Tucker highlights initiatives impacting community

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, October 19, 2016

University of West Alabama President Dr. Ken Tucker speaks Thursday about the university and its programs during an event at the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce.

University of West Alabama President Dr. Ken Tucker speaks Thursday about the university and its programs during an event at the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce.

University of West Alabama President Ken Tucker made a visit to the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday, Oct. 13, to inform members of the Chamber as well as city officials about current offerings and future opportunities offered by the area university.

“I just wanted to share information about our economic workforce development efforts, because we all partner and collaborate together to try to increase the standard of living and quality of life for all of West Alabama and the Blackbelt Region,” said Tucker. “My goal is just to highlight some of the unique projects and initiatives we’re undertaking that might resonate with the community and allow people to see how we are trying to positively impact economic development.”

The native of Linden highlighted some of those contributions such as the creation of the Division of Economic Outreach and hiring a Director of Economic Development to work directly with county commissions, city councils, mayors, industrial development boards and economic development authorities.

Tucker wants these agencies to work together to recruit new businesses in the area and also help existing industries to expand.

The new division and director also acts a facilitative role to help the area manage constrained resources.

“We have to work together to collaborate and meet our mutual goals and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Tucker. “We want to be a leader and help facilitate in those areas, doing things like economic impact analyses, feasibility studies and market analysis. Anything and everything that will help our partners achieve their goals, we want to collaborate and help that.”

Also during the event, Annual Giving Coordinator Skeeter Sellers was on hand to introduce the group to “The 1835 Club,” which is a program designed for groups of donors and alumni to give back to UWA to help students through scholarship money at the price of $18.35. Donated money is tax deductible.

“The primary goal is scholarships, but what we’re trying to do is help our students, both current and future, offset some of the debt that they’re facing as college students,” said Sellers.

A former scholarship football player, Sellers is a native of Enterprise and believes that other alumni will appreciate the opportunity to help current and future students and will have personal benefits.

“What people don’t realize a lot is that when people think of a higher education institution, the government is going to give them the money,” said Sellers. “However, the price of college has increased exponentially in the past 20 years, but the amount of financial aid awarded hasn’t. What we’re trying to do is bridge the gap between financial aid and college so parents aren’t having to take private loans and second mortgages and the kids can have a chance at a quality education.”

To join the 1835 Club visit www.uwaalumni.com/pages/giving and for more info on the program contact Sellers at ssellers@uwa.edu or 205-652-3579.