UA Preview – March 20-26, 2023


UA HONORS COLLEGE LAUNCHES JAMES C. KENNEMER CENTER FOR INNOVATION AND SOCIAL IMPACT — A newly created center within The University of Alabama Honors College will promote active learning experiences and research opportunities for UA students thanks to a generous gift from UA alumnus James “Jim” Kennemer. The James C. Kennemer Center for Innovation and Social Impact was created following a $2 million gift from Kennemer and offers UA a unique, highly visible platform that builds a capacity for critical thinking, encourages ethical and innovative approaches to social impact, and prepares students to be active and engaged citizens and to succeed in any career path. The center provides support for the Bama Innovation Gateway program including the BIG Ideas contest, and funding for undergraduate research, speakers, forums and outreach programs, and other initiatives. For more information, contact Shane Dorrill, UA Strategic Communications, at 

UA CAMPUS HOME TO ALABAMA CHAMPION TREE A Southern Magnolia tree located on the Bryce Preserve at The University of Alabama was recognized as the current largest of that species in the state. The Alabama Forestry Commission measured the tree as part of Alabama’s Champion Tree Program, which aims to discover, recognize and preserve the largest trees of each species in the state. The team used an industrial tape measure for circumference and crown spread and a clinometer to measure height. UA was also recognized during the event as a “Tree Campus USA” for the eighth consecutive year. The designation, given by the Arbor Day Foundation, recognizes colleges and universities that promote healthy trees and conservation efforts. For more information, contact Jennifer Brady, UA Strategic Communications, at 

UA LEADING EFFORT FOR STRONGER, GREENER CONCRETE — Engineering researchers at The University of Alabama have received $2.75 million in federal support to scale up and improve a patent-pending innovation that uses carbon dioxide to strengthen concrete while making its production greener. The federal grants from the National Science Foundation and United States Department of Energy are part of nationwide investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance sustainable production of critical materials. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at 


PAPER MAPS STILL POPULAR IN DIGITAL AGE — “Even as digital tools become central to our daily lives, there will always be a place for their physical counterparts,” said Eric Courchesne, geospatial services manager with the geography department. “Like the smell of a good paperback, or the feeling of holding a music record and placing the needle into the groove, there is a tangible connection to printed maps that is unique and satisfying. It’s not surprising that physical maps have gained in popularity over the past few years; during the pandemic, more Americans spent time rediscovering the romance of the road trip. While navigation apps are amazing tools to get you from point A to point B, a good, reliable physical map can do more to help you explore a new place and discover what makes it special, particularly those treasures that can only be found off the beaten path.” To schedule an interview, contact Courchesne at 

CRISIS, LOSS AND RESILIENCE IN UKRAINIAN ENTREPRENEURS — UA’s Dr. Peter Harms, along with colleague Nataliia Yakushko, are working on a project to understand how small business owners and entrepreneurs react to disasters and how they adapt to ongoing crises over time through the war in Ukraine. “The war in Ukraine represents a special circumstance for the study of entrepreneurs in crisis situations not only because of the scale of the unfolding humanitarian crisis, but also because this disaster is both man-made and is ongoing with no end in sight,” said Harms. “What we have discovered in our ongoing data collection at this point is that both psychological and social factors seem critical in terms of coping with the war and the destruction that it has brought. We have observed how Ukrainians have used humor, often dark humor, as a coping mechanism and how business owners have switched from competitive orientations to cooperative/collectivistic orientations, similar to the U.S. after 9/11. Likewise, many business owners report that they see it as important to try to keep their businesses open and functioning both to serve the nation, but also to take care of their workers.” To schedule an interview, contact Harms at 


AL’S PALS TO VISIT CAMPUS — Elementary students involved in the Al’s Pals mentoring program will visit the UA campus March 27-30 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. each day. The students, guided by their UA student mentors, will tour the Alabama Museum of Natural History, Capstone College of Nursing, College of Engineering labs and Stran-Hardin Arena. Al’s Pals is a mentorship program where UA students are paired with elementary students in the Tuscaloosa city and county school systems to help them complete homework, reinforce reading and math skills, and participate in enrichment and recreational activities. For more information, contact Allison Espey, coordinator of Al’s Pals, at 

SAKURA FESTIVAL — The 37th annual Sakura Festival will be at the Tuscaloosa River Market March 25 from 9 a.m. to noon. The theme of this year’s Sakura Festival is “Mirai wo hiraku/未来をひらく” or “Renew.” The spring celebration of Sakura, or cherry blossoms, reminds us of the value of each moment, while the return of spring awakens us to fresh possibilities in life. The Sakura Festival provides an opportunity to experience Japanese culture through educational demonstrations, performances and fun activities for all ages. 

PANHELLENIC ASSOCIATION TO HOLD EASTER EGG HUNT — The Alabama Panhellenic Association will hold an Easter egg hunt for the community Sunday, April 2, beginning at 2 p.m. at the President’s Mansion. More than 10,000 candy-filled eggs will be distributed. The event is free and open to children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by an adult. For more information, email 

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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.