Early in his law career, Hugh Culverhouse Jr. faced a choice.
Stay with a job providing remarkable experience or opt for
one with a higher salary but less responsibility. He selected the
former, the option that best honed his skill-set, a move from
which he has benefited, he said with hindsight, for more than
“I would have never had that choice if I had had student
loans,” Culverhouse said.
Eyeing an opportunity to provide options to University of
Alabama students, Culverhouse, 65, and his wife, Eliza, have
donated $2 million to The University of Alabama for scholarships
to defray student debt. UA announced the establishment of the
Eliza and Hugh F. Culverhouse Student Assistance Scholarship
with the couple’s $1 million donation in August 2013, and then
came an additional $1 million donation in early 2014.
Six students in UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce
were selected last fall as the 2013–14 Culverhouse scholars,
and additional scholarships will be made available, also in
perpetuity, with the addition of the latest million-dollar gift.
The UA business college is named for Culverhouse’s late father,
Hugh Culverhouse Sr., a UA alumnus (BA ’ 41, JD ’ 47).
The son said although he takes a different approach to
giving than did his dad, who, along with his widow, Joy McCann
Culverhouse, was also a generous benefactor to UA, he learned
about both the responsibility and the personal gratification
from philanthropy by observing his dad.
He said he hopes the gifts he and Eliza have made
“I’m trying to get other people to realize that having their
names on a building and bringing in an endowed professor
impacts the kids in a different way than does providing direct
“I know a lot of parents’ only options — especially after this
recession — are student loans for their kids. We are doing this
to help. It’s a good feeling.
“If you can’t give $50,000, lower it,” Culverhouse said.
“Maybe you can give $500. There is nothing too small. Every
Jennifer Park, a UA senior majoring in accounting from
Auburn, Alabama, and one of the Culverhouse scholars, said
the scholarship positively impacted her daily life.
“This year has been the most rewarding year possible, and I
think it all started with Mr. and Mrs. Culverhouse’s generosity,”
said Park of her senior year. “I had three (part-time) jobs at the
same time while I was a full-time student,” she said. “I went
down to two jobs. I could definitely focus a lot more on school,
which is so nice.”
Park said the scholarship also provided her with the gift of
time, enabling her to pursue an optional internship experience
during the spring 2014 semester in Warren Averett’s
Birmingham office. Without the scholarship, she said she
would have felt pressured to pack in enough credits to graduate
the previous December, rather than obtain the experience
made possible from the internship with the accounting, tax and
“I love the internship,” she said. On track to graduate in May
2014, she is planning to pursue a master’s in accounting and
apply for a certified public accountant license, she said.
Randi Arrington, a native of Silas, Alabama, in Choctaw
County, remembered when she received the phone call telling
her of her scholarship selection following her application
“I was really excited … beyond words,” said Arrington, a
senior double majoring in finance and accounting. “When your
name gets drawn out of 30,000 kids,” she said with modesty,
“it was a big shock. I am so thankful. It was such a big help.”
She said she met Eliza Culverhouse during the scholarship
interview process and attended a luncheon along with the other
recipients, Hugh Culverhouse and UA guests during the fall.
Arrington said one of her goals is to eventually return the
favor to a future student.
“That is what I want to do one day,” she said.
GIVES STUDENTS OPPORTUNITY
BY CHRIS BRYANT