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  • August 1st, 2022


STATE BUSINESS LEADERS NOT CONFIDENT IN ECONOMYFor the first time in eight years Alabama business leaders have a negative outlook for the economy, according to the latest quarterly survey by The University of Alabama. The UA Center for Business and Economic Research’s latest Alabama Business Confidence Index, taken in early June, shows that despite moderate optimism for sales and hiring, business leaders have a gloomy forecast for the state and United States economies. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at 

UMC OPENS LIVINGSTON LOCATION — University Medical Center opened a clinic in Livingston in July that will provide primary health care services to the Sumter County community. UMC is operated by the UA College of Community Health Sciences. Dr. Richard Friend, dean of the UA College of Community Health Sciences, said access to primary health care services is important, especially for rural communities in the state, where such care can sometimes be hard to find. “Our mission at UMC is to help improve the health of individuals and communities in rural Alabama, and expanding access to care in Livingston, particularly in primary health care, is one way we are meeting that mission,” Friend said. For more information, contact Leslie Zganjar, UA College of Community Health Sciences, at 

AUTOMOTIVE VETERAN TAPPED TO LEAD MOBILITY AND POWER CENTER An experienced leader in the automotive industry and entrepreneur, Michael Oatridge, will direct the Alabama Mobility and Power Center at The University of Alabama. AMP was recently established in partnership with Alabama Power Company and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. as a research and workforce development center to meet the needs of the emerging electric vehicle market. Oatridge worked for Honda Motor Company for more than 30 years, retiring in 2021 as senior vice president of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. Most recently, he has been president and owner of Strategic Workforce Solutions, a startup company in Birmingham that helps recruit businesses to the state. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at 

SUMMER 2022 DEGREE CANDIDATES ANNOUNCED — The University of Alabama will award almost 1,500 degrees during a summer commencement ceremony Saturday, Aug. 6, at 9 a.m. at Coleman Coliseum on the UA campus. More information, including live and recorded webcast details, an interactive campus map, parking information, lodging details, graduate profile stories and fast facts about the 2022 summer class can be found on UA’s commencement website. Commencement information can be heard on UA’s radio station, 92.5 FM. For more information, contact Shane Dorrill, UA Strategic Communications, at

HEALTH SCARES, BRAIN SURGERY COULDN’T DETER GRADUATE — Katherine Hinojosa’s journey to UA’s graduation ceremony Aug. 6 was full of challenges due to more than a year of undiagnosed health complications and a risky brain surgery. Only 12 hours shy of graduating in spring 2021, the Conway, Arkansas, native had to leave UA due to her health complications. She was later diagnosed with Chiari malformation type 1, a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. Days after brain surgery in March, she reapplied to return to UA earlier this summer and completed her bachelor’s degree in political science. For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at  

FIRST-GENERATION STUDENT CREATES LASTING LEGACY AMONG PEERS, MENTORS — Decatur native Aliayah Coleman is a first-generation UA student graduating Aug. 6 with a bachelor’s in accounting. She already has a job lined up at BNY Mellon in Everette, Massachusetts. She has numerous accolades including being on the president’s list, the dean’s list twice, many volunteer hours mentoring other first-generation students and has written a children’s book — all while maintaining a GPA over 3.5. She will also soon pursue her master’s in accounting from UA. To schedule an interview, contact Coleman at  

LATINA US MILITARY VETERAN EARNS DOCTORATE TO HELP BRIDGE CULTURAL GAPS — Elizabeth Naranjo Hayes is receiving her doctorate Aug. 6 in Romance linguistics. She is a Latina, U.S. military veteran who once served as the sole interpreter in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia serving in deportation cases. She begins a tenure-track teaching position this fall at Truman State University in Kirkville, Missouri. Securing tenure-track positions right after graduate school is very rare. She will be teaching both Spanish and French and her methodology incorporates Hot Latin and French Francophone music. To schedule an interview, contact Naranjo Hayes at  

ALABAMA BUSINESS HALL OF FAME TO INDUCT EIGHT FOR 2022 — The Alabama Business Hall of Fame, located in Hewson Hall on the UA campus, will induct eight new members in a ceremony Nov. 10 in Birmingham. The inductees are Walter Batson Jr. of Huntsville, F. Dixon Brooke Jr. of Birmingham, Ronald G. Bruno of Vestavia Hills, Grayson Hall of Birmingham, Alexis M. Herman of Washington, D.C., Michael Mouron of Birmingham, the late William S. Propst Sr. of Huntsville and C. Kemmon Wilson Jr. of Memphis, Tennessee. For more information contact Zach Thomas, director of marketing and communications for the Alabama Business Hall of Fame, at


HYDRATING BEFORE PRACTICE KEY FOR YOUNG ATHLETES — “Being intentional about hydration status in the days prior to the onset of activity, especially rigorous activity that occurs in high temperature and humidity, is a good way to minimize the effects dehydration will play on health and performance,” said Dr. Jeri Zemke, assistant professor with the UA College of Human Environmental Sciences. “Two to three days prior to the planned activity, young athletes should eliminate caffeinated beverages and drink an increased amount of water and/or sport drinks. Additionally, eating foods high in water content, such as watermelon, cucumber, apples, peaches and celery, is another way to improve hydration prior to the onset of intense exercise. Monitoring the color of your urine is an easy way to assess hydration status. Urine the color of lemonade, or lighter, indicates you are in a hydrated state, while urine darker than lemonade suggests you are either dehydrated, or moving toward a dehydrated state. Weighing the athlete before and after activity is another way to assess loss of fluids. For every one pound lost during activity, the athlete should drink approximately half of a liter of fluids. Finally, thirst is a very poor indicator of hydration status. If you wait to drink fluids until you are thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated.” To schedule an interview, contact Zemke at 

INTEREST RATE HIKES BY FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD MEAN LIKELY RECESSION — To tame rising costs, the Federal Reserve Board is willing to risk a recession to check inflation and inflation expectation, said Ahmad Ijaz, economist and executive director of the UA Center for Business and Economic Research. Aggressive interest rate hikes are the only option left to the feds, he said. “It generally takes about a year for interest rates to affect the real economy, so if there is going to be a recession, it will be in 2023 and hopefully a mild one as some commodity prices have already begun to edge lower gradually,” Ijaz said. To schedule an interview, contact Ijaz at


OLLI HOSTS BETTER WITH AGE ART SERIES — The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or OLLI, will host the Better With Age Art Series, Tuesday, Aug. 2, from 3 to 4:15 p.m. at the Bryant Conference Center. In this class, adults aged 50 and older will have the opportunity to learn how to draw from instructor Amy LeePard. The class is free, but registration through the OLLI website or by calling 205-348-5000 is required. For more information, contact Ashley Chambers, director of OLLI, at 

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The University of Alabama strives to remain neutral on public policy issues. Strategic Communications may facilitate interviews or share opinions expressed by faculty, staff, students, or other individuals regarding policy matters. However, those opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the University or its leadership, and do not constitute a statement on behalf of the University unless explicitly designated. 

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.