Graduate Student Research Day is a testament to the legacy of Dr. Samuel Booth Barker, first Dean of the UAB Graduate School. From 1970 until 1979, Barker laid the foundation for UAB graduate students and graduate faculty. As dean emeritus, he remained active in UAB events as scholar and patron of the arts.
Barker's signature bolo and beret were noticed by all as he made his way to part of each session of Graduate Student Research Day. Ninety years old, Barker attended the Graduate School Awards Luncheon 2002 to present the Barker Awards, and he commented—in a style that only he could get away with—that "I'm glad it's not the Sam Barker memorial award." Then, on September 3, just five months later, Barker died after a short illness. Many at UAB still feel the loss, but we also continue to gain from his legacy of integrity and generosity.