FLORENCE, Alabama — As the University of Alabama System’s newest Board member, Evelyn “Evie” VanSant Mauldin is enjoying her course of study about one of the state’s most dynamic growth engines.
With both undergraduate and law degrees from the Capstone, Mauldin is General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Bank Independent, which serves 18 communities across Northwest Alabama. She is a graduate of the Florence public school system.
“As the newest person charged with making sure everything keeps humming like it is, there is quite a learning curve for me,” she said. “We have a great university System, and I’m looking forward to this. It is a worthy pursuit.”
Elected in June to represent Alabama’s Fourth Congressional District, she was welcomed to her first Board of Trustees meeting in September. She has been appointed to seven Board committees, providing a solid introduction to the System’s complex inner workings, ranging from finances to facilities planning.
While drilling deeply into all the details of the UA System’s multi-faceted operations may represent a challenge, defining its strategic mission comes easy for Mauldin.
“Our primary goal is to help the citizens of Alabama become educated and healthy,” she said. “We are uniquely positioned to be a leader for everyone in the state.”
The UA System’s three universities and the UAB Health System combine to form an enterprise that packs a $10 billion annual economic impact, employs more than 45,000 people, and treats 1.7 million patients a year.
Mauldin joins the Board of Trustees at a time when the UA System is flourishing by every measure. Combined enrollment on the three campuses this fall topped 70,000, driven in part by a System-wide in-state tuition freeze.
She points with pride to the fact that the UA System educates more Alabamians than any other university system. In 2019, more than 16,000 degrees were awarded at The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama at Birmingham and The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
“The future looks good for our System, but we won’t rest on our laurels,” she said. “We have to constantly look ahead and be vigilant and make sure the UA System is on a sound financial and academic footing.
“At the same time, it is important that we continue to elevate our leadership role in the state,” she said.
For Mauldin, the first order of business has been learning the intricacies of the UA System’s operations, which generate $6 billion a year in revenues and rival the largest corporate enterprises in the state. Read an article on The System’s economic impact.
Mauldin is a seasoned veteran of civic and professional involvement. She has served on the Leighton City Council, the Leighton Water and Sewer Board, and on the boards of numerous community organizations in the Shoals.
In 2011-12, she was a member of the Tornado Recovery Action Council of Alabama, which was headed by Trustee Ron Gray, current President Pro Tempore of the Board of Trustees. She is a past Vice President and member of the Executive Committee of The University of Alabama National Alumni Association.