Michael E. Stephens

Champion for Rehabilitation Services

Michael E. Stephens (1943-2017) was born in Selma and, as a champion for those with physical disabilities, founded the Lakeshore Foundation in 1984. In 1970 he suffered a spinal cord injury from a diving accident. That injury, and the recovery process, changed the focus of Stephens's life and ultimately had a profound impact on his personal, professional, civic, and philanthropic activities. After intensive rehabilitation during which he learned to walk again, he returned to the University of Montevallo in 1973 to complete a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business. He then went on to earn a Master of Science Degree from the School of Health Professions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In 1975 Mr. Stephens became executive director of Lakeshore Hospital, a small rehabilitation facility. Based on his experiences he was determined to eliminate the fragmentation of services that often hampered the recovery of people with physical disabilities. During the next decade, he transformed Lakeshore Hospital into a model organization for providing sports, recreation, fitness, and research programs for those with physical disabilities. Because of this success, it was designated as an official US Olympic and Paralympic training site. Stephens was significantly involved with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), serving as a trustee, a member of its Leadership Council, and a member of the USOC Chairmans Circle. The Stephens College of Business at the University of Montevallo is named in his honor.