Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. and Board Vice President pro-tempore Lamar P. Higgins present Trustee Gerald O. Dial with the honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
For Troy University Trustee Gerald Dial, December brought with it a pair of honors that he never dreamed he would receive.
In a span of two days, the Delta, Alabama native, who has been a member of the University Board of Trustees since 1991 including two terms as the board’s President pro tempore, had a building named in his honor and received an honorary doctoral degree.
On Dec. 12, the Board of Trustees approved a resolution that the residence hall building currently known as Trojan Village 400 be named Gerald O. Dial Hall to “honor Senator Dial’s long and distinguished record of service to Alabama and Troy University.”
The following day, during fall commencement ceremonies on the Troy Campus, Dial was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
“It’s overwhelming. I never dreamed of this and it was never part of my goal,” Dial said. “It has been an honor to work with the Board and Dr. Hawkins through the years. There is no University anywhere that I can think of that has undergone the transformation that Dr. Hawkins has brought about here at TROY. For me to be able to play a small part in that has been very rewarding.”
Dial’s commitment to public service doesn’t stop with his service to the University. He holds the distinction of having been one of the longest-serving members of the Alabama Legislature, serving in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1974 through 1982 and the Alabama Senate from 1983 until 2006 and again from 2010 until he left office in 2018.
Dial also served in the Alabama National Guard for 37 years, retiring at the rank of Brigadier General.
His commitment to higher education in the state was recognized in 2017 when he received the Alabama Higher Education Partnership’s Alumni Advocates Leadership Award.
Dial was honored last August as he passed the President pro-tempore’s gavel to current President pro-tempore C. Gibson Vance.
“I couldn’t have had a better chairman to work with over the last eight years than Gerald Dial,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. said at that time. “We would not be a doctoral degree-granting university without his leadership and continued commitment to Troy University and its students. He has led and will continue to serve our board with integrity.”