Rep. Corley Ellis presented with UM’s President’s Award

Published 9:26 am Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – State Rep. Corley Ellis was presented with the University of Montevallo’s President’s Award in a surprise addition to a night focused on the university’s President’s Outdoor Scholars Program on Thursday, Aug. 17.

Ellis, a member of the Alabama State House of Representatives serving District 41, does not represent the district that contains the university. That being said, he does hold a long personal connection to it despite never having attended the college himself. Ironically, Ellis is the only member of his immediate family who has not attained degrees from the college, with both of Ellis’ sisters, his mother and his father all having graduated from the University of Montevallo.

He began the evening with the sole intention of making an appearance in support of the program and the university as a whole and had not been informed the award would be presented, nor that he would be the one receiving it. In that capacity, Ellis’ reception of the award came as a total surprise despite the fact that his wife and son were both in on it.

“I was floored,” Ellis said. “I was honored. I would (also) say humbled. It was a complete shock, I had no idea and my wife and my son kept a very good secret. I was very shocked and for it to be the President’s award, it’s just an amazing feeling to be recognized like that.”

Although Ellis did not see the award coming, those making the decision felt that it was an easy selection given Ellis’ long-standing support for the University of Montevallo, and the efforts being put forth there.

“We wanted to thank Rep. Ellis for all that he does in our community and we really wanted to recognize him, he has such a servant’s heart and is such a wonderful elected official,” said Dr. John Stewart, president of the University of Montevallo. “He is also someone who is devoted to the outdoors, he travels with his family and they hunt and fish. He appreciates what the program does and why we have it. We felt like it was a really meaningful way to honor his service to our community and to the outdoor scholars.”

According to Stewart, the surprise aspect of the recognition was orchestrated by Scott Dillard, who serves as the executive vice president of advancement, government relations and strategic initiatives at the university.

Ellis received the award with true humility and looks forward to serving the people of Shelby County in a manner that honors the award given to him.

“(I look forward to) continuing to find ways that help the people of Shelby County and bring projects and money back to Shelby County. To focus on bettering the entire state, I represent House District 41, but Alabama is my home and I want what is best for the entire state as well.”