UA System Board of Trustees names freshman hall for John England, Jr.
The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees bestowed a high honor on one of its own Friday.
The board voted unanimously to name the newest freshman residence hall at the University of Alabama after trustee John England, Jr.
The board’s passage of a resolution to name the building included several emotional speeches from trustees during which members celebrated England’s service.
Joe Espy set the events in motion for the board, calling England “a dedicated public servant” and “an individual who has made many contributions to our system, our institutions, our state and our local communities.”
Board member Vanessa Leonard first met England while she was a law student.
Leonard recalled England serving on a panel helping to provide advice to law students. Now she was in her sixteenth year serving alongside him on the board.
Of England, she said that he “continually gives of his time, energy and wisdom.”
Interim Chancellor Fess St. John said, “The board has passed a lot of resolutions, but this might be my favorite.”
University of Alabama President Stuart Bell called the naming “a well-deserved tribute.”
Board President Pro Tem Ronald Gray called England’s impact on the state and the system “profound.”
Trustee Emeritus John McMahon spoke reverently of his friend and former colleague.
“When I think of Judge England, I don’t have the words to express what John has meant to the board of trustees, to the University of Alabama, to UAB, to UAH,” he said. “He was the heart and soul of the board of trustees while I served.”
McMahon called the new John England Jr. Hall a “permanent testament to what John has meant to the university and everyone in this room.”
An equally appreciative and stunned England called the honor “a complete, total surprise.”
“I’m at a loss for words,” he said.
In addition to his time on the board, England has served on the Alabama Supreme Court, as a circuit judge and on the Tuscaloosa city council.
He is a recipient of the Most Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Alabama School of Law.
Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.