Barefield makes transformative $10m donation to UAB to connect criminal justice and entrepreneurship for a better Birmingham – News


A transformative gift to UAB from J. Frank Barefield Jr. will help shape a more prosperous future for Birmingham and beyond.

J. Frank Barefield Jr.,
Photography: Andrea Mabry
J. Frank Barefield Jr., president of Abbey Residential and president of Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama, donated $10 million to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, pledging $5 million to name the UAB J. Frank Barefield, Jr. Department of Criminal Justice at the College of Arts and Sciences and $5 million to name UAB’s J. Frank Barefield, Jr. Entrepreneurship Program at the Collat ​​School of Business . It is the biggest gift to UAB from an alumnus in the university’s history, a legacy intended to reduce crime and spur economic growth in Birmingham.

In addition, this donation will also appoint endowed faculty positions to recruit and retain the best professors in perpetuity, including the J. Frank Barefield, Jr. Endowed Professorship in Criminal Justice and the J. Frank Barefield, Jr. Endowed Professorship in Criminal Justice. Entrepreneurship.

“I thought it was time I started helping others – UAB is where I received my MBA, and I really appreciate the benefits that getting this degree has brought me” , Barefield said. “It’s a real sense of accomplishment to get an education and use what you’ve learned to give back to your alma mater. Our economy and our standard of living depend on businesses, whether existing businesses or the creation of new businesses, that provide everyone with the opportunity to work and provide a better and more fulfilling life for their family. . The more people can donate to educational institutions, which will broaden the new business horizon, the better. »

Barefield’s donation is more than just an investment in two programs; it is an investment in the UAB as a whole – the state’s largest economic engine – and will connect multi-disciplinary expertise in criminal justice and entrepreneurship to improve the lives of all Birmingham residents by making the safer city for future innovation, entrepreneurship and business growth.

“UAB is deeply grateful for this transformational gift from one of our brightest and most visionary alumni,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “Frank Barefield is widely respected for his remarkable achievements as an entrepreneur and business leader as well as his passionate advocacy for public safety, so it is only fitting that our Department of Criminal Justice and our program of entrepreneurship bear his name. This generous gift will bring tremendous progress in recruiting and retaining top faculty and students, accelerating research and development of new programs, creating additional jobs and startups, and promoting a Birmingham safer and more prosperous.

Barefield earned his undergraduate degree in finance at the University of Alabama and served four years in the United States Air Force, being honorably discharged as a captain. He began his professional career in investment banking with two Birmingham banks, where he earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, while earning his evening MBA from UAB. Barefield worked for five years at Arthur Young & Company, where he received the CPA designation and provided auditing and advisory services to clients in healthcare, retail, manufacturing and manufacturing. ‘immovable.

After this exposure to the multifamily real estate industry, Barefield formed the predecessor to Abbey Residential in 1984 with his partner, Marnix E. Heersink, MD, for whom the UAB Heersink School of Medicine is named. Over the past 38 years, Barefield and Heersink have grown Abbey Residential to $2.5 billion in assets.

As a business owner, Barefield sees how crime negatively impacts individuals and the economy in general. Over the years, he’s had numerous discussions with Jefferson County District Attorney David Barber and Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis about the senseless nature of crimes in the community, and wanting to help. to reduce crime and get criminals off the streets, Barefield agreed to join the board of Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama. He served as president of Crime Stoppers for the past 10 years, and during his tenure, tips helped law enforcement make 1,651 felony arrests and solve 3,717 felony cases.

Connecting criminal justice and entrepreneurship to create a stronger UAB, a better Birmingham

With his donation, Barefield is committing to provide resources to UAB that will advance specific areas of criminal justice and entrepreneurship.

With respect to criminal justice, this $5 million investment will help the ministry expand its activities to predict an individual’s risk factors for crime, work with law enforcement on crime prevention and implement neighborhood interventions to address cycles of violence, as well as prepare students for exciting careers in the science of crime.

“There is probably no greater adversary to business than the many crimes perpetrated against the public by those individuals who wish to take something – be it someone’s life or property – from those who have it. won,” Barefield said. “Business only thrives when honest people receive the rewards they have earned. Enforcement is an essential part of growing a business, and people need to understand that enforcement is responsibility of everyone, not just the police. That’s one of the reasons Crime Stoppers does so much to help reduce crime – by rewarding anonymous whistleblowers who only have to “pass a call and make a difference”.

For the College of Arts and Sciences, this donation will support students and faculty to help the Department of Criminal Justice continue to grow and make a difference in the Birmingham community and beyond.

“The generous investment Mr. Barefield has made in criminal justice is significant,” said Kecia Thomas, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The department is inherently interdisciplinary and reflects research contributed by the social sciences, physical sciences and computer science. However, the fundamental value that drives the department is justice. This incredible donation will give the ministry the opportunity to expand its reach as it seeks to identify and dismantle the elements and systems that produce crime as well as perfect techniques and strategies to solve crimes when they do occur. . I look forward to producing graduates from the program who will provide our society with community-oriented and justice-oriented leadership.

Continuing to propel the growing entrepreneurship program at the Collat ​​School of Business, Barefield’s donation will help the program and in turn Birmingham will continue to serve as a catalyst for dynamic growth, provide world-class education order to Birmingham residents, incubate new businesses in growing industries and create new jobs that will make waves in the city and beyond.

“This generous gift from one of our own MBA graduates will allow us to continue to develop a popular entrepreneurship major in a world-class program,” said Eric Jack, Ph.D., Wells Fargo Endowed Chair in Business Administration. and Dean of the Collat ​​Business School. “The impact on our students and on Birmingham’s entrepreneurial ecosystem will be huge for years to come. We are grateful for Mr. Barefield’s generosity, vision and loyalty to UAB and the Collat ​​School of Business.

For Barefield, who is impacting the next generation of students wanting to pursue careers in criminal justice and entrepreneurship, he encourages them to take the plunge and take risks to get what they want from a career. .

“I want to encourage anyone who thinks they want to be an entrepreneur to go out and take that risk,” Barefield explained. “Take the time to research what you want to do and figure out if it’s doable and give it a try. I wish students had more access to the details of the characteristics of different professions that will help them decide what area of ​​work they want to do. are the most passionate and driven to pursue. Learning from and listening to diverse entrepreneurs and professionals working in a wide range of specialties and backgrounds is also critical to that success.”


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