December 11, 2018

University of Montevallo celebrates Fall Commencement

Myla Calhoun and Dr. John W. Stewart III

On Friday, Dec. 7, the University of Montevallo recognized 159 students for the completion of degrees at UM’s Fall Commencement held in the McChesney Student Activity Center.

Myla E. Calhoun, president of Alabama Power Foundation and vice president of Charitable Giving for Alabama Power delivered the keynote address to the graduates, along with family members and friends.

Calhoun spoke highly of the education students receive at Montevallo. “A liberal arts education is as vital and relevant as ever,” she said. This type of education prepares students to enter any field with not only the knowledge of their concentrated area of study, but also a broad-based understanding of humanities and sciences.

In her speech, Calhoun encouraged seniors and the accompanying audience to follow three tips: “be curious, be generous and be resilient.”

Following the address, John W. Stewart III, president of the University of Montevallo, conferred 121 candidates for bachelor’s degrees and 37 candidates for graduate degrees.


Prior to joining Alabama Power, Calhoun was the general counsel and senior vice president of Regional Development and Public Policy for the Birmingham Business Alliance, where she led diverse teams focused on regional revitalization, workforce development and education initiatives, and young professional engagement.

Calhoun previously served as legal counsel for United States Pipe and Foundry Company, LLC. At U.S. Pipe, she was directly involved in negotiating project development agreements that led to the site selection and construction of the company’s Marvel City Mini-Mill in Bessemer, the first ductile iron pipe facility built in the United States in more than 60 years. Before joining U.S. Pipe, Calhoun worked with Spain & Gillon, LLC, where her practice focused on urban renewal and revitalization, municipal finance and governmental affairs.

She is a 2018 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow and a member of the advisory board for Stonehenge Capital, a nationally recognized leader in community development finance. Calhoun serves on the boards of directors for the Birmingham Museum of Art, Indian Springs School and the Virginia Samford Theatre and previously served on the board of trustees at Tuskegee University. She was recently elected to the boards of directors for Children’s of Alabama and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and will begin serving on those boards Jan. 1, 2019.

Calhoun is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and The University of Alabama School of Law. She is the proud mother of two daughters.


Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, the foundation has awarded more than $200 million in grants to Alabama nonprofits, education institutions and community organizations. They are the state’s largest corporate foundation and ranks among the top 2 percent of corporate foundations nationally, funded entirely through resources independent of Alabama Power’s customers. Alabama Power also contributes gifts of time to the community through its employee volunteer group, the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO), and the retiree volunteer group, the Energizers. Together, APSO and Energizers donate nearly 100,000 volunteer hours each year.


Established in 1896, the overriding mission of the University of Montevallo, unique in higher education in Alabama, is to provide to students from throughout the state an affordable, geographically accessible, “small college” public higher educational experience of high quality, with a strong emphasis on undergraduate liberal studies and with professional programs supported by a broad base of arts and sciences, designed for their intellectual and personal growth in the pursuit of meaningful employment and responsible, informed citizenship.

To enhance student success within a vibrant campus community, the University of Montevallo provides a premier educational experience characterized by distinguished degree programs, personalized instruction delivered by highly qualified faculty and affordable tuition. Enriched by an array of opportunities, the UM experience prepares students to enter graduate or professional school or to begin their careers with an understanding of how to succeed in a constantly changing and complex world.