Dr. John W. Stewart III is the 15th president of the University of Montevallo. 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 University has increased first-year student applications by 44% resulting in a 17% 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 resulting in an A+ rating in 2016.
During his tenure as president, Stewart has emphasized strengthening the core mission of the University by focusing on the development of new academic programs and promoting increased opportunities for interdisciplinary studies. This focus has included faculty support and the completion of a faculty salary study resulting in over $1 million in faculty raises over the last two years. Through the establishment of the President’s Faculty Travel Fund, Stewart has also shown dedication to increasing faculty development funds.
Stewart is actively engaged in both the public and private sectors and has been widely recognized for his service to the State of Alabama. He was recently recognized by the Birmingham Business Alliance as a CEO of the Year Finalist and in 2015, he received the Vulcans Community Award for Outstanding New Leadership, which recognizes an individual whose leadership and service significantly impacted the Birmingham area within five years of arrival. Stewart is on the Board of Directors for numerous organizations including the Dauphin Island Oceanographic Institute, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. He was also a featured speaker at the 2016 Southern University Conference and serves as the Chair for the Council of State University Presidents in Alabama.
Stewart’s personal interests include remaining active in the classroom teaching undergraduate courses focused on Post-Colonial Literature and African-American Literature. He enjoys saltwater fishing and is a member of the Billfish Foundation. His passion for the outdoors can be seen in his planning and implementation of the University of Montevallo President’s Outdoor Scholar’s Program which was created for students interested in outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing with a focus on conservation and game management.
Prior to his selection as president at the University of Montevallo, Stewart served as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. During his time at Flagler College, Stewart secured the largest gift in the history of the institution, increased total fundraising by more than $20 million in his first two years, and tripled the President’s Society Donors ($1,000 or more).
Stewart’s Ph.D. in English, from The University of Southern Mississippi, focuses on African and Caribbean literature, the Harlem Renaissance and Post-Colonial Theory. He earned his M.A. in English from Washington College in Chesterfield, Maryland, and his B.A. in history from Wake Forrest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.