Couple who found love at UAH give back to school with $30K donation to College of Business

Amy and Matthew Willson outside in the backyard.
Amy and Matthew Willson, alumni of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Business, met at UAH, fell in love and got married. They came to UAH from Tennessee, and now they have endowed a scholarship to help other out-of-state students find a good education at UAH, too.
Courtesy Amy and Matthew Willson

Amy and Matthew Willson’s $30,000 scholarship gift to the College of Business at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) began with a love story.

The couple met at UAH as two students from Tennessee: Amy from Kingsport, Matt from Chattanooga. Amy and Matt’s mutual passion for video games sparked a friendship which grew into love and then marriage after graduation. Now they’re helping other out-of-state students find a good education at UAH, a part of The University of Alabama System.

The Willsons’ endowed scholarship, created in 2023, will support out-of-state College of Business students from the U.S. with a preference given to applicants from Tennessee.

“Both of us were in the privileged position where we had family support to go to school,” Amy says. “I also had athletic and academic scholarships, and Matt had academic. Education is the key to prosperity in the future, to doing what you want to be doing and accessing what you need to take care of yourself and your family. Being able to help folks coming from Tennessee go to UAH and go to the business school like we did was something that we both thought was a worthwhile use of our philanthropic dollars.”

Amy, who played soccer at UAH, graduated in 2009 with a B.S.B.A. degree in accounting. Matt, who worked in UAH’s IT department for about half of his degree, graduated in 2011 with a B.S.B.A. degree in management information systems. He missed walking at commencement because the spring 2011 ceremony was delayed following the tornadoes of April 27. UAH rescheduled commencement for Aug. 6, but Matt could not attend since that was the couple’s wedding day.

The Willsons moved to Texas in 2014. They now live with their son in Austin, where Amy is an associate director of development operations at the University of Texas School of Law and Matt is a staff site reliability engineer at Indeed.com.

Along with finding each other at UAH, the Willsons say they gained academic and social experiences at the university that broadened their outlooks and continue to benefit them professionally and personally.

“The degree I got from UAH is a combination of learning about business but also learning about how the world works and how you need to interact with people,” says Amy, who also holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee. “I think some people don’t realize that a business degree is a broad degree that is applicable just about anywhere. Our business degrees give us insights that other people who do the same work as we do don’t have.”

Matt adds that his friendships with international students and faculty at UAH continue to be invaluable in his current role, which focuses mostly on distributed computing problems.

“I work with people all over the world across many different cultures and languages,” he says. “One of the things I remember most about being at UAH was that cross-section of the world that I never would have interacted with in any other aspect of my life. I’ve worked with people across many cultures, frequently with interpreters, and the experience I gained at UAH helped prepare me to be respectful and professional. Without that experience at UAH, I don’t know how well I would have done.”


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Contact

Kristina Hendrix
256-824-6341
kristina.hendrix@uah.edu

Elizabeth Gibisch
256-824-6926
elizabeth.gibisch@uah.edu

 

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