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  • July 26th, 2021

BEST BETS

UA TO HOLD SUMMER COMMENCEMENT JULY 31 – The University of Alabama will award more than 1,400 degrees during two commencement ceremonies at Coleman Coliseum Saturday, July 31. The ceremonies will follow a modified model UA used to facilitate safe and successful commencement exercises last August, December and May. No tickets will be required for guests and there are no limits to the number of guests a graduate can invite. Guest groups are to remain 3 feet apart. Face coverings are required for everyone attending the event who is not fully vaccinated. Media are invited to cover the ceremony at noon or to use video from the live webcasts, which can be found on UA’s commencement website. For more information, contact Caroline Gazzara-McKenzie, UA Communications, at caroline.mckenzie@ua.edu.

TRANSFORMATIVE UA, ALABAMA POWER, MERCEDES INITIATIVE MOVING FORWARD WITH STATE SUPPORT – The University of Alabama will construct the Smart Communities and Innovation Building on campus, subject to trustee approval, to house the Alabama Mobility and Power (AMP) initiative, a partnership between UA, Alabama Power and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, designed to meet the needs of the booming electric vehicle market and support Alabama’s transportation network. Funding for the project comes from $16.5 million of bonds issued by the Alabama Public School and College Authority. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu.

MOUNDVILLE’S SATURDAY IN THE PARK RETURNS – UA’s Moundville Archaeological Park’s Saturday in the Park returns this summer to provide a series of demonstrations and presentations related to Native American culture, archaeology, natural history, sustainable gardening and more. The July 31 event will feature archaeology and artifact identification with Bill Allen. Saturday in the Park takes place each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the Moundville Archaeological Park website. 

CURRENT COMMENT

TREND POINTS TO MORE WOMEN SPORTS IN OLYMPIC TV COVERAGE – Women athletes have received the majority of the coverage in each of the past two NBC primetime telecasts of the Summer Olympic Games, and they will likely dominate coverage again if trends continue. In 2012, women athletes received 54.8% of all primetime broadcast coverage in London; the women’s proportion was 53.7% for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. “It really is a ‘follow the American medals’ strategy that NBC tends to employ, as the percentage of time devoted to women athletes closely paralleled American women’s share of team USA medals in both London and Rio,” said Dr. Andrew Billings, the Ronald Reagan Chair of Broadcasting at The University of Alabama, and co-author of a book on Olympic television coverage. Billings and co-authors of the book will post regular updates about NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes throughout the 2020 Summer Games on the website FiveRingTV.com and on Twitter.  For more information, contact Billings at acbillings@ua.edu or Adam Jones, UA Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu

WITH EYE ON INFLATION, ALABAMA ECONOMY REMAINS STRONG – Alabama’s economy is expected to grow about 6% in 2021 and employment is expected to increase about 3% as jobs continue to be added, said Ahmad Ijaz, executive director of the UA Center for Business and Economic Research. However, businesses continue to have difficulties in hiring because of retirements, child care issues and business supply constraints, he said. “The economy continues to remain on solid footing,” Ijaz said. Inflation is a concern in the short term, but once supply chain and labor force issues settle, possibly at the end of 2021, prices should begin to settle and possibly drop in some areas. “Inflation is definitely a concern as it’s anybody’s guess right now to how transitory this trend is, whether it’s just a short term phenomenon or are we seeing something more permanent,” he said. For more information, contact Ijaz at aijaz@cba.ua.edu or Adam Jones, UA Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu

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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.