As a vision of Mrs. Susan Halliday for several years, funding for the famous red blazers was approved by Dean James D. Yarbrough in October of 1998. An application process was quickly developed and after interviews by a committee from the Dean’s Office, twenty-four Ambassadors were selected to represent the College of Arts & Sciences. Their first duty was to assist in the recruitment of the new students at Capstone Scholars Day in January of 1999. Thus, the tradition of excellence by example began.
Since the founding, Ambassadors have been selected from an elite group of applicants in the spring semester of each academic year. In the fall of 2001, Dean Robert Olin became the faculty advisor and with Mrs. Halliday’s support the Ambassadors were organized into an officially-recognized student organization by the University and the Executive Board was appointed. This first Executive Board, led by President Andrew Todd, worked to draw up a constitution for the organization, declared the intended functions and goals of the Ambassadors to the University, and worked to publicize the group on campus and in the community.
Beginning with the first appearance at Capstone Scholars Day, the Ambassadors have become involved in a number of recruitment and community service activities through the College. Regular activities of the group now include Blount Scholars Program special functions, Leadership Board meetings, faculty BBQs, pre-football game events, Homecoming, faculty receptions, holiday receptions, special dinners, the McCollough Pre-Medical Scholars Forum, Benefactors Dinner, Science Olympiad, Arty Party, Honors Week, and graduation events.
The Ambassadors currently work with Dean Joseph Messina and the current advisor, Kevin Reid, on many exciting activities for the upcoming year. Their biggest initiative is raising money for a new student scholarship. The Rising Tide Scholarship campaign started in 2014 in an effort to create more scholarship opportunities for A&S students in need. The Ambassadors and their unofficial mascot, Baby Al, can be seen all around campus encouraging students, faculty, staff, and alumni to donate towards their cause.