Christine Curtis

UAH Provost Dr. Christine Curtis

Michael Mercier | UAH

For Dr. Christine Curtis, giving is a way of life.

The former Provost and Executive Vice President at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, a part of The University of Alabama System, says it’s difficult to pin down what exactly influenced her motivation to give.

“It’s always been in my genes to give,” Dr. Curtis says.

But then she recounts a story about her grandmother. During the Depression, her grandmother regularly collected all her children’s clothes they could no longer wear and sent them to cousins living in South Dakota and struggling to make it while living in the Dust Bowl during the 1930s. Her grandmother didn’t know these cousins well or visit them, and yet she sent the clothes.

“In 1976, we visited those cousins for a family reunion,” Dr. Curtis emotionally recalls, “and they told my mother they always looked forward to getting those packages of clothes because it was like Christmas.”

“We’ve always been givers,” she adds, noting that she would rather give something away to a person in need rather than try to sell it.

Over her last seven years at UAH, Dr. Curtis has perpetuated that legacy of giving. She’s donated to a variety of areas across the University, including the Department of Art, Art History and Design, the College of Engineering, the Theatre Program, the Honors College, the College of Education, the College of Nursing and the softball team. Her goal is to give where she sees a need.

Dr. Curtis also helped start the Last-Mile Fund (LMF), which provides support to students struggling to financially make it through their last few semesters before graduating. What she likes about the LMF is that it helps students all over the university, regardless of major or GPA.

“It makes a huge difference for students to get their degree,” Dr. Curtis says. “It’s their first step towards a career that is meaningful to them, and it helps the University too.”

She also highlights the Fund’s assistance to students who are the first in their families to get a degree: “It’s a game changer for the students and their families. The benefits trickle not only down but across and can change a whole family’s view of education by opening up possibilities.”

All of this culminated in Dr. Curtis’ decision to create an endowed scholarship that supports the Last-Mile Fund.

“I knew retirement was coming, and I wanted to establish something that would last,” she says. However, she’s quick to note that one doesn’t have to give a lot to make a difference.

“All types of giving are meaningful and will depend on where you are in your career, finances and life. But giving back is extremely important.”

Dr. Curtis has spent a lifetime giving, and creating this endowed scholarship honors that history by benefitting countless students for years to come.

“Every student is important and should be valued, nurtured and encouraged,” she explains. “It’s so easy to be discouraged, and any way we can help students on their path is important for the student, the community and society as a whole. It’s for the good of us all.”


Mallie Hale

Jennifer Memolo