Governor appoints new board members

Two local businessmen will be replacing members of UNA’s board of trustees who have ended their 12-year term.

Joel Anderson and Marty Abroms will be replacing departing members Billy Don Anderson and Ronnie Flippo, whose terms expire this month, after being nominated for the positions by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley earlier this year.

“We’ve got some awfully good people going off and some awfully good people coming on board,” said Steve Pierce, 2010-2012 president pro tem of the UNA board of trustees.

Pierce, who also ended his term this month but was nominated for another one by the governor, said he is excited to see both Anderson and Abroms brought to the board.

“The biggest challenge is the lack of funding from the state,” Pierce said about what the new board members will face as soon as they join. “The biggest issues are all going to deal with funding, getting money for the university to operate in the capacity that it does. The funding is just not there like it once was.”

Abroms, president of Abroms and Associates and a certified public account, said one of his main focuses is to help UNA manage how they spend what funding is available and bring in as much funding from private sources as possible.

“I have learned in my profession that one does not have to be the most to be the best,” Abroms said. “I think our state will still have education funding issues until we have an ecomonic recovery. There has to be a bigger focus on raising more scholarship dollars that we used to get from the state years back.”

Along with funding the university, Abroms said another main focus he has is updating the facilities on campus, especially replacing Floyd Science Hall with the planned new science building.

“The one building I’m not real proud of is our current science building,” Abroms said. “While it is functioning, it’s not functioning to the level it should to be having good state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities.”

Billy Don Anderson, who has served 33 years on the board of trustees, said the board has made progress updating the university, and the new members of the board will be able to see the completion of buildings and facilities, including the new science building, which he said are long overdue.

“The ideas are newer, fresh approaches to student life that didn’t exist a few years ago,” Anderson said. “I’m proud of the fact that we’ve been able to keep up, put those in place and make sure there’s a campus that provides everything to you, no matter the size of the university.”

Another main focus Abroms said he is bringing with him is expanding UNA’s nursing program.

“It seems like somewhat a no-brainer to me that we should provide the resources to expand that program,” Abroms said. “There are a lot of qualified applicants that are not accepted to the program not because they are not qualified, but because there’s not enough space.

“A good nursing student is generally going to have a job somewhere. With the health care situation in the Shoals, we’re hoping to have more need here and throughout the country. Really, our country is going to need more of those medical professionals.”

Joel Anderson, chairman of the board for Anderson Media, said that at the moment he’s still in the process of learning about the university, but he does have a couple of core goals.

“I do know two things that are most important to me,” Joel Anderson said. “One, that UNA continues offering a good, quality education. I want do everything I can to maintain.

“And the other thing, from my businessman background, I want to see UNA grow. I want to see it be able to offer more opportunities to students and the community.”

UNA has a solid foundation to build on, Joel Anderson said, but there’s still a major problem that UNA as a university has that hinders its growth.

“One thing does concern me about UNA, and that’s UNA sits on a very landlocked campus,” Joel Anderson said. “We need to achieve growth, and how are we going to do that? You’ve got to think about how you are going to expand. I don’t have any answer right now, but it’s right on the top of my mind.”

No matter how UNA grows, Anderson said he thinks the university will continue to provide for the students, and he is proud to be a part of it.

“I feel thoroughly honored to serve on the board for 33 years,” Billy Don Anderson said. “It’s cliché to say this, but when you have such a close association to a university, you are for everything they stand for, whether it’s fraternities or sororities, the football or basketball teams, or any of the education fields.”

While Pierce said both Abroms and Joel Anderson are bringing something new to the board with their experiences, he said both Billy Don Anderson and Flippo have brought change to the university.

“I think they both deserve a tremendous pat on the back,” Pierce said. “I don’t want them to just go off into the sunset, because I don’t think people realize how much their vision has helped shape the university.

“It’s a tremendous honor to serve with these guys, these guys I saw growing up helping the community, and then have the opportunity to work with them on the board. I think a lot of the great things that will help to the university in the future are because of what they have done for the university.”

Trusttes –

Richard Cater

Lisa Ceci

John Cole

Rodney Howard

Libby Jordan

Steve Pierce

Harvey Robbins

Marty Abroms

Joel Anderson