During this year’s Homecoming celebration, the UM National Alumni Association honored alumni for their outstanding contributions to the greater education community. The honorees received their awards in front of a full house in Anna Irvin Dining Hall during the Feb. 8 Recognition Luncheon. Dr. Michael E. “Mike” Malone ’69 received the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Malone was the quintessential liberal arts student, studying history, English, political science and philosophy. His favorite courses were physics and geology. He has left a lengthy and distinguished legacy of service in the field of education.
Malone began his teaching career in 1969 in Ragland, Alabama, where he served as a high school English and social studies teacher and a coach. From there, he went on to serve in various leadership roles at Jefferson State Community College, The University of Alabama, Old Dominion University, Western Carolina University and Troy University-Dothan. When he retired, he was teaching and consulting on new program development at Jacksonville State University.
In 2002, Malone was named executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, where he was responsible for overseeing the 12-member statewide board tasked with providing access to quality collegiate and university education for Alabama residents.
Under Malone’s leadership at ACHE, the state’s unified budget recommendation was passed for the first time with the support of a united higher education community. His leadership gained national attention, leading to his appointment to The College Board’s Board of Trustees as well as evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Malone has served several years on the University of Montevallo Foundation Board and on the UM National Alumni Association Board, proudly serving as its president from 2012-2014.
Malone has served many prominent education organizations over the years, including the Southern Regional College Board, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, Alabama Task Force to Improve Teacher/School Leadership Preparation, Governor’s Congress on School Leadership, Governor’s Commission on Teacher Quality, Alabama Higher Education Partnership Board of Directors and The University of Alabama College Board of Education Advisors.
Malone remains a proud member of the ATOs and its predecessor at Montevallo, the Sigmas.
As a student at UM, Malone was involved in College Night Gold Side leadership in 1968 and 1969. He was also elected to the Student Honor Court and served as chief justice for two years. He was inducted into Delta Theta Pi leadership honorary and Eta Sigma Pi liberal arts honorary. He chaired the Interfraternity Council and was listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
One of his proudest moments on campus came when he and his teammates were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013 as members of the 1966 Falcons tennis team, which notched a win over Auburn and finished the season undefeated. He went on to play on another undefeated tennis team in 1969, which was the first team at UM to play in the postseason in the NAIA national tournament.
Malone was presented the Leon G. Davis Award in 2000, which is awarded in recognition of a former student-athlete who has distinguished themselves through personal achievement and community service.
Malone resides in Tuscaloosa with his wife of more than 50 years, Janice Tarrant Malone ’68.