Alabama Academy of Honor


Robert E. Witt

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2011.



Robert E. Witt was born September 16, 1940, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He received his Bachelor of Arts in economics from Bates College in 1962, his MBA from Tuck School at Dartmouth College in 1964, and his Ph.D. in Business Administration from Penn State in 1968. He served in various positions in The University of Texas System for 35 years, including president of U.T. Arlington and dean of the Business School at U.T. Austin. He was appointed president of The University of Alabama in March 2003.

Under his leadership, The University of Alabama undertook an ambitious plan for academic growth and achievement. As a result of this plan, enrollment has grown rapidly and in fall 2011 reached 31,747, an increase of 62% since fall 2002. The fall 2011 freshman class, at 5,772 students, is the largest in the University’s history, and one out of every four freshmen had a 4.0 or higher high school grade point average. The University has planned carefully for this unprecedented growth, adding faculty, facilities, and support functions. It has opened more than 40 new facilities, including 10 new residence halls, since January 2003.

The University of Alabama ranked 6th nationally among public universities in the enrollment of National Merit Scholars in 2010 and leads the nation in the number of students named to USA Today’s All-USA College Academic Teams. Since 2003, the University has placed 46 students on the team, including a record 10 in 2010. The University of Alabama perennially ranks among the top 50 public universities in the nation in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings and ranked 34th among public universities in the 2011 rankings. During his tenure, the University’s loyal alumni and friends continue to provide a high level of support. The University raised over $612 million in the “Our Students, Our Future” capital campaign that ended in June 2009.

Witt also is active outside the University. He serves on the board of directors of the Black Warrior Council Boy Scouts of America, the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority, and the American Cast Iron Pipe Company. During his impressive career, he has received numerous awards, honors, and recognitions for teaching excellence, and in 2010 received the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama’s Distinguished Service Award.

Witt and his wife Sandee have three children and five grandchildren.