College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS) alumnus Phillip Weaver recently funded two scholarships in honor of former C&IS faculty members who made a lasting impact on his time as a student within the College.
Weaver earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1981, and he credits retired C&IS faculty members Dr. Jim Stovall and Camille Elebash with encouraging him to complete his degree.
“These two professors worked with me and saw something in me, and it meant a lot,” Weaver said. “It has weighed on my heart what Jim Stovall and Camille Elebash did for me, and I wanted to do something to honor that.”
Weaver’s scholarships will support students who are working while attending C&IS. He believes that the hard work and commitment of students who have jobs while in college should be recognized, and he hopes that his gift will be able to relieve some of the burden of tuition from them.
“I have a lot of respect for students that are working while they’re in school, and while it can be done, it takes time and commitment. I always tell students who work while in school that they are supporting themselves and controlling their own destiny and that they will be stronger for it,” Weaver said. “A lot of students are doing it so that they don’t have to borrow money, so I hope that this can take some of the weight off of them.”
During his time as a student in C&IS, Weaver began his career as a businessman in Tuscaloosa. The companies that he founded while completing his degree from the College remain well-known Tuscaloosa businesses today. Weaver is the co-founder and owner of Buffalo Phil’s, one of the longest-running restaurants in Tuscaloosa. He is also the founder of Campus Party Store and Gallette’s, and is the founder and owner of Weaver Rentals.
In addition to funding scholarships for C&IS students, Weaver has also generously hosted past C&IS alumni events in New York City. This year, he plans to host a reception on May 11 for alumni who live in the city and students who will be visiting New York for Industry Immersion – an experiential learning program that allows C&IS students to visit cities across the country to meet with professionals and learn more about the communication industry.
“I’m looking forward to the event because it is a good way to bring the UA community together. New York is a unique place with a lot going on and a lot of job opportunities,” Weaver said.
Weaver believes the event will give both students and alumni an opportunity to network and build new relationships.
“The event is a meet & greet and I think that is special. Networking is huge in our fields, and it is amazing what knowing someone can do for you,” Weaver said. “I’m excited for our Industry Immersion students to get that experience while in New York and for our alumni to connect with each other too.”
Experiential learning opportunities and student scholarships are funding priorities for C&IS as part of the Rising Tide Capital Campaign. The Rising Tide Capital Campaign is a University-wide effort to raise a minimum of $1.5 billion in philanthropic support for strategic priorities over a 10-year period. For more information, visit risingtide.ua.edu.