Charles Collat, chairman emeritus of Mayer Electric Supply Co. Inc., Birmingham, Ala., received the honorary degree Doctor of Humanities for his civic and philanthropic efforts during the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) commencement exercises May 9. Collat grew Mayer into one of the city's largest privately held corporations and one of the nation's 15 largest electrical distributors.

Collat is equally well-known and respected around Birmingham for his civic and philanthropic career, which has included support for education, health care and family services. He served on the boards of directors and has been an active member of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind Foundation, United Way and the Birmingham Area Boy Scouts. He also founded the Birmingham Jewish Foundation's Collat Jewish Family Services Fund , which provides families with financial and emotional support, and assists senior adults in leading full and independent lives.

The Collats have funded numerous university programs through personal contributions as well as gifts from Mayer Electric Supply Co. and the Mayer Electric Supply Foundation, including the establishment of the UAB School of Business Ben S. Weil Endowed Chair of Industrial Distribution in honor of Patsy Collat's father, founder of Mayer Electric. In 2007, the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees recognized the Collats' contributions by renaming the program the Charles and Patsy Collat Industrial Distribution Program.

In other news, Mayer Electric Supply was ranked No. 14 on a list of the 500 largest diversity-owned businesses in the United States by DiversityBusiness.com. The website has published the list for nine years to highlight companies that represent the nation's multicultural and woman-owned businesses and challenge the notion that a privately held business is small or insignificant.

“We are very pleased to be among the top diversity businesses in America, but we are even more proud that so many of our customers have trusted Mayer as a partner and a supplier to their businesses,” said Nancy Collat Goedecke, Mayer's chairman and CEO, accepting the award at a conference in April.

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