September 14, 2009
A Life Well Lived: James P. Hayes Jr.
In June 2008, the “Our Students. Our Future.” campaign team lost one of its most compelling voices: James P. Hayes Jr., known simply as Jim. His ceaseless efforts and ideas, as well as his vast network of friends and associates throughout the state, were vital to the campaign’s achievements. “He was a big part of the early momentum and enthusiasm,” says co-chair Carl E. Jones Jr., who grew up near Hayes in Escambia County and counted him as a longtime friend.
“Jim was a charismatic personality—everybody loved him,” says campaign co-chair C. Kemmons Wilson Jr. “He was as bold and brash as they come.”
A UA graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering, Hayes headed the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and was a member of the UA President’s Cabinet. He also served multiple roles in state government over the years, including revenue commissioner, land commissioner and senior adviser to then-governor Don Siegelman. The University recognized Hayes' achievements on numerous occasions, naming him alumnus of the year in 1994 and awarding him an honorary doctorate a decade later.
Even as his health declined in later years, he was still “the life of the party,” Wilson says. “He had been battling health issues for quite some time, but you’d never have known it.”
Hayes’ co-chairs agree that his influence lifted the campaign to its success. “Jim always was a forward thinker on the campaign,” Wilson says. “He made a big, big impact and contribution for which we are all most grateful.”