Betsy Inglesby is an English professor at the University of Montevallo originally from Savannah, Georgia who began teaching at the university in the fall of 2007. She is photographed with her dog in Shoal Creek Park, a 167-acre property donated to the city by the Mahler family.
What Montevallo Is
“I think I would say it’s a town that’s centrally focused on the university and yet has its own interesting heart to it, even without the university. It’s a beautiful historic place that understands the need to preserve the heritage of the Olmsted brothers [who designed the university] and the campus. I like that it’s kept its rural quality. I always tell people it looks a little like your classic Greek revival. It looks a lot like the schools I went to- University of Georgia also has that red brick, the columns. It gives you the sense that you’re part of a long tradition, and I like that about it. I like that its kept its historic character, and I hope that all the rest of the historic homes will be preserved. Montevallo does better when we hold on to the the good things from the past.”
On getting Married in Montevallo
"We were trying to bring families together from the midwest and east coast, and it ended up being a good halfway point. It allowed us to have a fairly small wedding- we had I think about 150 people there, which was perfectly fine with me. We were able to get married in the beautiful field behind our house. Dr. Mayhan kindly gave us permission to have our wedding there, and our friends helped out. Some of our wedding gifts were in the form of Sharon and Colin Williams doing our boquets, and Janice- who owns the Fox and Pheasant [bed and breakfast]- gave me my wedding dress. She used to own a wedding dress store and she had something like 40 or 50 gowns in her upstairs closet. She said ‘try this one on!’ I tried it on and she said ‘It looks great! It’s yours!’ That’s serious small town community right there- people just pitched in and were wonderful and helpful. Phil Hurst did the barbecue for our dinner… we feel like we had a real community kind of thing. And then all of our friends and family that came from afar got to meet all our local friends, which was really nice. The Pattons and Sam Webb and her husband Steve threw us a brunch the next day for all of those out of town people before they had to go home. Stephanie Batkie did my hair and makeup. It was kind of a town effort, I guess. I'm leaving people out, but I don't want to give you a list 800 miles long… lots of people were very generous and helpful. It was really nice to have all those people there, and it brought together all the different worlds for us."
On what Makes The University different
"One of the things I really like about this town is that one of its main reasons for continuing to exist was the fact that it thought it worthwhile to educate women. I think that’s pretty cool. What I like about it is that it doesn't try to be a university that’s city-slick. I think you could make even more use of the fact that we’re in a rural setting with beautiful natural areas all around us. We don’t need to try to be a school in Birmingham or a school in Montgomery. We can be in a rural setting and still offer a great education, and I think the town is supportive about that."
“I like getting to know people and feeling as though I’m going to see them in more than one capacity- I’m going to work with somebody, maybe I’m going to be a committee with that person, and I’m going to socialize with them. I’m going to see my students in the classroom but I’m also gonna see them out doing service for the neighborhood, and I’m gonna see them at CVS and they’re gonna check out my groceries. I think that makes people accountable to one another. In a bigger place someone may say, ‘Well, I’m never gonna see that guy again, so I’m not gonna be very nice.’ You really can’t do that here. Even when people get in spats, you still have to figure out a way to work together, and I think that helps.”