A $10 million gift from J. Frank Barefield Jr. will fund the naming of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Criminal Justice as well as the university’s entrepreneurship program.
UAB says it is the largest gift ever received from an alumnus.
The gift from the president of Abbey Residential and chairman of Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama means UAB now has the J. Frank Barefield Jr. Department of Criminal Justice in the College of Arts and Sciences and the J. Frank Barefield Jr. Entrepreneurship Program in the Collat School of Business.
“I thought it was time I started helping others — UAB is where I received my MBA, and I am very appreciative of the benefits obtaining that degree has provided me,” Barefield said. “It is a real sense of accomplishment to get an education and use what one learned to give back to one’s alma mater. Our economy and our standard of living depend upon business — both existing businesses and the creation of new businesses, which create opportunities for everyone to work and make a better and more rewarding life for their families. The more people can give to educational institutions, which will expand the new business horizon, the better.”
UAB President Ray L. Watts called the gift “transformational.”
“Frank Barefield is widely respected for his remarkable accomplishments as an entrepreneur and business leader as well his strong advocacy of public safety, so it is very fitting that both our Department of Criminal Justice and our entrepreneurship program will bear his name,” he said. “This generous gift will bring tremendous strides in recruiting and retaining top faculty and students, accelerating research and development of new programs, creating additional jobs and startup companies, and fostering a safer and more prosperous Birmingham.”