Timothy Lupinacci ’88 is the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus Award, which is the UM National Alumni Association’s highest annual honor.
Lupinacci, a resident of Vestavia Hills, is a member of the University’s Board of Trustees and has practiced law in Birmingham for nearly three decades. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Baker Donelson law firm in Birmingham, where he primarily focuses on helping financial institutions solve complex issues related to health care defaults, bankruptcy and restructuring.
Throughout his career, Lupinacci has made a significant difference in UM students’ lives and in the community.
Lupinacci is an advocate for diversity and the advancement of women in the workplace, previously receiving Baker Donelson’s Susan E. Rich Award, given to a person “demonstrating an unflagging commitment to advancement of women at Baker Donelson and to women’s issues generally” and the firm’s Barry Ford Diversity Award, given to an attorney “who displays an ongoing commitment to strengthen the atmosphere of inclusion at Baker Donelson.” He currently serves on Baker Donelson’s Diversity Committee, set out the vision for the current Baker Donelson Diversity and Inclusion Compact to become an industry leader in diversity and inclusion by 2025, and previously served as co-chair of the firm’s Women’s Initiative Pathways to Leadership Committee.
Lupinacci and his wife, Ellen McElwee Lupinacci ’88, M.Ed. ‘89, are active UM alumni. They have donated both their time and financial resources to support student scholarships.
“We view this concept of ‘paying it forward’ as helping change our world, since the students who are able to attend Montevallo because of our small scholarship may well be the person who discovers the cure for cancer, facilitates peace in some corner of the world or helps end child trafficking across the globe,” he said. “It could also be a person who ends up working in rural Alabama, teaching children and challenging them to dream big dreams. A scholarship to worthy UM students is a small step to change the world that we live in.”
The Lupinacci family’s generosity has directly impacted student success at UM, and has inspired a generation of alumni to also strive to give back to the University.
“My education was made possible by individuals like Mr. Lupinacci,” said Abby Rivers ’16, the recipient of the Tim and Ellen Lupinacci Scholarship during her time as a UM student. “My scholarship enabled me to accomplish my dream of helping others as a social worker. As I serve members of the community every day, I will never forget people like Mr. Lupinacci and how his generosity has affected me. Hearing him talk about what the University of Montevallo means to him gave me an appreciation for him as an alum, scholarship donor and as a person. He inspires me to be a better alumna and to always strive to give back.”
Lupinacci has consistently been recognized as one of the top attorneys in the state and region during his career. He is a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy and has been listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers in Bankruptcy and Restructuring since 2009. He earned Best Lawyers’ 2015 Birmingham Bankruptcy Litigation Lawyer of the Year award, has been named to Birmingham Magazine’s Birmingham’s Top Attorneys list three times and has made the Mid-South Super Lawyers list every year since 2008, among numerous other professional accolades.