Dr. Stuart R. Bell

Q&A with President Stuart R. Bell

UA News Center staff sat down with President Stuart R. Bell to talk about what he’s looking forward to this coming year.  

We’re at the end of another summer. What’s been keeping campus busy?  

Well, we had 29 construction projects on campus this summer. We have a remarkable facilities team who have worked hard to make sure those are completed by the first day of classes. Drummond Lyon Hall will open this fall for our fashion and design program. Projects like that and the road construction on University Boulevard are very visible to the community, but we also have renovations going on inside places like Alston Hall that will be big transformations for the community members using those spaces. 

What are you most excited about going into the new year? 

There’s nothing more exciting for me than welcoming new students and returning students in the fall. Seeing the students, parents and families coming into town, particularly the new students, is really exciting. It re-energizes us. We are expecting another record-setting incoming class this fall, too.  

Football season is right around the corner, too. 

It’s always a great time for our students and our fan base. And there are many sports starting up their seasons, or working hard to get ready for their seasons, and I love to see it. We’ve got about 600 student-athletes here and when you sit back and think about their academic excellence, it’s remarkable. I’m incredibly proud of our student-athletes. 

Speaking of academics, what are some academic initiatives to look for this year? 

Committees are continuing work on the new core curriculum to roll that out in fall 2025. It’s really going to strengthen the core program and ensure our core courses are relevant and allow students to select more of their options. So, that process will continue to be a priority project for the University. 

Research is booming at UA. Why is that important? 

Last year was the ninth consecutive year of growth in research awards, which were also at an all-time high last year. We expect that record growth to continue. Research is important because it’s new discovery. It’s new knowledge. And it has a local, statewide, national and global impact. And one thing we do really well is involve our students, both undergraduate and graduate, in that research. So they enter fields in their career with that kind of hands-on experience. I’m very proud of our faculty and students for their efforts in this area. 

You’re entering your ninth year as president. How does it feel? 

It feels like it was yesterday. As I look back on all we’ve accomplished over the years, it’s been tremendous. I believe we’ve never been stronger. We’ve never had a stronger freshman class. We’ve never had a stronger student body. We’ve never had a stronger faculty. My vision is rarely looking in the rearview mirror — my vehicle has a really big windshield, and I say let’s keep moving forward.