UM president named chairman of the Council of Presidents

University of Montevallo President John W. Stewart III was recently elected as the newest chairman to the Council of Presidents. (Contributed)

University of Montevallo President John W. Stewart III was recently elected as the newest chairman to the Council of Presidents. (Contributed)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MONTEVALLO—The Council of Presidents, a statutorily established group of two and four-year college presidents that serves in an advisory capacity to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, recently elected University of Montevallo President John W. Stewart III as the new chairman.

Stewart, who has been president of the University of Montevallo for six years, also serves on the Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Board and on CollegeCounts, which is the 529 college savings plan.

“It is an honor to be selected by my peers to fill this role,” said Stewart. “I feel very fortunate to have them as colleagues. I look forward to their wise counsel, as we continue the great work of Dr. Witt in promoting public higher education within the state of Alabama. Higher education is more important to our state than ever, and we look forward to spreading the good news about our outstanding state universities in Alabama.”

Through his experience as a faculty member in English, his work in private industry and his numerous senior leadership roles in university development and advancement, he has acquired a deep and broad understanding of the challenges of leading a university in today’s economic and political climate.

As president of the University of Montevallo, Stewart has been successful in raising the national profile of UM by improving the University’s marketing, advancement and enrollment operations.

Under Stewart’s leadership, the UM has increased first-year student applications by 44 percent resulting in a 17 percent increase in the number of students living on-campus. He was also instrumental in securing the first $1 million gift in the University’s history and in investing $26 million into campus capital projects and deferred maintenance. Stewart’s focus on the financial health of the institution has resulted in Standard and Poor’s Ratings Service upgrading the University’s bond rating multiple times during his presidency and ultimately produced an A+ rating in 2016.