September 14, 2009

Continuing to Impact UA Students

On the field, Crimson Tide linebacker Victor Ellis was an Academic All-SEC player, a four-year letterman and a member of Alabama’s 1999 Southeastern Conference championship team.

“Off the field,” says Athletic Director Mal Moore, “Victor was a caring person who put other people first. He had such a bright personality and charisma. Anyone who hung around Victor became a better person for it.”

The Red Bank, Tenn., native played for the Tide from 1998 to 2001. He graduated in 2002 with a degree in communications and then became an out-of-state recruiter for UA in the Carolinas.

His friends say Victor considered his job to be a privilege. As a recruiter, he wanted every student to have an opportunity to study at the University and be a part of this experience. He especially cared for those students who couldn’t come to UA without some financial assistance.

“The University was wise to hire Victor as a full-time recruiter,” Moore says. “Right now, we have students from North Carolina and South Carolina who are here because of Victor Ellis. That’s the impact he had on folks.”

In 2007, Victor was diagnosed with medullary renal cell carcinoma, a vicious cancer that spread rapidly through his body. He passed away on March 25, 2008. Even at the end, Victor smiled when anyone mentioned The University of Alabama.

Donald Morton, the attorney who helped Victor draft his will, says that helping students was a priority for Victor, and his will included provisions to establish a scholarship to help worthy non-athlete students attend the University. “The time he spent at the University brought him incredible happiness,” says Morton, “and knowing that he could help someone have this same experience gave him so much joy.”

“Victor’s legacy here will be far-reaching,” says Moore. “We are honored that he was a University of Alabama football letterman. He was also an outstanding student who just happened to play football. He touched so many lives in his 28 years, and he will have an impact on so many more through his scholarship. That’s what he wanted–to help others, to give people a chance—and he did that and did it with a smile.”

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