– Today we have the opportunity
to honor an individual who has made many
contributions to our System, our institutions, our state
and our local community. As University of Alabama began the process of selecting the name of its new freshmen residence hall, one name immediately
came to the forefront. Today we honor a person, who is a dedicated public servant, a community leader, active in his Church, a family man and a friend highly
respected by all of us. In public service he has
served as city councilman, first chairman of the
city’s finance committee. Quite an honor. Elected to the Circuit bench and served not only his County, but was elected by the
fellow judges of Alabama as the President of the Alabama
Circuit Judges Association. Because of his fair mindedness, he was selected to the
Alabama Supreme Court where he served with distinction. While serving as a public servant he has also been extremely
involved in his community. They Boy’s Club, the YMCA, Salvation Army, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts,
mental health, AIDs research and everything decent in Tuscaloosa. He has been honored by
his university, Tuskegee, with an Honorary Doctor of Law’s degree. He’s been honored by our Law School, by receiving the most
Distinguished Alumnus Award. He’s active in his church as a trustee and as many of us know
he claims he can sing and I did notice that he is a member of the male chorus of his church. He is the father of three
outstanding children, all lawyers, April, a practicing attorney in Atlanta, John, a magistrate federal judge, Chris, a member of the
House of Representatives and here today is Coardean Bishop, April, John and Chris, would ya’ll stand and be recognized? (Applause) I would also recognize his
long time friend, John McMahan, who is here specially to see this honor. When we first talked about this, I felt it should be done in Tuscaloosa. But as we thought about it, we thought about his love for this city, he’s often telling us
about Ullmen High School, so we decided this was an
appropriate place to do it. Matt, would you put on the screen… Is it up there? There is before you a resolution which we will offer. He has served this board for 21 years. I move that my friend, John England, Jr. Be made this… I move passage of this resolution. – Thank you Joe. I’d like to ask Vanessa Leonard… (Applause) I would like to ask Vanessa
Leonard to make comments. – Pro Tem Gray, one definition of service is the action of helping. I met John England
approximately 26 years ago, when I was a law student and he was serving on a panel providing advice to law students. I began to serve with him on this board approximately 16 years ago. His service to The University of Alabama, to the University of Alabama System goes far beyond the items that are listed in this resolution. He continually gives up his time, energy and wisdom, in spite of his busy
schedule and adversities. And furthermore, his service
to the greater community goes far beyond the items that
are listed in the resolution. Therefore, I second this motion to name the new Freshman residential hall, at The University of Alabama campus the John England, Jr Hall, because of his actions of helping The University of Alabama, the University of Alabama System and the larger community in which we live. He has done, and continues to do us a great service. Thank you, John. Thank you. – Thank you Vanessa. (Applause) Are there any other Trustees who would like to make comments before I ask Dr. Bell, Chancellor St. John and Honorary Degrees and
Recognition Committee Chairman, Harris Morissette for final comments? Dr. Bell. – Judge England, I want to personally tell
you how thrilled I am to see you recognized today and to know that we’re
going to have a building on our campus that’s named in your honor, it’s certainly a well deserved tribute, to the legendary impact that you have made personally on so many students in our community and on your profession, I fully support and
could not be more excited for this resolution in the naming of the
John England, Jr Hall, where current and future
students will see your name, they will know what you have
given back to the community, but also to the University and they’ll know your vision and they’ll be able to
follow in your footsteps. We could not be more excited. Congratulations. – Thank you Dr. Bell. Chancellor St. John. – Thank you, Mr Pro Tem, when we’ve been on the
Board as long as we have we’ve passed a lot of resolutions, but I think this is my favorite in the entire time that I’ve served. We’ve heard a lot about your career and your accomplishments but I want to thank
you for your friendship and your wise council and the honor of working
with you for these years. There’ve been many times when you have changed the course of this Boards’ conduct and the course of the System and every time you did it the course needed to be changed. So, thank you for that and I heartily endorse the resolution and appreciate the chance to work on it. – Thank you Chancellor. Trustee Morissette. – Pro Tem Gray, this is a special day for UAB and The University of Alabama. Approval of the resolution name and the O’Neil Comprehensive
Cancer Center at UAB and now the consideration of a resolution naming UA’s newest Freshman resident hall after Judge John England in recognition for his service
to The University of Alabama, to the Tuscaloosa community
and the state of Alabama. Pro Tem Gray the Honorary
Degrees and Recognition Committee recommends to the Board of Trustee’s to consider the resolution, approving the naming of
John England, Jr. Hall. – Thank you very much Trustee Morissette. Trustee McMahonn, would you
care to make any comments? – It’s been a long time since
I’ve spoken to this Board and I am delighted to
have the chance to be here and to see old friends and
some faces I don’t recognize and see how the institution
is moving forward in a great way. I have… I think maybe the last time I had a chance to talk
about someone on the Board, I quoted a great line from
my favorite movie, Tombstone, where Doctor Holiday and Wyatt Earp are saying goodbye and Wyatt Earp says, “I just don’t have the words”, and when I think of Judge England, I’m reminded of that line, I don’t have the words to express what John has meant to the Board of Trustees, to The University of Alabama, to UAB, to UAH, I will say that in the 15
years we served on the Board together, that there were many a time in which there were issues that
came before the Board, issues that affected the whole University and in every instance, John England quietly mediated and made sure we were all together in a way that was in the best interests of the institution. He was never flamboyant, except maybe on the
tennis court occasionally, but in a quiet way, he was the heart and soul
of the Board of Trustees of the years that I was on there and I never saw him make a statement, take a position, advocate a position that was mean spirited, or that was done from
a limited perspective, it was always “what can we do to promote the interests of the whole University System”, and from a purely personal stand point, he has been a great friend, we’ve traveled together, we’ve toured some great facilities, we were at Yankee’s stadium together at the first game that they
played in the new stadium and I am delighted and honored to be here and there is no gesture or recognition that we could make that is undeserved, but certainly, naming the hall is a permanent testament of what John has meant to the University and to everyone in this room. So, congratulations Judge. Thank you. (Applause) – Thank you Trustee McMahon, John is one of the most revered Emeriti Trustees and a great friend to this Board, so thank you for those comments. Trustee Brooks? – I just wanted to add, that as a Trustee, the greatest privilege I think we have, is putting a name on a building and for us to be able
to do this, together, on our watch, is just amazing and for you to still
be right here with us, for all of us to still be right here not in twenty or thirty
years after we are all gone. Just a lot of times when it’s done. And John, congratulations, you’re a great friend, we love you and we’re really, really proud that I was part of it and that everyone here was part of this. Congratulations. – Thank you, Karen. I would also like to, as Joe mentioned, thank the family for being here, Coardean, April, John, Chris and you did not have a lot of notice and I appreciate you
adjusting your schedules. I would also comment, it’s quite clear, your abilities to keep a
secret are very strong, so good work, we
appreciate you doing that. We have a motion and a second to approve naming the
Freshman residence hall on the UA campus in honor of Trustee, John H England, Jr. All in favor, please
signify by saying aye. – [Board] Aye. – Oposed say no. The motion carries. Judge, there are few words that adequately represent
the depth of appreciation this Board has for you, however we hope affixing the England name to the building shown before you will serve as a reminder
for generations to come of the appreciation this board
has for you and your family, which are here with us today. Judge, your impact on this
System in the state of Alabama is profound, thank you for your service and for leading with such integrity. If you will come forward
I have a framed copy of the resolution that Fess
and I will present to you. (Laughing) – What are we supposed to do
now? (Laughing, applauding) – Judge is rarely at a loss for words, but we might be challenging
him this morning, but Judge if you will, would you like to care
to make a few comments? – Oh there’ll be a few. ‘Cuz this is a complete, total, total surprise. I don’t see, I don’t see how you got this by me and I didn’t realize that Joe Espy might be talking about me, until he said, I forgot what it was and I’ll be honest with you, I’m still thinking there’s
a mistake that’s been made, but, thank you very much, thank you very much. I’m reminded of something
that a Blues singer, one of my favorite Blues singers said. I went to his concert and
there’s people walk by him, there was this really attractive lady who walked right by him and then he looked at her
and looked at the audience and said, “I’m not dead yet!” (Laughing) So I’m not dead yet, I’m still here. I’m at a loss for words, I appreciate John McMahon not
talking about how many times he claims he beat me in tennis. Y’all got me this time and I gotta say it, Coardean with all we did
this morning how did you? I went to the pain clinic… Where’s my Doctor? I went to the pain clinic this morning. How did you get it by me? Thank y’all. (Applause)