Hugines Reflect on Ten Years of Service
Hugines Reflect on Ten Years of Service
Ten years ago, on July 16, 2009, President Andrew Hugine, Jr., and First Lady Abbiegail Hugine began their first day on The Hill. Faced with many challenges over the years, yet reflective of some hard-won successes along the way, The Hugines looked back at their first decade and shared their gratitude and accomplishments with the AAMU Family in the letter below:
Dear AAMU Family and Supporters:
On this date ten years ago, First Lady Abbiegail Hugine and I began our official tenure at Alabama A&M University. First, we thank the Almighty for providing us the opportunity to serve this great university and for His blessings and favor during the years. We are appreciative to the Board of Trustees in 2009 for having the confidence in us to lead this university and to the Board of Trustees during the intervening years who continued their trust and support of us.
We began this incredible journey in the aftermath of the worst recession in the history of our nation. The recession created what seemed at the time insurmountable challenges including, but not limited to, financial stability; student enrollment; deferred maintenance and the need for facilities and capital improvements; grounds maintenance and improvement; lack of human capital investments; and an erosion of support, confidence and advocacy. But as Napoleon Hill says, “Every adversity contains, at the same time, a seed of equivalent opportunity.” As we reflect on the tremendous progress and achievements made during the past decade, those challenges did indeed provide for us seeds of opportunities. During the celebration of our ten years of service sponsored by the Board of Trustees, the word “transformative” was used to describe these phenomenal changes.
Today, the university’s enrollment has increased for each of the past six years. Financial indicators, such as the fiscal year closing cash balance and the debt coverage ratio which exceeds the recommended norm, support the conclusion that the University is in a strong financial position. Additionally, private fundraising has increased significantly, the alumni giving rate exceeds the national norm for like institutions, and the first-ever capital campaign was successful.
Deferred maintenance is being addressed. Over $44 million dollars have been expended during the period. Capital improvements have included the construction of a new student residence hall, and structures receiving investment upgrades of more than a million dollars include Carter Hall, Councill Hall, Thigpen Hall, McCalep Hall, Normal Hills, Frank Lewis Gymnasium, Stephens Hall, and the Louis Crews Physical Education Complex.
Campus buildings and beautification enhancements are visibly apparent at first sight.
First Lady Abbiegail Hugine and the dedicated cadre of members of the Bulldog Pride
Committee must be given most of the credit for the improvements. Working voluntarily
with Aramark, the university’s grounds exhibit the description which is often and
aptly noted “the beautiful campus of Alabama A&M University.” Of particular note are
the development of the Legacy Lake—with a beautiful walking trail surrounding the
lake to honor the First Ladies of the University—and The Quad. The latter now serves
as a central venue for many student activities and the Normalite Walkway provides
a way for all loyal supporters of the university to enshrine their names in the legacy
of the University.
The accomplishments above notwithstanding, investments have been made to enhance the human capital of the University—our faculty and staff. A more detailed listing of accomplishments may be found on the attached document entitled “The Top 10 Significant Accomplishments During the Past Decade (2009 – 2019).”
While all of the above are noteworthy, perhaps the greatest transformation that occurred during the period, was the transformative power of education in the lives of our students. We are proud of the 6,819 degrees that were granted during this period in our more than 60 cutting edge degree majors. We are confident that these students have demonstrated and will continue to demonstrate that with a degree from Alabama A&M University you can indeed “Start Here and Go Anywhere.”
So how did we achieve these successes during the past ten years? Alfred North Whitehead provides the answer: “No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” We express our gratitude to each of you for being an integral part of Team A&M; for your Effort during this time; and for Never wavering in your commitment to ensuring the success of Alabama A&M University. We thank you for TEN wonderful years and we know that as we continue to work together, with the same level of commitment and dedication of the past, the best years for Alabama A&M University are still ahead of her.
God Bless each of you and God Bless Alabama A&M University.
Andrew Hugine, Jr., Ph.D., President
Abbiegail H. Hugine, Ed.S., First Lady