Friday, March 30, 2007


This fall will be an exciting time around our house. Chrissie will be attending her first semester at the University of North Alabama. I guess one might say UNA has been part of my family since 1968 when it had just transitioned from Florence State College to Florence State University.

It all started with Mom entering college as I entered first grade. She would get us ready for school in the morning and then begin her trek to Florence for classes. By the time I reached fifth grade Mom had received her first degree and was teaching at Barton. She went on to receive several degrees at UNA and finally an Educational Doctorate at The University of Alabama.

Everyone in our family has attended classes at UNA including my wife. I can still remember attending Kilby in the summer while Mother went to her college classes. She was always resourceful and found energy I will never know. After class we would find a shady spot, many times near the amphitheater, and eat our lunch. We had a green jug usually filled with cold sweet Southern tea or Kool-Aid, depending on our flavor of the day. I sat under the large shade trees and ate my red peppered ham sandwich.

As Mom continued her education at UNA I would often find myself around campus in many activities during her classes. I saved my change during the week and got an education that pays off as a stress reliever until today. On the first floor of the Student Union Building was a game room where I learned the fine art of pinball. In those days the machines still banged, pinged, and rang as electromechanical devices that lit wonder in a child’s eye. I can still remember the loud pop that signaled another free game and saved me another dime. I’m not sure if Mom knew where my change went, but I guess she does now.

Later in life UNA would become an important foundation for my future education as an engineer. I took several classes during the summers of my last two years in high school. I was fortunate to take some advanced math and various other offerings that would further my education and prepare me for engineering school at Auburn. I can remember one professor telling me too look out the window. He said the next time I look out that window the semester would be over and we would be taking finals. I am looking out that window forty years later with respect.

We all should be proud of having fine educational facilities like Northwest Shoals Community College and the University of North Alabama as part of our area. From here we have sent forth scholars, lawyers, doctors, teachers, actors, and many other important members of our society. I look forward to attending my own daughter’s walk across that stage upon her completion for the next step towards her professional career. And when I do there will be a refreshing memory of red peppered ham sandwiches, ice cold tea, and a cool breeze through the tall green trees.