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$10 million gift from Frank Barefield, Jr. to UAB
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$10 million gift from Frank Barefield, Jr. to UAB

The chairman of Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama, J. Frank Barefield, Jr. recently gifted $10 million to UAB in efforts to bridge criminal justice and economic growth in entrepreneurship.

This is the largest single donation given by an alumnus in the college’s history.

Of the gift, $5 million dollars will go toward building and naming the UAB J. Frank Barefield Jr. Department of Criminal Justice in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The remaining $5 million will be used to name the UAB J. Frank Barefield, Jr. Entrepreneurship Program in the Collat School of Business.

This gift will also name and recruit endowed faculty positions under the J. Frank Barefield, Jr. Endowed Chair in Criminal Justice and the J. Frank Barefield, Jr. Endowed Professorship in Entrepreneurship.

“UAB is where I received my MBA, and I am very appreciative of the benefits obtaining that degree has provided me,” Barefield said. He felt like it was time to start helping others.

Barefield obtained the Chartered Financial Analyst designation while taking night classes to receive his MBA.

This was after he received his undergraduate degree in finance at the University of Alabama and served four years in the United States Air Force. He also provided audit and consulting services to health care, retail, manufacturing and real estate clients for five years with the Arthur Young & Company.

“This generous gift will bring tremendous strides in recruiting and retaining top faculty and students, accelerating research and development of new programs, creating additional jobs and startup companies and fostering a safer and more prosperous Birmingham,” said Barefield.

He wanted to help reduce crime and get criminals off the street after observing the negative effects crime had on individuals and the economy.

Barefield agreed to join the board of directors of Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama. Over the past 10 years as chairman, 1,651 felony arrests have been made and 3,717 felony cases have been cleared, according to the university.

Barefield’s gift will help the entrepreneurship program in the Collat School of Business by offering a first-rate education to Birmingham residents and creating new jobs that will make waves in the city and beyond.

“The impact on our students and on the Birmingham entrepreneurial ecosystem will be tremendous for years to come,” said Eric Jack, dean of the Collat School of Business.

“We are grateful for Mr. Barefield’s generosity, vision and loyalty to UAB and the Collat School of Business.”

Kecia Thomas, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, spoke of the significance of Barefield’s gift.

“The core value that drives the department is justice,” said Thomas. “This amazing gift will provide the department with the opportunity to expand its reach as it seeks to identify and dismantle the elements and systems that produce crime… I look forward to the production of graduates from the program that will provide community and justice-centered leadership for our society.”

“There is probably no bigger opponent of business than the numerous crimes perpetuated on the public by those individuals who wish to take something—whether it be someone’s life or property—from those who have earned it,” Barefield said. “Business only prospers when honest people receive the rewards they have earned. That is one of the reasons Crime Stoppers does so much to help reduce crime — by rewarding anonymous tipsters who only need to ‘make a call and make a difference.’”

With regard to criminal justice, this $5 million investment will help the department expand in predicting an individual’s risk factors for crime, collaborating with law enforcement on strategies for crime prevention and implementing interventions in neighborhoods to combat cycles of violence, as well as preparing students for exciting careers in the field of crime science.

In continuing to propel the ever-growing entrepreneurship program in the Collat School of Business, Barefield’s gift will help the program, and, in turn, Birmingham continue to serve as a catalyst for dynamic growth, offer a first-rate education to Birmingham residents, incubate new ventures in growth industries, and create new jobs that will make waves in the city and beyond.

For Barefield, impacting the next generation of students wishing to pursue careers in criminal justice and entrepreneurship, he encourages them to make the leap and take risks to get what they want out of a career.

“I want to encourage anyone who thinks they may want to be an entrepreneur to step out and take that risk,” Barefield shared. “Take time researching what you want to do and determine that it is feasible and try it. I’d like to see students have more access to detailing the characteristics of different professions that will assist them in deciding what area of business they are most passionate and driven to pursue. Learning and hearing from various entrepreneurs and working professionals spanning a vast range of specialties and backgrounds is critical to that success as well.”

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