Alabama Academy of Honor


Earl Roger Sayers

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1993.



Earl Roger Sayers first saw the light of day in Sterling, Illinois, on July 20, 1936. He spent much of his childhood in Rock Falls, Illinois, where he received his elementary and high school education.

Roger Sayers earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in 1958. He later attended Cornell University from which he received both a master's degree in 1961 and a Ph.D. in 1964.

Dr. Sayers began his teaching career as a teacher's assistant at Cornell University where he engaged in research at the same time.

In 1963 Roger Sayers came to the University of Alabama as an assistant professor of biology. He was named acting head of that department in 1966, acting head of the Arboretum, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and acting aean of the School of Administration are among the many administrative positions he has held at the university. In 1980 he was appointed academic vice president and was appointed head of that post the following year. Dr. Sayers held that position until he was named acting president of the university in 1988. The Board of Directors of the University of Alabama Systems chose Roger Sayers to serve as president of the University of Alabama in 1989.

Since becoming president of the University, he has insisted on quality research programs and economic development. He also has emphasized the University's ties to K-12 education and its responsibilities for setting admission standards that challenge Alabama's youth.

Dr. Sayers has been active in civic affairs, having served as Chairman of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, Black Warrior Boy Scouts Council and Alabama Supercomputer Authority, to name just a few.

Dr. Sayers is ever mindful that the University of Alabama's chief currency is credibility. He continues to be outspoken on educational responsibility.

Roger Sayers is married to the former Marla Stephenson, and they are the parents of five children and grandparents of one grandchild.