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  • April 26th, 2021


UA REMEMBERS APRIL 27, 2011 TORNADO WITH CEREMONY, SERVICE EVENTSDenny Chimes will ring 53 times at 5:13 p.m. on April 27 in honor of those who died from the powerful tornado that swept through Tuscaloosa County 10 years ago. A remembrance ceremony begins just after 5 p.m. at the chimes on The Quad with remarks by Dr. Stacy Jones, dean of students. Along with the ceremony, the UA Center for Service and Leadership is providing opportunities for students and employees to volunteer in Tuscaloosa and selling memorial T-shirts online with all proceeds from the sale of the shirts benefitting the Acts of Kindness Student Relief Fund. For more information contact, Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at

IN DECADE SINCE DEVASTATION, UA RESILIENCY LEADS TO LASTING CHANGEIn the aftermath of the massive tornado that tore a path through Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011, the UA and Tuscaloosa communities bonded together to recover, rebuild and grow. In the decade since the natural disaster, UA has girded its storm preparedness to become a leader in the state, opened avenues for research, and built deeper, more sustainable opportunities for students to serve the community. For more information contact, Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at

UA TO HOLD SPRING COMMENCEMENT APRIL 30-MAY 2The University of Alabama will hold spring commencement exercises on Friday, April 30 – Sunday, May 2, at Coleman Coliseum. More than 6,000 graduates are expected to receive degrees in nine ceremonies. Extensive precautions will be taken to meet health and safety standards. To limit the number of people at each event and ensure physical distancing guidelines, media are invited to the ceremony taking place at 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 30. Media are also welcome to use video from any of the ceremonies, which will be streamed in the UA Commencement website and on UA’s Facebook page. For health and safety reasons, please confirm attendance by noon, Friday, April 30, by contacting Shane Dorrill, UA Strategic Communications, at

2021 GRADUATE SHARES LINEAGE WITH 1834 ALUMNUSAttending UA is a proud family tradition for many who follow in the footsteps of generations of UA alumni who came before them. In the case of Carlisle Washburne, an Honors College student from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, her walk across the stage May 1 in Coleman Coliseum will be the continuation of a legacy that started in 1834. Washburne is the great, great, great, great granddaughter of John McLaughlin Smith who was among the first students to graduate from UA. For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at 

NURSING GRAD COMMITTED TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN COMMUNITYFor LaDarryl Banks, being a nurse is more than caring for individual patients – it’s about serving the community. Banks will graduate from The University of Alabama’s Capstone College of Nursing RN Mobility (RN to BSN) program Saturday, May 1. As an RN and office manager at Cahaba Medical Center’s West End location, a nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Care Center in Birmingham, he not only provides care to historically underserved populations but also works to improve their community, which he, too, calls home. One of his biggest areas of impact has been assisting his colleagues in securing grants for school-based health centers and COVID-19 mobile clinics in west Birmingham. For more information, contact Stephanie Pettis, UA Strategic Communications, at

GRADUATE PERSISTS FOR 20 YEARS TO EARN UA DEGREE; SAYS NEVER GIVE UP –  LaCrystal Davis always had dreams of being the first college graduate in her family. And after four separate enrollments at The University of Alabama that have spanned a total of 20 years, the 42-year-old interdisciplinary studies major will indeed be the first person in her immediate family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree at UA’s spring commencement. For more information, contact Jamon Smith, UA Strategic Communications, at

FUELED BY EXPERIENCE, SOCIAL WORK STUDENT NOW ADVOCATES FOR OTHERSDestiny McFall, a native of Florence, Alabama, broke through all the depressing statistics that weigh on children brought up through the foster care system to graduate with a master’s degree in social work after earning her bachelor’s degree in the same field a year ago. For more information contact, Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at

UA LAUNCHES TALENT DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE FOR YOUNG STUDENTSUA’s Gifted Education and Talent Development Office recently launched a new program to better support families of students capable of high levels of achievement. The Talent Identification and Development Alliance for Learners Program, or TIDALua, will allow students in grades 3-8 to have their current academic capabilities assessed virtually from home in order to support their talent development and place them in the appropriate academic environment to nurture their academic skillset. TIDALua launches UA as a leader in talent development in the region as well as nationally with the goal of supporting talented youth and their families, connecting them to appropriate programs and services at UA, and contributing to the well-being and development of the state. For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at


A LOST CONGRESSIONAL SEAT WON’T BE A SURPRISE FOR ALABAMA – The U.S. Census Bureau is set to release the congressional apportionment population counts and number of representatives for each of the 50 states by April 30, and there is a chance Alabama might lose one of its seven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The state has grown over the years, but at a much slower rate than other states, said Dr. Nyesha Black, director of socioeconomic analysis and demographics for the UA Center for Business and Economic Research. “Although it may come to head with us losing a seat now, this didn’t happen overnight or since the last census. This has been decades in the making.” Black said lack of economic development in the state’s rural areas has meant population losses, with only a handful of counties gaining people in the last decade. For more information, contact Dr. Nyesha Black at or 205-348-3757.

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The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.