UNA's Presidential Mentors Academy Officially Endowed at Ceremony
Aug. 26, 2021
FLORENCE, AL - In a ceremony Thursday afternoon on the University of North Alabama campus, the Presidential Mentors Academy was officially endowed after a gift to the program from Vice President for Advancement and interim Athletic Director Kevin Haslam and his wife, Kathy.
"The Presidential Mentors Academy is a critically important program at the University of North Alabama," Haslam said. "I knew from the moment (Director) LaShonda (Davidson) told me there were 20 students currently in the program; however, there were 10 times as many who applied and were qualified, but the resources did not exist to allow them in and that I would change that if ever given the opportunity to do so."
"What Will Your Influence Be...?," which will be the perpetual tagline for PMA, is a passion of Haslam's, and he said it conveyed the message of inspiration and aspiration that is an intrinsic part of the academy.
"Aspirationally to alumni, donors, and friends, it says ‘You know the need and the opportunity exists...What will your influence be," he said. "Inspirationally to the students in the program currently and in the future (it says) You are being given this gift. We are shouting from the mountaintops: We believe in you! What are you going to do with it? What will your influence be? All we want from you and for you is that you become all you were created to become.”
Haslam began his tenure at UNA in June of 2019; he said he and his family consider it a blessing to be part of the UNA family and to call Florence and the Shoals home for the past two years.
"It's so much bigger than the students in this program; it goes to my why, my purpose," Haslam said. "I believe to the depths of my soul that every life has value, meaning, and purpose. And I don't believe there should be any limits to people being able to pursue their purposes. I also truly believe that my gifts, abilities, and resources are to be used to serve others. PMA gives me the opportunity to bring those two together to serve students that would not normally have this opportunity. My hope for the students is that they will pursue all they were created to be."
The Presidential Mentors Academy is housed in the Guillot University Center and was established in 1997 with the University President’s Office to develop a scholarship, mentoring, and leadership development program for underrepresented minority high school graduates. At its inception, three students graduated from PMA. Today, more than 300 alumni have benefitted from the program.
PMA was co-founded by Dr. Ernestine Davis, a professor emeritus from the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. LaShonda Davidson is director of the program.
About The University of North Alabama
The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering credential, certificate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs in the colleges of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering; Business and Technology; Education and Human Sciences; and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. The first-choice University for more than 10,000 on-campus and online students, UNA is on a bucolic campus in Florence, Alabama, part of the historic and vibrant Shoals region. Lions Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/