The University of Alabama recently dedicated the Judy Bonner Child Development Center in honor of the university’s first female president.
The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees passed a resolution in February to rename the Child Development Research Center in recognition of Bonner’s dedication and service to UA.
“We are honored to commemorate Dr. Bonner’s contributions to education at the University of Alabama by officially renaming the Child Development Research Center the Judy Bonner Child Development Center,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “Her career is a testament to the powerful role an educator plays in shaping the future of our communities, state and nation. The Judy Bonner Child Development Center will continue to shape young minds for generations to come.”
The center, part of the College of Human Environmental Sciences, is a leader in the study of young children. The state-of-the-art research facility is equipped with the latest technology, seven large research suites and eight research rooms. Each research room has an adjoining observation booth.
“If you count the number of years I was a student and the years I was a member of the faculty and an administrator, I spent over 40 years at the University of Alabama,” Bonner said. “I truly love the Capstone, and I am profoundly honored that the board of trustees approved President Bell’s recommendation to name the Child Development Center for me.”
The center houses the Children’s Program, a National Association for the Education of Young Children accredited laboratory school serving more than 100 students ages 2 months to 5 years; Child Development Resources, which assists families across the state to provide a safe, loving and enriching life for their young children; Capstone Family Therapy Clinic, which provides the community with help in resolving personal problems and trains graduate students specializing in marriage and family therapy; and the Pediatric Development Research Laboratory. The facility is also home to the College of Education’s Belser-Parton Literacy Center.
“Important work takes place in this building. Combined with the primary mission of educating UA students, the expertise of the faculty and staff has an impact that is exponential,” Bonner said. “With their successful contract and grant activity, they touch the lives of young children and their families throughout our great state and beyond. I am so proud to have my name associated with their work.”
In 2012, the board of trustees unanimously elected Bonner to serve as the 28th president of the university. As president, she was credited with strengthening the diversity and inclusiveness of the student body, achieving new enrollment records and presiding during a period when the Crimson Tide secured championships in athletics as well as successes in the pursuit of academic excellence and research.
Bonner began her UA career in 1981 as an associate professor before serving in several administrator positions, including head of the department of nutrition and hospitality management, dean of the College of Human Environmental Sciences, provost and vice president of academic affairs, provost and executive vice president, and president.
She has been honored with numerous UA awards during her career, including the Amanda Grace Taylor Watson Distinctive Image Award in 2007 and 2015, Frances S. Summersell Award in 2010, Living Legend Award in 2015 and Distinguished Alumna Award from the UA National Alumni Association in 2016. Named in her honor and first awarded in 2016, the Judy Bonner Presidential Medallion recognizes a member of the UA community who has gone above and beyond normal expectations to change the culture or implement new initiatives designed to advance the Alabama experience.
A native of Camden, Bonner earned her bachelor’s degree in dietetics and a master’s degree in food and nutrition from UA before receiving her doctorate in human nutrition from Ohio State University. Before embarking on a career as an educator, her breakthrough research in the dietary needs of cystic fibrosis patients led to significant improvements in the treatment of the disease.
This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.