduate in education, said both gifts are aimed at creating a solid path toward higher education for students throughout the state.
Nancy said that the gifts are an “investment in people,” with the gift for the endowed chair in literacy having evolved after conversations with Dean Peter Hlebowitsh in the College of Education.
Hlebowitsh said that the gift from the Fayard family will result in strengthening the college’s involvement with early literacy concerns.
“The appointment of the Fayard Endowed Chair in Literacy Education will help to energize the work of the Belser-Parson Literacy Center by providing it with someone who will bring insights and resources to the clinical and the research work of finding new ways to lift reading achievement levels across the state,” Hlebowitsh said. “And what could be more important than learning how to read, when reading is, in fact, the gateway skill for wider school success?”
The Culverhouse College of Business will also see the effect of the Fayards’ generosity, particularly for its first-generation students. Gary said his involvement with the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars Program in his role as the chief financial officer and executive vice-president of Coca-Cola is what initially introduced him to many first-generation students.
“Once a year, I attended a luncheon that the University would host for those scholars,” Gary said. “It was the best experience I had the entire year. You see these kids who have phenomenal achievements throughout high school, but most of them would not be able to attend college without some kind of scholarship.”
“So many potential first-generation students and their families view the college experience as inaccessible due to financial constraints,” said Dr. Kay Palan, dean of the Culverhouse College of Business. “The Fayards understand that and have made a substantive investment to effect change and level the playing field.”
For the Fayards, their gifts are not only an investment in people and students, but also a lasting investment in The University of Alabama.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.