Willow Point Country Club was filled with the cheer of “Roll Tide” as University of Alabama president Dr. Stuart Bell spoke at the annual Lake Martin Bama Club meeting Wednesday night.
Bell spoke about a variety of things the university has done recently and its student population. The university just graduated 1,600 students at its August commencement.
“The best and brightest kids from the nation and the state come to the University of Alabama,” Bell said. “We report as a state, they have all these young people. We were just talking at my table about our greatest resource in this country is the intellectual property in our young people.”
About 30% of out-of-state graduates stay in the state after commencement, according to Bell.
Bell said this is the second year in a row in-state tuition has remained flat and local Alabama clubs help support and recruit students.
“You support them through your scholarships — and I think there are two or three here tonight — that allows them to be involved in research,” Bell said. “It allows them to be involved in classes in a way that they could not be involved in otherwise. You help them in making University of Alabama a better school even today, but our students will continue to grow academically, professionally with the support of you, our staff and our faculty.”
Bell told the audience he recently returned from Greenland where University of Alabama researchers took part in using an ice-penetrating radar. The college represented one of 10 countries working with the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
“We went over with a group of researchers,” Bell said. “We have faculty who developed radar that can look 2 miles through ice through the glacier to the bedrock and everywhere in between.”
Bell also updated the club on new campus projects including adding an addition to the nursing program’s building and creating a $60 million business school building. The university is also building an overpass over the train tracks on Second Avenue.
“It’s exciting to see these facilities that are going up that are serving the students that you are supporting out of this club,” Bell said.
Bell hopes to see the club members in the football stands and on the campus this year.
“University of Alabama is in a great place,” Bell said. “Almost every measure that we could look at, and I know you all see that from the outside, but I just want to let you all know we are becoming the university because of grassroots efforts that occur all over this country right here at Lake Martin. This Bama Club providing the resources for students, helping us recruit those great students and supporting those great students.”
Former quarterback Tyler Watts also spoke at the event.
About 140 people attended the event.