For the first time in the school's 181-year history, the University of Alabama has named a woman to be its permanent president.
Trustees at the school announced today that Judy Bonner, who was the school's interim president for about five months earlier this year, is moving into the position. She takes over from Guy Bailey, who became president in September. He announced Wednesday that he needed to step down to focus on helping care for his wife, who has unspecified health problems.
"This is a decision my wife Jan and I made together after much discussion about how we can best address her health, which is the most important priority in our lives," Bailey said in a statement, as our colleagues at Alabama Public Radio reported.
When Bonner was named the interim president in March, the school said in a news release that she:
"Was promoted to UA's executive vice president and provost on April 1, 2006, after serving as provost and vice president for academic affairs since March 2003. Bonner holds two degrees from The University of Alabama — the B.S. in nutrition and the M.S. in food and nutrition — and the Ph.D. in human nutrition from The Ohio State University. She was named dean of the College of Human Environmental Studies at UA in 1989 and, prior to that, served as special assistant to the president, assistant academic vice president and head of the department of human nutrition and hospitality management. She has held faculty positions at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and The Ohio State University. Bonner is an active member of civic, scientific and professional organizations and is the author of numerous articles."