We Are UA Ambassador Knows Firsthand the Difference Giving Makes

  • March 30th, 2022

Before Dr. Steven Yates was a University of Alabama faculty member and alumnus, before he earned multiple degrees here, UA was already an influence on his life. The Tuscaloosa native said, “The University brought the world to my hometown.”

Steven Yates
Steven Yates is the faculty ambassador for this year’s We Are UA giving campaign.

Early in his career, becoming part of the great things happening at UA was his goal, but prior to that came another goal: being the first generation of his family to go to college. As a UA first-generation student, Yates recalled, he was the recipient of great support from scholarships, programs, and the commitment of faculty and staff.

Now Yates is an assistant professor and program coordinator in the School of Library and Information Studies, and past president of the American Association of School Librarians. He is also this year’s We Are UA faculty ambassador.

“My giving is influenced by the blessings I received as a student, and I want other students to have those same opportunities,” Yates said. “While I am not able to give in large sums, I believe every little bit helps and try to support the projects and causes I care about across campus.”

“I want this place to be available for those who come after.”

He loves many things about UA, from the museums he calls “cultural gifts” to a variety of sports (“I’m always excited for the next championship”) but it’s what UA means to students that is at the heart of his life here. From the older student who came to start a new career and quickly soared to the student who persevered through many life struggles to finish a degree, whenever faculty and staff work together to ensure a student’s success, he remembers it.

“There’s an agreement that we’re all working together to make sure higher education is an option, and to create this learning environment to ensure success,” he said. That learning environment contains evolving opportunities to match the needs of different students, for each student is unique, and no cookie-cutter approach will do. At UA, Yates said, the way faculty and staff support students makes this a uniquely special place to work and live. Add to that the year-round cultural opportunities, the dynamic sports, the unrivaled beauty of campus — the result is like no other.

“To have this environment and space is so important to those of us who are here full time, but also our alumni and we want future students to experience it. It takes all of us giving.

“I want this place to be available for those who come after.”

To learn more about the We Are UA giving campaign and to support a unique giving opportunity of your choice, visit weareua.ua.edu.

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.