I am thankful for the University of Montevallo

Published 10:44 am Wednesday, November 27, 2013

By DEANNA SMITH / Guest Columnist

Each fall, the University of Montevallo anxiously awaits the arrival of new freshmen sons and daughters to climb the trees and walk her brick streets. In the fall of 1995, I was among those freshmen and for this I am truly thankful. Montevallo gave me a new sense of home and security when leaving behind my small town and tight-knit family. My parents met Bubba Sanders, a campus police officer, and they asked him to keep an eye on their little girl. And that is exactly what he did and still does today. He drops by Calkins Hall when I work late to check on me. When my father passed away a year ago, Bubba honored him by leading the recessional. I am thankful that Montevallo embraces employees who take the time to build these types of relationships.

The high-quality education I received at Montevallo led me to an amazing career in accounting. It is because of dedicated faculty that I was prepared for the real world. Montevallo broadened my horizons outside the classroom too. I, a small-town girl, took my first flight on a departmental trip to Canada and had a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a birthday party in Paris, hosted by my professors.

I am thankful that Montevallo not only gave me lifelong friends from my college years, but also continued to gift me with new Montevallo relationships after college. For years, I’ve admired women, like Mary Lou Williams, who celebrate the legacy of Montevallo. Before she was a hometown hero, she was a hero to many recently graduated women starting careers and hoping to show the same Southern grace she does every day.

After graduation, I was thankful to take the Montevallo values with me into my career. Treating others with respect and being a good corporate citizen led me far. However, it wasn’t until I was invited back inside the gates to work here that I truly understood how much I owe to the University. Working with a visionary president has led me to see a brighter future for Montevallo than this bean counter could have imagined. I work with colleagues who are the best in the industry hands down, faculty that make magic in the classroom, and staff that will save the day when students have a need.

I am thankful for the University of Montevallo because she has never stopped giving to me. If you haven’t experienced Montevallo, yours is a life that could be changed. Just ask me!

DeAnna Smith is the Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer at the University of Montevallo.