Pat Scales ’66 graduated with a degree in elementary education from Alabama College, now known as the University of Montevallo, but she had a different goal in mind than teaching in the classroom setting.
Scales’ love of children’s books inspired her true calling and she retired following a distinguished career as a middle and high school librarian before teaching children’s and young adult literature at Furman University for 27 years. Scales is a passionate free-speech advocate and is currently a freelance writer authoring articles and books about censorship and children’s free-speech rights.
Scales will be recognized for her life’s work with the 2023 Roll of Honor Award during the upcoming American Library Association’s annual conference in Chicago in June.
“I really didn’t want to be a teacher, but I loved the idea of being a librarian,” Scales said. “Montevallo is where I fell in love with children’s literature. I lived in Carmichael Library reading the children’s books and researching for various term papers. I have always credited my liberal arts background for my success.”
Scales discovered her passion on the red brick streets, which immediately felt like home after her move-in day experience. Scales moved in on the same day as the daughter of a former classmate of her mother, and the two families discovered their children were born in the same hospital just 13 days apart.
“The school was small enough that you could get to know a lot of people,” Scales said. “My family left Mobile when I was a year old, and my mother lost contact with her friend. On the day they reunited (at Alabama College) another friendship was formed.”
Scales said her mother graduated from Alabama College in 1937 and was instrumental in her decision to attend the institution, which she’s thankful for to this day.
“She began taking me to College Night when I was in junior high school,” Scales said. “I think this was my mother’s way of saying ‘you will go to Montevallo.’ I have never regretted the choice.”
Scales is an avid reader and needle pointer who loves theatre and music. She said she never grows tired of visiting New York.
Following her career, Scales gifted her entire children’s book collection to UM and has continued to provide financial support for the special collections room and the lecture series that is her namesake.
Scales is also a donor to the Same Sweet Girls Scholarship Fund named for Montevallo alums who developed a friendship that has lasted for 61 years. The Same Sweet Girls continue to gather for a long weekend each year.
“I think it’s important to pay it forward to ensure that students have the same quality education we received,” Scales said. “I hope, too, that donors are role models for students so that one day they will donate, because we are all in this together.”
Scales encourages current students to remain committed to life-long learning based on the liberal arts foundation a UM education provides.
“You don’t quit learning when you graduate college,” Scales said. “Travel, read, attend cultural events and grow intellectually. Montevallo planted the seed. It’s up to you to let it grow.”