January 24, 2018

University of Montevallo receives largest donation to date

The University of Montevallo is pleased to announce a $3.6 million gift bequeathed by Michael E. Stephens, namesake of the Stephens College of Business. This legacy gift, which is the largest gift received in UM’s history, is designated toward construction of a new facility for the Stephens College of Business.

“Michael Stephens has made yet another transformative impact on the school that bears his name. Mike and I spent countless hours over the last decade discussing his dream of a new home for the Michael E. Stephens College of Business. Every time we met, Mike spoke at length about the Stephens College faculty and students – their happiness and well-being were always on his mind and in his heart. I am very pleased that we will see Mike’s vision of a new home for the Stephens College of Business realized,” said Dean Stephen Craft.

The University will utilize diligence in the planning of the future facility. “We are deeply grateful for Mike and Allison Stephens’ generous spirit and thoughtfulness, and look forward to honoring their gift through our service to Montevallo students. We will take time, as a campus community, to consider how a new building will best serve our College of Business students and the entire campus. We will be seeking input from the College of Business, the Board of Trustees, other campus constituents, and Mrs. Stephens in the coming weeks and months concerning this transformative gift,” said Dr. John W. Stewart III, president of the University of Montevallo.

Stephens earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Montevallo in 1973 after intense rehabilitation from a severe diving accident. The rehabilitation process changed the focus of his life, having a profound effect on his personal, professional, civic and philanthropic activities. He went on to become executive director of Lakeshore Hospital, founder and CEO of ReLife and visionary for the Lakeshore Foundation. His work transformed the lives of numerous individuals with disabilities.

Montevallo awarded Stephens with an honorary doctorate in May 1995 and named the College of Business in his honor in 1997. His impact on the community was abundant. As an alumnus, Stephens maintained contact with the University of Montevallo serving in a variety of advisory capacities.

“Mike’s ongoing support has enabled the Stephens College to sustain prestigious senior-level accreditation through AACSB International, build and maintain a world-class business faculty, grow dynamic undergraduate programs with high-impact learning and employment outcomes, and develop our evening MBA program for working professionals. I could not be prouder to be Dean of the Michael E. Stephens College of Business and we are enormously grateful that Mike has honored us with this gift,” said Craft.


The Stephens College of Business at the University of Montevallo offers undergraduate programs leading to majors in accounting, finance, management and marketing as well as minors in business, accounting, management information systems, economics, and nonprofit studies. The Stephens College graduate MBA (Masters of Business Administration) degree is an affordable evening program built for working professionals that can be completed in as little as one year. MBA classes meet in Pelham on weekday evenings and are simulcast allowing students to complete the degree partially or fully online. The Stephens College of Business at the University of Montevallo is the only state institution in the region to combine senior level accreditation in business from AACSB International with modest class sizes averaging 21 students. The Stephens College of Business was named a “College of Distinction” for 2017-2018.