Birmingham, Ala.- Four distinguished graduates will speak to the crowd gathered to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and celebrate the institution's inaugural University Day Thursday, Sept. 24.
Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend as UAB recognizes "Forty Years of Breakthroughs" during a convocation that will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Alys Stephens Center Jemison Concert Hall, 1200 10th Ave. South.
The ceremony, led by UAB President Carol Z. Garrison and UAB Provost Eli Capilouto, also will feature 40 distinguished UAB alumni representing the graduating classes from 1969 to 2009. Chancellor Malcolm Portera of the University of Alabama System will speak, and the four graduates, one from each decade - Tommie Cummings, George Little, Marquita Furness Davis and Brian Sims - will present remarks during the ceremony.
Cummings is a partner in the Birmingham accounting firm Frost Cummings LLP. She joined the firm in 1987 after 12 years with Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young), where she was the first woman executive in the Birmingham office. Her experience as a business advisor spans a variety of emerging high-tech businesses to medium-sized companies with complex operations in multiple states. She is a member of the School of Business Dean's Advisory Board and is a past president of the UAB National Alumni Society. She earned her B.S. in accounting from UAB in 1975.
Little is president and chief operations officer for HDR Engineering Inc. Since he became president in 1997, the Omaha-based company has grown to more than 5,800 employees in 180 offices, earned revenue in excess of $1.1 billion and made numerous acquisitions across the United Sates and Canada. Little earned his B.S. in electrical engineering from UAB in 1981.
Davis is commissioner of the Alabama Department of Children's Affairs. In this position appointed by Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, Davis manages Alabama's Children's Policy Councils, Head Start Collaboration Office, Office of School Readiness (Pre-K), Alabama Parent Network, Zero-Five Initiative and the Alabama Resource Management System (ARMS). She earned her Ph.D. in early childhood education and child development from UAB in 1998.
Sims is an assistant professor of pediatrics at UAB. His research in neonatology focuses on closing racial health disparities, and is a dedicated mentor of minority students. He was nationally recognized with a Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for research on premature brain injury. He earned his M.D./Ph.D. from UAB School of Medicine in 1998 (Ph.D.) and 2000 (M.D.) and B.S. in biology in 1991.
The convocation will be followed by a joint luncheon of the UAB National Alumni Society and the UAB Leadership Cabinet, during which the ninth annual Alumni Leadership Recognition Awards will be presented. The invitation-only luncheon will be held at The Club atop Red Mountain, overlooking the UAB campus.
The UAB Student Alumni Society is coordinating a food drive during the 40th anniversary celebration to respond to Birmingham community needs. Canned and non-perishable food items are being collected at locations across campus and distributed to area food banks. Call 205-934-3555 for more details on the food drive.
UAB enrolled its first students as an autonomous campus in the three-campus University of Alabama System in September 1969. A chronology of its growth and development is online at http://www.uab.edu/historical/uabchron.html.
Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center and the state of Alabama's largest employer with some 18,000 employees and an economic impact of more than $3 billion on the Birmingham area. UAB has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service to America's communities, and in 2008 ranked nationally as one of the top 5 "Best Places to Work in Academia" in a survey published by The Scientist magazine. For more information, please visit www.uab.edu.