The National Alumni Association created the Distinguished Alumni Awards Program in 1966 to recognize a distinguished alumnus and alumna of The University of Alabama for their contributions to the institution and the Alumni Association. The award is based on one’s loyalty and service to the University and the Association; character and personal life; professional achievement or success in chosen endeavors; and community service on local, state, or national level.

Nominations may be made by any alumnus or alumna, by any alumni chapter, or by any member of the faculty or staff of the University. All active alumni of the University are eligible to receive the award. Nominations remain active for two years. The selection committee is composed of the five immediate past presidents of the National Alumni Association and two other alumni named by the President of the Association. The senior past president shall serve as chairperson.

2023 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Marbury Rainer, 2023 University of Alabama National Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
Marbury Rainer ’70
Loretta Purdy Spencer, 2023 University of Alabama National Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
Loretta Purdy Spencer ’59

Spencer graduated from the University in 1959 with a
Bachelor of Science in education. After graduating, she
moved back to her hometown of Huntsville and began
a lifelong commitment to volunteering for the Alabama
Alumni Association that continues today.
Spencer served on the board of the Madison County
Chapter of the Alabama Alumni Association for many
years, eventually becoming president of the chapter.
Recently, Spencer and her family endowed two
scholarships through the Madison County Chapter: the
Loretta Spencer Endowed Scholarship and the John R.
Purdy Endowed Scholarship.
In 1996, Spencer was elected mayor of Huntsville,
making her the first female mayor of any of Alabama’s
four largest cities.