During the celebration of the University of Montevallo’s 120th Founders’ Day, the University honored deserving UM staff, faculty members and alumni for their service.
This year’s Alumna Loyalty Award went to Mel Robinson of Cullman, Alabama. Robinson graduated from UM in 1952 with a degree in social work and used her education to advocate for a variety of causes, including child welfare, school social work, juvenile probation and adoptions.
According to those who nominated her, Robinson has remained a dedicated advocate for her alma mater.
Susan Vaughn, UM professor emeritus who taught social work classes for more than 30 years, called Robinson a “mentor, friend and an example of how a person can, with humility, humor and dedication, make a difference in so many lives.”
Vaughn recalled when she first met Robinson in 1993 when the alumna was first appointed to the College of Arts & Sciences Board of Visitors.
“At the end of our meeting, Mel asked me what the Social Work Program needed. Little did I know that from that point until current day, Mel would give both her treasure and time to improving the quality of the educational experience at Montevallo,” said Vaughn.
Robinson donated and fund-raised to help outfit social work students with valuable technology, digital media and library holdings they otherwise would not have had access to.
Robinson also helped establish two scholarships for social work majors, the Jeanette Niven Scholarship and the Anna and Harrison Blair Foundation Scholarship in Social Work. These academic awards brought more than $50,000 to the Social Work Program’s foundation and scholarship account.
It’s this consistent concern for others that earned Robinson an award for loyalty.
“She exemplifies the values of the social work profession in her warmth and concern for others, her generous spirit, pragmatic thinking and her dedication to advocating for those in need,” said Social Work Program Director Jason Newell.
UM’s National Alumni Association honored Robinson and others during the Founders’ Day Ceremony in Palmer Hall on Oct. 13. The winners were also honored guests at the Alumni Awards Dinner that evening.