Have you ever wondered what the President of a University does on a daily basis? Well, we have the inside scoop of typical day-in-the-life of University of Alabama President Dr. Stuart R. Bell. You may be wondering; does he wake up to a full pot of coffee like the rest of us? How many crimson ties does he have to choose from each morning? If it’s raining, does he still walk to his office from the President’s mansion or catch a ride?
In an exclusive interview between the University of Alabama President and Yellowhammer Multimedia, LLC, Bell expanded on a “normal” day in his role as 29th President of the institution. Currently in his 7th year of leading the University, Dr. Bell previously served the Capstone for 16 years as faculty member and then department head of mechanical engineering. Dr. Bell has also been welcomed by the SEC’s Executive Committee to become Vice President in 2023.
While you may expect a University President to show up at football games, enjoy living in the President’s Mansion and offer an encouraging speech at commencement once/year, Dr. Bell’s typical day on campus is fully focused on the well-being of staff, students, and stakeholders of the iconic University in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The early bird gets the worm is true for most but especially a high-level public figure like a President of the state’s largest University, stating his day “usually starts pretty early.” As you’d imagine, there is a lot to accomplish every single day to keep the operation running. This day in particular Dr. Bell had begun by welcoming new faculty at their orientation taking pride in “recruiting great faculty and making sure new faculty start off on a great path.”
Dr. Bell will also take time to accomplish the more tedious tasks required of the office of the President. “There are things that I have to do, things that I have to sign off on as the University representative.”
Don’t Lunch Alone
Dr. Bell expanded on taking “a few indulgences” throughout his day, like immersing himself in student life. He enjoys taking time to invite a group of new or current students out to lunch to hear about their experiences, where they came from, and what those students aspire to.
After working outside of the industry, Bell states, “The reason I came back to the University environment is because I am passionate, passionate about young people and their experiences on our campus. This campus invests so much into the recruiting and the success of our students that that’s a big part of my day.”
Take Advantage of Afternoons
In Dr. Bell’s role as Vice President of SEC, he will take time to help address issues for the athletic conference. Bell tells us, “We’ve got the greatest athletic conference in the U.S and it takes a lot of work to make that happen.”
Important to the University’s advancement is also its Strategic Plan that Dr. Bell and his faculty built from the ground up. He prioritizes his time maintaining the set expectation for the university “in terms of building scholastic and academic excellence in research, engagement with industry experts, and also all the things that make the university operate in the most positive and accomplished way that we can.”
Depend on Dinner
A key component to university success and resources for its students is, of course, its donations from stakeholders and alumni. “I spend a lot of my time on the capital campaign, interacting with our donors.” Whether at events or over dinner, if he’s not traveling, Dr. Bell tells us, “This is probably the thing I look forward to the most.” Connecting the pieces of alumni and current students is always exciting for Bell. Not only is the University doing incredible work, but it’s changing young people’s lives who eventually find purpose in being able to give back to a place near and dear to that life change.
Why might that be? Bell remarks, “It’s because we’ve got a great, great story to tell here at the University of Alabama.”