Montgomery’s Joe Espy rolls off University of Alabama System board of trustees
Espy, a world-class attorney based in Montgomery, has served on the prestigious board since 2000 representing Alabama’s Second Congressional District.
He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1969, earning a Bachelor’s Degree through the School of Commerce and Business Administration after serving as SGA president. Espy then graduated with a Juris Doctorate in 1972 from the University of Alabama School of Law.
The distinguished trial lawyer would go on to serve three terms as president pro tem of the UA System board of trustees. Espy has previously been named to Yellowhammer Multimedia’s annual list of the most powerful and influential Alabamians.
His departure from the UA System board is due to Espy no longer being eligible for another term because of the maximum age limit.
He is now a trustee emeritus, joining a list of legendary Alabamians who hold the same title.
Fellow trustees honored Espy at the conclusion of Thursday’s business with a formal resolution and a slew of glowing remarks.
Trustee Karen Brooks of the Seventh Congressional District moved to consider the resolution while holding up a small placard with Espy’s headshot on it. She also displayed a poster containing several Espy images in the background behind her, with the meeting being held virtually and live streamed.
Judge John England, Jr., also representing the Seventh Congressional District, was the first to speak.
“You know, I have to be careful,” England quipped. “You can’t say too many good things about lawyers.”
England continued to praise Espy as “a man of integrity” who “cares about this state, this [System] and the people in this state.”
“One of the things I’ve learned on this board is that it’s an honor to serve, but it’s an even greater honor to be able to serve with individuals like Joe Espy,” England commented. “And I mean that.”
Trustee Marietta Urquhart of the First Congressional District spoke next.
She lauded Espy’s record of “servant leadership,” calling him “an example to us all.”
Urquhart added that trustees moving forward will be using the litmus test of, “What would Joe Espy do?” when making tough decisions.
Next up was Brooks.
“I’ll tell you, you have been our quarterback,” she said to Espy.
“We are eternally grateful to you for being our friend and for being such a great leader,” Brooks remarked. “The legacy I hope you leave all of us is ‘put students first.’ Your passion for students is second to none.”
She outlined that she will be taking her Espy placard to every subsequent meeting to remind the board to “put the students first.”
“Matter of fact, I think I’ll give each trustee one,” Brooks stated.
Outgoing pro tem Ron Gray of the Fifth Congressional District concluded the remarks.
“Joe, this board, the University of Alabama System and the state of Alabama owes you a debt of gratitude for your 20 years of service on this board,” Gray said. “Thank you for your service and steadfast leadership.”
Following the unanimous passage of the resolution celebrating and honoring Espy’s exemplary service, the man himself delivered some brief remarks and humbly thanked his fellow trustees.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn