The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship announces that Stephen Black, Founder and Director of the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at The University of Alabama, and President and Chair of the Board of Directors of Impact America, was honored with the Schweitzer Leadership Award from the Alabama chapter of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. Black was recognized for his work that has enabled thousands of undergraduate and graduate students to serve as effective, engaged, and ethical citizens, and assist them in developing a moral and civic maturity. His programs have enabled students to provide free vision screenings and tax assistance to poor families and individuals across the country since 2006.
Black received his award at the Alabama Schweitzer Fellowship program’s annual Celebration of Service dinner, held Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at B&A Warehouse in Birmingham.
“Stephen Black recognizes that one of the most constructive responses to social injustice is to help students develop understanding and empathy through direct service, sometimes to people in their own communities, and sometimes to people from very different life situations. Helping a fast food worker claim a tax refund, and in the process learning exactly how he has to allocate his dollars just to survive, conveys a powerful social lesson for a student who might have grown up in Mountain Brook or Opelika. Like Albert Schweitzer, he models his ideals not with words but with action,” said Dr. Stefan Kertesz, Chair of the Alabama Schweitzer Program.
Black is an attorney who studied law at Yale University; he is also the grandson of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. Black grew up in New Mexico after his family left Alabama following his grandfather’s votes to dismantle segregation in Civil Rights cases, including Brown v. Board of Education. He returned to Alabama after finishing law school to work for the Birmingham firm Maynard, Cooper, & Gale, P.C. Black eventually turned to public service and worked as an assistant to former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman where he focused on policy and economic development. Subsequently, Black founded the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at The University of Alabama where he has had a profound impact on the lives of students and those that they serve.
In addition to honoring Black, the Celebration of Service recognized the service of the graduating 2016-2017 Fellowship class, and the incoming 2017-2018 class of Fellows were welcomed to the program.
The Alabama Schweitzer program is housed in the School of Medicine, and operates with support from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Schools of Dentistry, Health Professions, Nursing, and Public Health. It is one of 16 such programs throughout the United States and in Lambaréné, Gabon, at the site of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital. Fellows are graduate students who commit to a year of service during which they learn effective strategies and leadership skills to address the social factors that impact health. In doing so, they model their service after the life example set by pioneering physician-humanitarian and Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who was one of the 20th century’s most admired global citizens.