Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

‘Professional learner’ Rebecca-Rose Lutonsky enters her 40th year as a student at UA

Courtesy of Rebecca-Rose Lutonsky
Lutonsky graduates with a one of her many degrees in 2020.

While many people end their time as a student after four years at a university, Rebecca-Rose Lutonsky, the University’s longest-serving SGA senator, is currently in her 39th consecutive year as a student.

Lutonsky enrolled in 1985 and, after changing her major a few times, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French in 1992. Since then, she has acquired 11 degrees from the University and others from varying colleges, including a Ph.D. in instructional leadership in 2009 and a Juris Doctor from Birmingham School of Law in 2017.

“I love school. I don’t ever want to quit,” Lutonsky said. “I’m addicted to it.”

Despite earning several law degrees, she has not worked as a lawyer. She said her mother worked in a law office, so she decided to study law to address injustice.

“It is a very simple motivation, but I just wanted to make the world better,” Lutonsky said.

She said she’s accumulated over $200,000 in tuition costs over the years and has used various methods to pay for the expenses. 

“I’ve worked fast food, retail and different student jobs at The University of Alabama,” she said.

Lutonsky said that after graduating with her first degree, she wanted to become a teacher. She uses her current job as a teacher at a Jefferson County high school to fund her education.

Currently, she is pursuing a Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership. She said she chose this education path because she wanted to learn how everything works together in a school system.

“With a degree in educational leadership, I can collaborate more effectively as a team member that works more comprehensively with others towards our goals for our students,” Lutonsky said.

Lutonsky currently serves as the honorary dean of the SGA Senate. She said she first became interested in the SGA around 1990 when she would use its resources for school assignments.

“I would borrow the typewriters to write my papers in French,” Lutonsky said. “It just seemed so positive.”

Lutonsky first joined the SGA in 2003 as a graduate senator.

“I’ve learned to advocate for students and learn different things that can help you with your future,” she said.

SGA press secretary Sarah Beth Corona wrote in a statement that Lutonsky’s time in the Senate has been marked by “a showing of overwhelming support for her fellow senators and other leaders of SGA.”

“Her kindness and spirit for service has inspired many students and earned her the distinction of Dean of the Senate during two of her terms,” Corona wrote. “We greatly appreciate Senator Lutonsky’s dedication to SGA and her embodiment of ‘students serving students.’”

Lutonsky said she enjoyed working with Katie Britt, who served as the 92nd SGA president in 2003. Britt is a Republican politician who has represented Alabama in the United States Senate since 2023 and who recently delivered her party’s rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

“She was a great president who constantly worked for students,” Lutonsky said.

In 2021, Lutonsky was named honorary dean of the Senate through a resolution passed by SGA President Darius Thomas.

Lutonsky also made SGA history by being the longest-serving senator, and has currently served for 20 years.

“The Student Government Association has been a very important part of my college journey, for which I am extremely grateful,” Lutonsky said.

Lutonsky also said the University has changed a lot since she first became a student here.

“When I first enrolled at the University, I realized that donations to the University needed to increase,” Lutonsky said. 

She said she’s worked on various scholarship fundraising initiatives and appreciated the fundraising efforts the University’s stakeholders put forth to help students.

During her nearly four decades at the University, she believes it has grown in many ways.

“The infrastructure is phenomenal, it is a beautiful campus, and the level of expertise offered by our professors exemplifies an ever-growing excellence,” Lutonsky said.

Lutonsky said she plans to pursue another degree after she completes her current studies.

“I guess you could say I am a professional student,” Lutonsky said. “I just want to keep on learning.”

More to Discover