MONTGOMERY - Troy University Board of Trustees President pro-tem Gerald Dial was tonight honored by the Higher Education Partnership of Alabama with its 2017 Alumni Advocates' Leadership Award.
The award, presented by TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. and Partnership Executive Director Gordon Stone, recognizes Dial's commitment to public universities and a willingness to advocate on their behalf. It was made as part of the Partnership's annual Alumni Leaders' Advocacy Banquet on the eve of Higher Education Day.
"Sen. Gerald Dial is one of the best public servants that I have met throughout my life in Alabama," Dr. Hawkins said. "For 26 years he has served as a member of the Troy University Board of Trustees and he has served well. Leadership in its truest sense is about pulling people together and focusing them in a common direction. Sen. Dial is the essence of a servant leader and one of whom we can all be proud."
Dial, who represents Clay, Cleburne, Chambers, Cherokee, Randolph and Lee counties in the Alabama Senate, was appointed to the TROY Board of Trustees in 1991 by then-Gov. Guy Hunt. In the Senate, he chairs the committees on Health and Human Services and Local Legislation, and serves as a member on the committees on Finance and Taxation Education, Rules, Transportation and Energy, and Veterans and Military Affairs. He retired from the Alabama National Guard in 1997 with the rank of brigadier general and assistant adjutant general. He has served two terms in the state House of Representatives and was a teacher and coach at Lineville High School.
"Senator Gerald Dial has been a voice for the importance of public universities throughout his tenure in the Alabama Legislature. Leaders like Senator Dial, who take a stand for our students, faculty and staff are instrumental to our institutions' success," Stone said.
Receiving the award, Dial encouraged the alumni and university leaders gathered to continue to share, far and wide, the impact that higher education has on the state of Alabama and its residents.
"It is an honor to be here and to receive recognition from a group that truly has changed, in many ways, the way we see ourselves in higher education within this state and how we move higher education forward," Dial said. "I want to encourage you to continue to do what you do, and each of you to continue to be cheerleaders for higher education. You continue to provide hope to every kid out there; hope that they have an opportunity to get that college degree. If we ever do away with that hope, then we take away any opportunity for the children of our state to look forward, to become a better citizen and to improve their quality of life."
On Thursday, the Partnership will bring students, faculty, staff and leadership of the organization's 14 partner institutions to the State House to rally support for higher education issues in the Alabama Legislature, chief among them the need to improve appropriations to the state's universities.