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Peaceful, easy feeling: UWA trustees all smiles, all positive at Monday meeting

LIVINGSTON — The University of West Alabama’s first Board of Trustees meeting of the New Year was held Monday at the Bell Conference Center.

The meeting marked the first time in more than a year that trustee Dr. Thomas Umphrey and chairman Preston “Mann” Minus have been in the same room let alone at the same table.

Minus was seated at the head table while Umphrey was seated at the end table.

More than 100 people attended the meeting, including various members of the local county government and Gov. Bob Riley. The conference center was abuzz with the excitement of the governor’s arrival.

UWA President Dr. Richard Holland walked around the room shaking hands. “I can’t remember the last time we met like this. I’m very excited about having the board together again,” he said.

The governor was a little late, so Holland started the meeting without him.

Holland introduced the three newest board members, John Northcutt, Thomas Ballow and Margaret Lovett. After the introductions Minus called roll. There were 13 board members present.

Minus stopped the meeting and called for a 10-minute recess while everyone waited for the governor to arrive. Riley walked into the building and pulled Minus into a separate room to have a quick chat.

Riley then took a seat at the center of the 15-seat table.

“I have one mission and one mission only: to bring this family back together for the good of the university,” Riley said.

Riley turned the meeting over to Holland so he could discuss his 25-page president’s report. Holland said this semester has been one of the school’s best.

Holland said the Nursing Department had a 100 percent pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam, noting that only three of the 34 programs in the state achieved this. He also talked about tuition increases.

“Our goal is to have 3,000 students on this campus next year,” Holland said.

He discussed many other topics including academic affairs, grants for 2003-2004, enrollment report, student affairs, athletic report, institutional advancement, and the Regional Center for Community and Economic Development.

After Holland finished his report he turned the meeting back over to Riley, so he could announce the members of the Nominating Committee. Holland did not mention the building of the new Higher Education Center in Demopolis during his report.

Riley asked Holland how the SACCS probation was coming. Holland said the university feels good about its current status.

“By September, when the final report is due, we should have no problems with SACCS,” Holland said.

Riley said these members would play a key role in the June selection of the new chairman for the board.

“The members who will make up this committee are Dr. Louise Nolen, Thomas Ballow and Margaret Lovett,” Riley said.

After Riley finished announcing the committee, he called for the meeting to adjourn.

After the meeting was over Umphrey walked over to Minus and shook his hand. Minus said that the media has gotten the story wrong.

“Thomas and I are good friends, we just won’t ever agree with each other,” Minus said.