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

Retired general to speak on leadership


The University of Alabama will welcome retired Lt. Gen. William Bud Forster, a three-star general and UA alumnus, back to campus on Oct. 21 to speak about his experiences with leadership and how lessons he learned as a young adult helped to prepare him for the life he has led.

Forster will be in Room 205 of Gorgas Library at 11 a.m. Friday. The lecture will be open to the public, and students are encouraged to attend.

Forster’s list of accomplishments include serving and leading in the United States Armed Forces, becoming vice president of Northrop Grumman Corp, a major research firm in Hunstville, Ala., earning a doctorate in nuclear chemistry from the University of California and managing the Kiowa and Apache flight programs.

Forster said managing the flight programs was primarily a test of leadership and technical skills.

“The training and leadership experience I got from the Army and technical experience from UA and UC helped in developing and transitioning [Kiowa and Apache] helicopters,” Forster said.

Forster led a distinguished military career and received over 30 awards for service. He said the most important facet of the military, however, is the life lessons that can be used both in military and civilian life.

Lt. Col. Jim Shaver, of the UA Army ROTC, agreed with Forster’s statement.

“We encourage our ROTC cadets to attend the lecture; leadership is something you need to have whether you are in military or corporate America,” Lt. Col. Shaver said.

After his military career, Forster became the first Army officer chosen for astronaut training, according to a recent press release from the University.  He said he truly believes that a strong foundation is of utmost importance for success in all areas of life.

“It’s important to learn the fundamentals at an early period in your life. I was afforded that opportunity at UA,” Forster said. “A professor my senior year, who probably gave me more authority than I deserved, allowed me to be a lab instructor, and this helped me to understand my potential.”

Don Hays, an assistant to Dean Robert Olin of the College of Arts and Sciences, was quick to mention the honor in having Forster give a speech at the University.

“The lecture series brings in distinguished alumni who can inspire the students and say, ‘Hey, I was like you at one point … not knowing where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do,’” Hays said.

The Mills lecture series was created by an endowment given by Helen Crow Mills and the late Dr. John Mills.  The endowment was established in order to bring in distinguished alumni speakers to inspire students at the University and give them a sense of what is possible through hard work and perseverance.

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