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Vivian Malone Endowed Chair honors trailblazing Alabama A&M alum

HUNTSVILLE — As Alabama A&M prepares for its 150th anniversary next year, the university recently added to its history and legacy of education.

The university’s Board of Trustees approved the first endowed chair in the university’s history at its board meeting Friday.

The Vivian Malone Endowed Chair in Business Excellence in the College of Business honors the Alabama A&M alumna and trailblazer who was the first African American student to graduate from the University of Alabama.

Vivian Malone Jones graduated from Alabama in 1965 after earning a bachelor’s degree from Alabama A&M in 1962. She died in 2005 at the age of 63 after a stroke.

Vivian Malone registers for classes at the University of Alabama in June 1963. (Library of Congress/Facebook)

After a lengthy court battle, Malone and James Hood were admitted to the University of Alabama in 1963 while becoming the center of national debate over racial equality in higher education. The two students effectively brought a final end to segregation in higher education in the South.

Hood, though, left the university after two months but returned in 1995 to earn a doctorate.

Malone’s sister, Margie Tuckson, initiated the effort to establish the endowed chair and gifted the AAMU Foundation with $250,000 to pave the way. Both sisters were initiated into the Delta Delta chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. at Alabama A&M University.

During Friday’s meeting, AAMU President Dr. Daniel K. Wims gave an update on programs and projects on The Hill.

Wims said razing of the former Councill Training School to make way for future campus and Meridian Street corridor growth is underway while the selective reconstruction and building modeling of the Hillcrest building is finished.

“We’re looking at about a year and a half before the total project will be complete,” said Wims. “This will be a capstone project. Hillcrest will be a very beautiful facility for the university family and community.”

Wims also highlighted growing enrollment, heightened research activity, national excitement generated by the Marching Maroon and White’s performance in the 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and development gains as key wins for AAMU as the university sets the stage for the 150th anniversary celebration.

Board President Pro Tempore Dr. Roderick Watts shared the enthusiasm for Alabama A&M’s standing and direction.

“I’m pleased to see things going in the right direction at Alabama A&M with record enrollment, increasing fundraising, and international recognition fueled by the Marching Maroon & White at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade participation,” he said. “I’m happy with where the university is right now.”

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