TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - When it came time to select a naming opportunity to officially recognize the Robert C. Thurber Family's $100,000 gift to the Crimson Tide Foundation, Robert Thurber passed the buck, so to speak. "I let the boys decide," he said, referring to his sons Christopher and Ben.
Citing a tradition of great running backs throughout Tide football history, the Thurber boys chose the running backs' meeting room, and during ceremonies Friday afternoon in the Mal Moore Athletic Facility, this naming right was solidified. From this point forward, all meetings of the Alabama running backs and coaches will take place in the Robert C. Thurber Family Running Backs' Meeting Room.
"I've had a deep love of my state and the Alabama football program all my life," said Thurber, a Mobile native and currently vice president of merchandising for Sysco Corporation in Houston, Texas. "It goes back to the early sixties when Coach Bryant would come down to Mobile to play golf at the Grand Hotel and my father had the opportunity to play with him several times. I love the Crimson Tide and this state. Everywhere I go, there's no one I meet who questions what state I'm from or what athletic program I follow."
Robert's passion for Crimson Tide athletics is shared by his wife Julie, a Fayetteville, Arkansas native and America's Junior Miss in 1975. In 1977, the two met through Robert's dad, who at the time was serving on the board of the America's Junior Miss program. Shortly thereafter, Robert and Julie married and for almost 30 years have been passionately following the Crimson Tide. The Thurbers' oldest son Christopher is a 2003 UA graduate, while youngest son Ben is currently a sophomore at the Capstone.
Robert has a servant's heart in his views on giving, as evidenced by his serving on boards of several Houston area charities and as a board member of the Bo Jackson Foundation, named for the former Auburn running back. "We are certainly happy to make this gift to the Crimson Tide Foundation and we hope we can do more someday," he said. "But giving is more than just financial opportunities; it's a mindset that we should also give to others our time and our knowledge. This type of giving is very important in my life."
The naming of the Running Backs' Meeting Room is one of 125 naming opportunities available through gifts to the Crimson Tradition Fund, the Athletic Department's $120 million facilities improvement campaign that began in March 2002.