Deshe family gift launches UA business building renovation

Part of $2 million gift kicks off $4 million campaign for Alston Hall

Alston Hall, home of the Culverhouse College of Business, will undergo a renovation.

A $2 million gift from University of Alabama alumnus Ari Deshe and his wife, Ann, will kick off a $4 million fundraising campaign to renovate Mary Hewell Alston Hall, home of the Culverhouse College of Business.

The renovation will modernize the building that is more than 30 years old.

The Deshe gift includes $1.1 million toward the renovation, $400,000 to scholarships for first-generation business students and $500,000 to the Bloom Hillel Student Center, a gather place for UA Jewish students.

“Through the steadfast support and generosity of the Deshe family, we will continue to provide cutting-edge facilities, resources, technology and scholarships that shape the futures of business and rising business leaders,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell.

Ari and Ann Deshe.

Deshe, who is from Israel, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in insurance in 1977 and a master’s degree in finance in 1978. In 1993, he founded SafeAuto Insurance company in Columbus, Ohio, eventually selling the company to Allstate in 2021.

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“I’m very appreciative of all that the University of Alabama has done for me,” Deshe said. “I feel very strongly that the university really helped to advance my career and gave me the tools to understand the insurance business. I’m very fortunate to be in a position to give back.”

The Alston Hall renovation project will include a complete overhaul of its fourth floor, home to the dean’s office suite, as well as the development, alumni and corporate relations, and marketing and communications teams. The plan for the rest of the building includes the addition of collaboration spaces and a revision of the ground floor commons and lobby.

Alston Hall renovations are scheduled to begin in summer 2023 and be finished by fall 2023.

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