TUSCALOOSA, Ala. [Aug. 31, 2023] - Each year, The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama honors civic leaders and trailblazers that have made an impact on the quality, livability and economic progress of our community. The Civic Hall of Fame was born during The Chamber’s 100th anniversary year in 2000 and is designed to honor exceptional citizens who have made significant, long-term contributions to the overall development of Tuscaloosa County.
Organizations, businesses and individual citizens submitted nominations for the 2023 class. These were reviewed by a committee and honorees were selected.
Honorees will be inducted into the Civic Hall of Fame on Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Tuscaloosa River Market.
The 2023 Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame honorees are:
Christine S. Coleman
Christine Spencer Coleman (1931-) has served as a positive force in civic and charitable activities in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for many years. According to those who know her best, she is described as a woman who leaves her fingerprints just about everywhere she goes. You can tell when she touches something because she leaves it better that she found it.
Christine became active in Civil Rights and the Voter Rights Movement in Tuscaloosa during the sixties. She is passionate about ensuring equality for all citizens. As a community activist, Christine’s civic and community engagements range from volunteering to political activism.
She possesses a desire to make her community better by encouraging and motivating others to make a difference in society by becoming involved with the community. Christine is known for her commitment to promoting Voters Education and Registration. She has assisted many citizens to become registered to vote.
Her past leadership roles include board membership with: Maude Whatley Health Services, Benjamin Barnes YMCA, McDonald Hughes Center. She was the past commissioner for the Tuscaloosa Housing Authority. Currently, she is serving as President of the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Alabama District 22, Treasurer for the Tuscaloosa Chapter of the Alabama Democratic Conference and Chairperson for Tuscaloosa Affordable Housing.
She has devoted her life to serving God. She is a member of Elizabeth Baptist Church. She has served as a facilitator in helping to establish various partnerships between church and community.
She is a member of the International Masons and Order of the Eastern Star since 1964 and currently she is Grand Matron Emeritus of the state of Alabama.
Christine is very active at age 92 and she has no plans to stop advocating to make her community the best in the nation. Through her strong faith in God and mankind she plans to continue her pursuit to impact Tuscaloosa in positive way.
She is the mother of two sons (one deceased), 4 grandchildren, and a great grandson.
Beverly M. "Bev" Leigh, III
Bev Leigh, III was born in Meridian, MS on May 18, 1947, to Col. Beverly M. Leigh Jr. and Fay Breyer Leigh.
His family moved to Tuscaloosa in the Fall of 1964 following his Father's lengthy career in the U.S. Army.
Leigh graduated from the University of Alabama where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. Upon graduation he proudly served his country through the U.S. Air Force, was married and returned to Tuscaloosa to begin a successful 40-year career in mortgage banking making the dream of home ownership a reality for thousands of Alabamians.
During his banking career, Bev became well known for supporting local civic groups and charities through fundraising and community service. He began serving the West Alabama Chapter of the American Red Cross as a Board Member, a position that he held for 35 years. After retiring from banking, he took the reins of Red Cross as Community Chapter Executive over its eight-county area. It was during this time that he led the Chapter in the response during and after the disastrous and deadly April 2011 tornado that struck Tuscaloosa. He was recognized in 1997 and 2009 as the Chapter's Volunteer of the Year for his leadership and, specifically, in addressing the victims of house fires. Other contributions included founding the Annual West Alabama Food and Wine Festival and its Annual Motorcycle Rides benefiting the West Alabama Chapter.
Bev has been heavily involved in numerous civic and charitable organizations in Tuscaloosa and across West Alabama. Some of his leadership roles include:
In 2018 Bev was honored to be selected by the Community Foundation of West Alabama as a Pillar of West Alabama.
Bev's interest in, and passion for, the outdoors and conservation were spawned by his strong relationship with his father, the late Col. Beverly M. Leigh Jr., who was an avid quail hunter. Early in life, Bev became active in Ducks Unlimited and became its Volunteer Area Director for West Alabama while earning Ducks Unlimited Distinguished Service Award. He is the former Chairman and current Board member of the Tuscaloosa County Natural Resource Planning Committee which showcases beautiful farms exhibiting best farming practices across West Alabama.
In the spring of 1968, he harvested his first Alabama Wild Turkey and was hooked on the sport. In 1985 he chartered the Alabama & Tuscaloosa Chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation and remains active in both award-winning Chapters. He then went on to charter other WTF Chapters across Alabama that now number 60. Bev Co-founded the WTF Upper Level Giving Diamond Life Sponsor Program which became the model for North America. In 2009 he was honored with the prestigious C.B. McCloud National Award, which is given each year to a WTF Volunteer who has "dedicated his or her life to wildlife, conservation and preserving the country's hunting heritage." As President of the NWTF Tuscaloosa Chapter he led it to the "Most Outstanding Chapter in Alabama Award" in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. His Tuscaloosa WTF Chapter was recently inducted into the prestigious Million & Half Dollar Club for generating over $1.5 million for Conservation and Hunting Heritage.
Bev is an original organizer of the 2002 Annual Alabama Governor's One-Shot Turkey Hunt that was started in Tuscaloosa to recruit industry for Alabama, retain existing Alabama Industry and promote Alabama Tourism. The "Hunt" been and continues to be a strong economic driver for both West Alabama and the State of Alabama. Bev continues to serve on the Governor's Hunt Committee and is currently chairing the Live and Silent Auction Committee for Governor Kay Ivey.
In 2018 Bev was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Treasure Forest Award "For Outstanding Dedication & Commitment to Wildlife Conservation, Education & preservation of our Hunting Heritage,” presented by the Tuscaloosa County Natural Resources Planning Committee and the W. Kelly Mosley Environmental Awards Program Committee.
Bev is also a history buff and is active in the Black Warrior River Chapter Sons of the American Revolution.
Bev and his Wife Nancy proudly support Alabama Athletics as Tide Pride members and are both members of Tuscaloosa's First United Methodist Church.
Dr. Pamela H. Parker
Pamela Hughey Parker, Ph.D., is an Alabama native born in 1958 who has made her home in Tuscaloosa for more than 40 years. Earning three degrees from The University of Alabama, Pam Parker has achieved success as an innovative administrator, fundraising professional and servant leader in our community. Her contributions continue to make a powerful impact on children, families, non-profit organizations and fellow citizens in all walks of life.
During her 25-year tenure at UA, Pam rose through the ranks in the Office of Advancement and was named Vice President of the division in 2007. In that capacity, she led the most successful capital fundraising campaign for that time and was recognized as the Alabama Fundraising Professional of the Year and recipient of The University of Alabama Distinguished Alumna Award, as well as numerous other honors.
In addition to her service as a senior member of the UA President’s administrative team until her retirement in 2011, Pam continues to mentor and advise students, faculty, staff, alumni and business leaders on wide-ranging issues. Her interests and expertise span the arts, literacy, leadership and social outreach programs, recreation, ministerial initiatives in the Episcopal church and the ever-growing non-profit community. She played a key role as fundraising chair for the Tuscaloosa Bicentennial celebration.
As president, she led the Tuscaloosa Rotary Club, the Tuscaloosa Junior League, Theatre Tuscaloosa, the University Club and the Alabama Boychoir, also serving as a member or committee chair on dozens of diverse volunteer boards. She was selected as Tuscaloosa’s Citizen of the Year in 2019 and was named a Stillman College First Female Award recipient the same year. Her contributions of time and talent to the United Way of West Alabama and its member agencies are woven throughout her career.
One hallmark of Pam Parker’s legacy is her commitment to childhood literacy. She helped launch the innovative Book Buddies program, a volunteer-based tutorial initiative to enable children to read on grade level in the Tuscaloosa City and County Schools. Book Buddies, which has been rebranded as Reading Allies, is a model for the state, partnering young students with trained community volunteers who supplement classroom teaching with one-on-one reading instruction. Scores of participating children have achieved double-digit increases in reading skills and comprehension through this groundbreaking effort.
Pam Parker is married to Ed Parker and has two children and two grandchildren and is an active member of Christ Episcopal Church.
Ellen W. Potts
A native of Huntsville, Ellen Woodward Potts was born to George and Mary Anne Chapman Woodward, and watched throughout her life as her parents modeled service to their church and community.
Ellen received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Birmingham - Southern College (partially funded by a voice scholarship) and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Alabama. She met husband Daniel while singing in the BSC Concert Choir. Ellen began her career in medical management with practices in several specialties in Mobile and Birmingham.
After moving to Tuscaloosa in 1997, Ellen focused her efforts on the broader community. A lifelong Presbyterian, she has served as an elder, deacon, choir member, soloist, teacher, children’s choir director, committee member and soup bowl van driver at First Presbyterian Church. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa and of the Chief Tuskaloosa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. From 2005 through 2017, she served on the board and as chair of Development for Living River: A Retreat on the Cahaba. In recognition of her efforts, a youth cabin was named in her honor in 2015.
Ellen also served on the board of Caring Days Adult Daycare Center, including two terms as president during the capital campaign to build the Mal and Charlotte Moore Center. Based on Ellen and Daniel’s experiences with 8 family members who had Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia, the couple co-authored A Pocket Guide for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver in 2011, so others could benefit from their family’s experiences. The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America were among those which recommended the book as a resource. During that time, Ellen was a regular contributor to Maria Shriver’s website and was designated by Ms. Shriver as an Architect of Change for her dementia advocacy at local and national levels.
Upon moving to Tuscaloosa, a neighbor invited Ellen to serve on Habitat for Humanity of Tuscaloosa’s homeowner selection committee, and in 2013 she stepped down from the Habitat board to become executive director. During her tenure, the organization was a key player in Tuscaloosa’s recovery from the catastrophic April 27, 2011 tornado, with more than 100 new homes constructed and over 500 existing homes repaired since the storm. Looking to the future, Habitat Tuscaloosa has acquired more than 125 lots under Ellen’s leadership, including 75 in the last two years. As part of the organization’s Operation Transformation initiative, Habitat Tuscaloosa will build two new neighborhoods in West Tuscaloosa — Milestone and Westgrove— before the end of the decade and will use the build sites to train young people for the construction trades.
Over the years, Ellen has taught classes in two colleges at the University of Alabama. She also has been recognized in several ways: the Nick’s Kids Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, the Birmingham - Southern College Distinguished Alumni Award, the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa Rotary Rose Award, the Edith Dailey Walton Outstanding Humanitarian Award, and the Association of the U.S. Army (West Alabama Chapter) Outstanding Women of the Year Award.
Ellen is most proud of her beautiful family. Daughter Julia Margaret, a Birmingham – Southern chemistry graduate and an alumna of the University of Alabama School of Law, is an attorney in Birmingham. After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from BSC, daughter Maria Christian is pursuing a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience at West Virginia University. Ellen’s husband of 34 years, Daniel, serves our country’s veterans as a neurologist at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, and works tirelessly as an internationally recognized teacher and advocate for people living with dementia and their care partners.
The 2023 Civic Hall of Fame ceremony is presented by The University of Alabama.
Gold Sponsors: Award Company of America, Lamar Advertising
Silver Sponsors: City of Tuscaloosa, Hudson Poole Fine Jewelers
Music by: NimiWari Music, LLC
For more information, contact Marlee Williams at email@example.com
About the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama
The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama is a Tuscaloosa County-based pro-business advocacy organization serving more than 65,000 working men and women through more than 1,300 business enterprises, civic organizations and education institutions.
The mission of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama is to provide the leadership, vision and catalyst for the advancement of the economic prosperity, business climate and quality of life for the entire community.