The University of Alabama lost, but the University of Alabama System gained today when it was announced that UA President Dr. Robert E. Witt would become chancellor of the University of Alabama System.
Dr. Witt improved the University of Alabama; he revitalized academics and athletics. He was a strong administrator at a time when Alabama needed it most.
UA will miss this leadership.
In a released statement, Dr. Witt praised his interim replacement Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Judy Bonner.
“Judy Bonner is the senior administrator I have worked with most closely during my nine years as president of UA. She has been by my side as we have framed the vision for our future and as we have executed the strategic plan that has turned that vision into a reality,” Witt said.
No doubt Bonner is a solid choice to handle the interim responsibility.
However, few could truly replace Dr. Witt. It was through his strong leadership that Alabama entered a time of success in the classroom. Also, he made one of the best decisions in a true test of leadership when he terminated Mike Price.
Dr. Witt is a leader. He makes tough choices. His elevation to the position of chancellor sends a clear message—Woe to the deadwood of the University of Alabama System.
Everyone is looking at you UAB.
Your absent president and your wasteful athletic spending should be among the first changes made by the system’s leadership.
Taxpayers throughout the state and graduates of the UA System expect real value for the investments made. UAB’s football program is an example of extravagant waste that should be eliminated for the sake of fiscal sanity. The way to end that program is to find UAB a new president willing to focus on academics instead of a sideshow.
If anyone has the strength to make this difficult decision, then Dr. Witt would be the choice. Of course, there are several other important reforms needed in the UA System, but finding UAB a real leader like Dr. Witt would be a great start.
UA System stakeholders and Alabama taxpayers should rejoice that Dr. Witt is now at the helm of the entire system. Hopefully, his influence will spread reform over all three campuses.