Capstone Awards

Capstone Awards

The Capstone Awards are five distinct awards associated with five outstanding individuals – E. Roger Sayers, Minnie C. Miles, Sam S. May, Vergil Parks McKinley, Sr., and Rickey Yanaura. Each served The University of Alabama in his or her own, unique way. Giving their all, they demonstrated every day that serving others is not only a privilege but a calling.

The Capstone Awards continue the legacies of these outstanding five by honoring individual employees, departments, or teams for their exemplary performance, winning spirit, exceptional customer service, and enterprising ways. A monetary award accompanies each award.



The E. Roger Sayers Distinguished Service Award was created in 1996 by members of the President's Cabinet and National Alumni Association to recognize faculty and exempt administrative staff who have performed in an exemplary manner to further the mission of the University. The award is named honoring Dr. E. Roger Sayers, president of The University of Alabama from 1988-1996.
  • The Department of Human Resources solicits nominations in the spring semester
  • Nominees must be faculty and/or exempt administrative personnel
  • Nomination deadline is March 10, 2024
  • Nominations must be submitted by a current UA employee
  • Nomination packets must include:
    • Online nomination submission form
    • Minimum of two letters in support of the nomination Note: Nomination packets may contain letters of recommendation and support from external constituents
  • The selection and review committee is comprised of representatives from the President's Cabinet, National Alumni Association, Faculty Senate, Office of the President, and Human Resources
  • This award is presented annually at the Spring Campus Assembly
  • A monetary award of $2800 accompanies this honor
E. Roger Sayers served as president of The University of Alabama from 1988 to 1996. Sayers began his more than three decades of service to The University of Alabama when he joined the faculty in 1963 as a biology professor. He then became director of the arboretum in 1964, and later moved up the administrative ranks to academic vice president in 1981, the post he held until moving into the interim role as president in 1988.The Board of Directors of the University of Alabama System named E. Roger Sayers as president of the University of Alabama in 1989 following demonstrated service excellence in the many administrative positions held during his tenure. Sayers insisted on quality research programs and economic development. He also emphasized the University's ties to K-12 education and its responsibilities for setting admission standards that challenge Alabama's youth.

During his tenure, he launched the $165 million “Campaign for Alabama" and was part of an effort to recruit Mercedes-Benz U.S. International to Tuscaloosa. He also raised admission standards, and the National Alumni Association almost doubled its membership during his tenure.

Additionally, Sayers was actively involved in civic affairs, having served as Chairman of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, Black Warrior Boy Scouts Council and Alabama Supercomputer Authority, to name just a few. Ever mindful that the University of Alabama's chief currency is credibility. Dr. Sayers continues to speak to the importance of educational responsibility. In the year of his retirement, 1996, E. Roger Sayers was named the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Minnie C. Miles Endowed Excellence Award which recognizes non-faculty and administrative employees for their service excellence in furthering the mission of the University.    

2024 Distinguished Honoree

Bob Pierce, Vice President for Advancement

Past Distinguished Recipients:

2023 - Liza Wilson

2022 - Donald Keith

2021 - Arleene Breaux

2020 - Kagendo Mutua

2019 - Laura Beth Brown

2018 - David P. Hale

2017 - Bennett L. Bearden

2016 - Samory T. Pruitt

2015 - Joe Benson

2014 - Marcia Hay-McCutcheon

2013 - George B. "Sandy" Gordon

2012 - Eugene M. Futato

2011 - Pat Whetstone

2010 - Ronnie Robertson

2009 - Mal Moore

2008 - Gina Johnson

2007 - Sarah Patterson

2006 - Billy P. Helms

2005 - Robert McCurley, Jr.

2004 - Jan Pruitt Duvall

2003 - J. Barry Mason

2002 - Catherine Randall

2001 - Culpepper Clark

2000 - Dorothy Martin

1999 - John Moore

1998 - Drury Caine

1997 - B. Scott Bridges

1996 - David Womack, Inaugural Honoree

Nomination Form

The Dr. Minnie C. Miles Endowed Excellence Award, established in 1995, honors exempt, non-faculty administrative employees who have performed in an exemplary manner, exceeding the expectations set for their position and fostering the mission of the University.
  • The Department of Human Resources solicits nominations in the spring semester
  • Nominees must be exempt, non-faculty, administrative employees
  • Nomination deadline is March 10, 2024
  • Any UA employee may submit a nomination
  • Nomination packets must include:
    • Online nomination submission form
    • A minimum of two letters of recommendation and support Note: Nomination packets may contain letters of recommendation and support from external constituents
  • The selection and review committee is comprised of the Past Recipient and representatives from the Office of the Provost, Faculty Senate, Professional Staff Assembly, and Human Resources
  • This award is presented annually at the President’s Spring Campus-Wide Meeting
  • A monetary award of $1000 accompanies this honor
This award is named honoring Dr. Minnie C. Miles, a long-term business faculty member who began her lifetime of service and support of The University of Alabama in 1942 as an instructor, moving up to an associate professor of management before she retired in 1978. Dr. Miles has a long legacy of women's rights, equality for all and unbridled generosity. That legacy was captured when a resolution from The University of Alabama Board of Trustees was presented to Miles, which said in part, "...perseverance in pursuing her own education allowed her to break through gender barriers, exert the leadership to make a difference in many lives, and to become one of the University's most generous supporters." In 1962 she traveled to Los Angeles where she became president of the Federation of Business and Professional Women, and when President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, Miles stood at his left shoulder. That same year U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara appointed her to the Defense Committee on Women in the Services, and during her tenure on the committee, a bill removing restrictions on promoting women in the military was approved by Congress. In 1976 Miles established one of the University’s earliest annuity trusts, which was used to help meet financial needs in the College of Commerce and Business Administration. Throughout her life Miles supported the Capstone by creating or supporting various scholarships and endowments such as the Minnie C. Miles Endowed Excellence Award that rewards administrative excellence. Shortly before her retirement, she received the National Alumni Association’s Outstanding Commitment to Teaching award in 1977. After her retirement from the University, she was named Professor Emerita of Organizational Behavior in the business school.

2024 Distinguished Honoree

Teri Terry, Director - Office of Teaching, Innovation and Digital Education

 

Past Distinguished Recipients:

2023 - Glenda Leasor

2022 - Stacy Jones

2021 - Cynthia Moore

2020 - Karen Carpenter

2019 - Dane Cameron

2018 - Lee Harris

2017 - Lisa Joiner

2016 - Robert E. Hayes

2015 - Daphne Wright

2014 - Tim Dillard

2013 - Harriet O. Deason

2012 - Mary Jo Modica

2011 - Mary Ann Bradley

2010 - Cindy Wright

2009 - Annette Watters

2008 - Steve Tucker

2007 - Phillip Adcock

2006 - John Maxwell

2005 - Deborah Hamilton

2004 - Donna Maples

2003 - Kathleen P. Cramer

2002 - Bonni LaBresh

2001 - Hannelore Delbridge

2000 - Marilee Brown-Wells

1999 - Judy Arnold

1998 - J. Barry Mason

1997 - Harry J. Knopke

1996 - E. Roger Sayers, Inaugural Honoree

Nomination Form

The Sam S. May Commitment to Service Award, established in 2000, recognizes teams or departments demonstrating exceptional commitment, innovation, or creativity in customer service. This award honors a very special man who worked for The University of Alabama as a Custodian in the Chemistry Department from 1911 to 1941.
  • Recognizes teams or departments demonstrating exceptional commitment, or creativity in customer service.
  • Any UA employee, team or department may submit nominations.
  • Nomination form submissions must contain a minimum of (1) one letter of support.
  • The 2024 deadline to submit nominations is July 31st.
  • One recipient from each division except Academic Affairs may be selected. In Academic Affairs (1) recipient from the Colleges and (1) recipient from the Offices may be selected. The committee may deem it necessary to award one team as the Campus Wide/Campus Community recipient.
  • The selection committee made up of representatives from a minimum of (5) divisions submits the names of those to be recognized to Human Resources.
  • Winning teams are publicly recognized at the President's Fall Campus Assembly.
  • Teams, departments and units honored with this recognition receive a $500 departmental transfer of funds to be used within UA guidelines.
Mr. May, employed in the School of Chemistry from 1911 to 1941 learned basic chemistry from instructors during lunch hours. May, who possessed only a fifth-grade education, soon became the person students turned to for explanations of puzzling freshman chemistry problems and experiments. May became interested in the paper industry when it arrived in Tuscaloosa and experimented in his spare time with a variety of local plants in an effort to produce strong, usable domestic fiber. Certain local plants, he discovered, could be useful in making cord, rope, fabric, and insulation materials. Sam May's "unusual common sense and ingenuity won for him the respect of both students and faculty, " wrote Dean Lloyd following May's death in 1941. The next year chemistry students erected a bronze plaque in Lloyd Hall in memory of the man they had affectionately called "Dr. Sam."

2023

  • Building Maintenance Renovation Team
  • Graduate School Admissions
  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
  • Center for Service & Leadership
  • Speech and Hearing Center

2022

  • Alumni Scholarship Team
  • Capstone Village
  • Education Abroad
  • Housing and Residential Communities
  • ICUE Connector
  • Social Media Team
  • UA SafeState Field Services

2021

  • College of Community Health Sciences
  • Department of Ceremonies and Events
  • Facilities and Grounds
  • Gift Accounting Team
  • The RISE Center Staff
Nomination Form



John K. McKinley and the late Helen H. McKinley established this award to recognize enterprising employees, who by action or idea, contribute to The University of Alabama’s mission of teaching, research and service in honor of their father-in-law and father.
  • The Department of Human Resources solicits nominations for this quarterly award on an ongoing basis
  • Any non-student UA employee is eligible for this award
  • Nominations will be held for consideration by the selection committee for one year after submission
  • Nominations may be submitted by UA supervisors for any eligible direct report
  • Nomination packets must include:
    • Online nomination submission form
    • Minimum of one letter in support of the nomination
  • The selection and review committee is comprised of representatives from a minimum of five campus divisions and the Department of Human Resources
  • Individual recipients of this quarterly award are acknowledged at their department level
  • Recipients for the year are recognized annually at the Campus Assembly
  • A monetary award of $1200 accompanies this honor
This award honors Dr. Vergil Parks McKinley, a long-time professor at the University of Alabama. After receiving degrees at Columbia University, Dr. McKinley returned to his alma mater, The University of Alabama in 1918 as a faculty member. He retired in 1945 as head of the Trade and Industrial Development Department in the College of Education, after 25 years of service. Prior to his return to UA, McKinley was charged with the task of fielding the first football team in Troy Normal School's history in 1909. It's said that the proud history of Troy football can be traced back to one man, Vergil Parks McKinley. Fourteen young men tried out for the inaugural squad and McKinley, who was a professor at the College, kept 11 for his historic team that adopted the nickname “Teachers.” “Every great journey begins with a first step,” Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., said. “Dr. Vergil Parks McKinley was the driving force behind Troy University’s first steps into intercollegiate athletics.  As a member of the faculty, he believed athletic competition is a fundamental component of a well-rounded institution of higher education. Dr. McKinley left an indelible mark on Troy University and will be known forever as the ‘Father of Athletics’ at Troy University.” His impeccable character was his hallmark and endeared him to his students and peers. His impact was so strong at both Universities that Troy and Alabama both award a Vergil Parks McKinley Employee Award on a regular basis. The award was established by John McKinley who is the son of Vergil Parks McKinley and the former CEO of Texaco. McKinley passed away on July 3, 1954.  

2023

  • Joe Lambert

2022

  • Caroline Barge
  • Albert Canzoneri
  • Jennifer Crumpton

2021

  • Kristina Patridge
  • James Donahoe
  • Holly Grof

2020

  • Daphne Wright
  • Kathy Yarbrough

2019

  • Bernadette Chavira-Trull
  • Julie Ember
  • Daniel Wood

2018

  • Melinda Fields
  • Vanessa Williams
  • Robin Elmore
Nomination Form

The Rickey Yanaura Crimson Spirit Award, renamed in 2007 in honor of Rickey Yanaura, known as “the university photographer” for 25 years, recognizes staff employees who by actions, words, and deeds, make The University of Alabama an exceptional place to work and learn. Nominees for this award define “Crimson Spirit” by their very presence.

• The Department of Human Resources solicits nominations for this quarterly award on an ongoing basis

• Any UA employee may submit a nomination

• Nomination form submissions should include the nomination form and at least (1) one letter of support

• Nominations will be kept on file for one year from the submission date

• One recipient from each campus division may be selected on a quarterly basis

A monetary award of $250 dollars accompanies this honor

Selection Process:

-Nominations are reviewed by Human Resources to ensure that employees nominated are in good standing

-Supervisors are then notified of nominations from their area (s)

-The employee recognition selection committee, made up of representatives from a minimum of five campus divisions, reviews approved nominations and submits the names of those selected for recognition to Human Resources to confirm and present

-Award presentations are coordinated with the recipient's home department/leadership and others responsible for submitting the nomination

-A monetary award of $250.00 accompanies this recognition and is processed by Human Resources via direct deposit following the award presentation

A native of Texas, Rickey Yanaura came to the university of to major in journalism. While a student at the University of Alabama, he wanted to be a reporter, but editors at the student newspaper said they needed a photographer instead. So Rickey Yanaura picked up the camera, begining a profession that lasted until his death in 2007. A university photographer for 25 years, Yanaura captured nearly every high-profile University of Alabama event. As a photographer, he was often in the background, but his pleasant attitude and seemingly never-ending smile put people at ease with the lens, said those who knew him. Rickey was the best event photographer, "said Chip Cooper, who hired him while Yanaura was still a student at UA. "He did it with such finesse." President Robert Witt said the university community is celebrating Yanaura's life. "For 25 years he shared with us his talent and expertise, his ever-present optimism and good cheer and his unfailing ability to make us smile, "Witt said in a written statement. A recipient of the Crimson Spirit Award in 2002, the award was renamed the Rickey Yanaura Crimson Spirit Award in 2007 to honor him.
2022 Anita Hamlett, College of Nursing; Jennifer Fuqua, English Department; Sheila Allen, Advancement Services; Alphonso Turner, Facilities and Grounds; Kelli Harris, Arts and Sciences; and Kelly Crumpton, OTIDE
Nomination Form





Information about each award is linked below. Please contact HR Learning and Development at 348-9700 or hrdevelopment@ua.edu with questions.  If you experience issues using the online submission forms, please email your submission to the HR Service Center at hrsvctr@ua.edu.

Selection Process

The specific nomination and selection process for each of the five Capstone Awards is described in the Guidelines section for each award. General nomination and selection process information appears below:

Annual Endowed Awards

-Nominations for the E. Roger Sayers Endowed Distinguished Service Award  and Minnie C. Miles Endowed Excellence Award are solicited annually at the start of the Spring semester by Human Resources via a campuswide “Call for Nominations”, through direct outreach to senior leadership, and via UA News announcements, Digital Displays, and monthly e-newsletters.

*Nominations should be submitted via the online nomination portal.

-Human Resources reviews nominations to confirm status and eligibility, shares the slate of nominees with the designated selection committee for each award, and invites their rankings and recommendations for selection. The names of those chosen for each award are then submitted for approval by the Office of the President and Office of the Provost.

-Monetary awards which accompany these endowed honors are processed through Human Resources/Payroll with deductions taken.

Quarterly Endowed Awards

Nominations for the Vergil Parks McKinley Sr. Employee Award are solicited on an ongoing basis by Human Resources.

*Nominations should be submitted via the online nomination portal.

-Human Resources reviews the nominations to confirm status and eligibility then shares the slate of nominees with the Employee Recognition Selection Committee (made up of representatives from at least five campus divisions) to invite their rankings and recommendations for selection.

-The Employee Recognition Selection Committee reviews approved nominations on a regular basis and submits their recommendations to Human Resources to confirm and present.

-Monetary awards which accompany this endowed honor are processed through Human Resources/Payroll with deductions taken.

Annual Team Awards

-Nominations for the Sam S. May Commitment to Service Award are solicited annually in late Spring and throughout Summer by Human Resources via a campus wide “Call for Nominations”, through direct outreach to senior leadership, and via UA News announcements, Digital Displays, and monthly e-newsletters.

*Nominations should be submitted via the online nomination portal.

-Human Resources reviews the nominations to confirm status and eligibility then shares the slate of nominees with the Employee Recognition Selection Committee (made up of representatives from at least five campus divisions) to invite their rankings and recommendations for selection.

-Two teams from Academic Affairs (one from the Colleges and one from the Offices) may be selected for this award, and one team from other divisions. Additionally, the selection committee has the authority to recommend a team best described as the Community-Wide or Campus-Wide recipient based on the team makeup and/or impact of that team’s contributions.

-Human Resources processes a $500 monetary award through a budget transfer to each winning team. Funds are to be transferred into an 11000 account and used within UA Guidelines.

Quarterly Awards

-Nominations for the Rickey Yanaura Crimson Spirit Award are solicited on an ongoing basis by Human Resources.

*Nominations should be submitted via the online nomination portal.

-Human Resources reviews the nominations to confirm status and eligibility then shares the slate of nominees with the Employee Recognition Selection Committee (made up of representatives from at least five campus divisions) to invite their rankings and recommndations for selection.

-The Employee Recognition Selection Committee reviews approved nominations on a regular basis and submits their recommendations to Human Resources to confirm and present.

-Monetary awards which accompany this honor are funded centrally and are processed through  Human Resources/Payroll with deductions taken.