Office of University Communications & Marketing

Two UNA Alumni Tapped for Honorary Degrees

Nov. 22, 2019



FLORENCE, AL The University of North Alabama will honor two alumni at the fall commencement ceremony scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. in Flowers Hall. J. Weldon Cole, 60, and Harry L. Smith, 64, will receive honorary degrees.

During his time at Florence State College, now UNA, Cole served as editor of the Lion Gridiron and as business manager of The Flor-Ala student newspaper. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, and he received the Turris Fidelis award, which is the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior. In 2008, Cole was named UNA Alumnus of the Year, and, in 2017, he received the UNA Lifetime Achievement Award. Cole had a distinguished career with Price Waterhouse in New York, as President of Beloit Corp., and as Senior Vice President of Albany International before retiring in 2000. He is marries to Delores.

Like Cole, Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Florence State. Smith was also a member of the football team and Alpha Chi. He served as the Alumni Association President from 1977-78 and was named UNA Alumnus of the Year in 1986. Smith remained in Florence for 16 years as a Certified Public Accountant and often taught business courses at UNA. Upon moving to Memphis, Smith became co-owner, chairman, and CEO of Schilling Enterprises. Smith is now retired. He has served on the UNA Foundation Board of Directors and as its chairman since 2016. With his wife, Mary E. BethSmith, the couple has established several endowed scholarships at UNA.

Cole and Smith were unanimously approved to receive these honorary doctorates at the September Board of Trustees meeting.

These individuals personify what it means to support ones alma mater,said UNA President Ken Kitts. Both as students, in their professional careers, and in their retirement, they have kept UNA in their hearts and at the center of their. It sets a strong example of loyalty and excellence from which we may all learn.

About The University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences,

Business, Education and Human Sciences, and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. UNA Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Big South Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/