Spring commencement ceremonies, doctoral hooding at UAB on April 29

Class of 2017 option 2At least 2,015 students will graduate and approximately 1,250 are expected to walk in the spring 2017 commencement ceremonies happening 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at Bartow Arena.

hatton smith commencementHatton C.V. Smith, CEO emeritus of Royal Cup Coffee, will receive the President's Medal.At least 2,015 students will graduate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and approximately 1,250 are expected to walk in the spring 2017 commencement ceremonies happening 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at Bartow Arena.

The UAB Graduate School’s hooding ceremony is set for noon April 29 at UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. The ceremony is for students earning doctorates in education, philosophy, public health, nursing practice and science. For spring 2017, the university’s highest degrees will be conferred on 55 doctoral candidates from 14 states and seven countries in 26 disciplines; at least 46 will participate in the ceremony. The keynote speaker will be Retta Evans, Ph.D., MCHES, associate professor in the School of Education’s Department of Human Studies Community Health and Human Services program. Evans has worked with K-12 schools over the past 15 years to implement healthier policies and practices in the classroom setting.

The School of Health Professions ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, April 28, in the Alys Stephens Center. The School of Public Health ceremony is set for 3 p.m. April 28, in the Hill Student Center Ballroom. The School of Medicine ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20, in Bartow Arena. The School of Optometry ceremony is set for 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 12, in the Alys Stephens Center. The School of Dentistry ceremony will be held at noon Saturday, June 3, in the Alys Stephens Center. Many prospective graduates of these schools are also eligible to walk in the main university ceremony.

The main UAB commencement will be divided into two ceremonies at Bartow Arena for bachelors, masters and educational specialist degrees. Graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education will attend the 9:30 a.m. ceremony, and graduates of all other schools will attend the 2 p.m. ceremony. A to-do list for graduates, as well as information for guests, is available on the commencement website. Tickets are not required; but seating for the general commencement ceremony is first come, first served. Bartow Arena doors will open at 8:30 a.m. for the 9:30 a.m. ceremony and at 1 p.m. for the 2 p.m. ceremony. University officials recommend guests leave nonessential bags at home or in the car. The ceremonies will be recorded for online viewing at www.uab.edu/commencement about a week after the ceremonies.

commencement 2016 3The President’s Medal will be awarded to Hatton C.V. Smith, CEO emeritus of Royal Cup Coffee, a well-known civic leader in the Birmingham community, during the first ceremony. Smith was chief executive officer of Royal Cup Coffee from 1996 until 2014. He was president of the Rotary Club of Birmingham and The Club, was vice chair of the Boy Scouts, and served on the boards of McWane Center, American Cancer Society, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Mountain Brook Community Education Foundation. Smith also lent his leadership and support to a number of important programs at UAB. He took the reins of the UAB Athletics Foundation, which harnessed unprecedented community support. With extraordinary energy and commitment, he partnered with fellow businesspeople and many others throughout the community to raise record amounts of gifts and pledges for UAB Athletics and the return of football, bowling and rifle to UAB.

The mace carrier for the commencement ceremony will be Karen Meneses, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN. She is a professor and associate dean for research in the UAB School of Nursing, and professor in the School of Health Professions’ Department of Nutrition Sciences. Meneses, who has a track record of sustained external funding and mentoring, also is the co-leader of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and principal investigator of the R25 Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program at UAB. She also leads the Young Breast Cancer Survivors Network Initiative based in the school. She was named the 2016 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, the highest honor bestowed by the UAB Academic Health Center. 

Charles Coleman is the undergraduate commencement speaker for the morning ceremony. He will graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences with a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies. He spent a year at the University of Haifa in Israel as a media intern concentrating on photography, videography and blogging about the international cultural exchange experience. He is a member of the UAB Honors College’s Global and Community Leadership Honors Program, UAB International Studies Honors Program, Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, Phi Kappa Phi and the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honors Society. Coleman was a teaching assistant for the UAB Honors College, where he helped with research and literature projects. During the 2016-2017 academic year, Coleman was an administrative intern for the City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office and an events intern for the UAB Institute for Human Rights. 

commencement 2016 2Coleman has received many awards, including the UAB Aaron Lamar Jr. Diversity scholarship, UAB Honors College Dean's Scholarship and the UNA USA Greater Birmingham College Leadership Award. Coleman has been accepted into the School of International Service at American University for its United States Foreign Policy and National Security Graduate Program. He has also been accepted into Liberal Studies Master’s program at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Most recently, he was selected for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Fellowship to Israel. After graduation, Coleman plans to pursue his yearlong Fulbright Fellowship at the College of Sakhnin, in the northern part of Israel. He will work with the chair of the English Department, Jamal Assadi, and pursue his project “Screenwriting: Bridging the gap between American and Israeli culture.” Coleman then plans to pursue a graduate degree to prepare for a future career in diplomacy.

Rebekah Kummer is the graduate commencement speaker for the morning ceremony. She will graduate from the College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of English with a Master of Arts degree in English with coursework in composition and rhetoric. In 2015, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in linguistics from UAB as well as a Spanish for Specific Purposes certificate. In 2016, Kummer received a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Cambridge English via Cultura Inglesa school in São Paulo, Brazil. 

Kummer has been working as a graduate teaching assistant at UAB teaching English Composition 101 and 102. She has served as assistant director and writing tutor at the UAB University Writing Center. Kummer was a tutor and mentor for Impact Alabama, UAB Student Athlete Support Services and UAB International Mentors. While English is her native language, Kummer has a good command of Portuguese and Spanish. After graduation, she will work at Cultura Inglesa language school in São Paulo, Brazil. 

T. Alinea Esensoy is the undergraduate commencement speaker for the afternoon ceremony. She will graduate from the School of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering, with minors in biology and chemistry. For the past two years, Esensoy was a graphic design and marketing intern for the UAB Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. In the Department of Biomedical Engineering, she was a research assistant for a microfluidics project, which focuses research on a 3-D liver model for toxicity testing using a microfluidics chip and a closed-flow loop bioreactor system.

Class of 2017 option 2Esensoy served on both the executive cabinet and the executive council of the Undergraduate Student Government Association. She also served on the College Panhellenic Council as the vice president of public relations before going on to serve as president. She is a member of the UAB Honors College, Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, the Order of Omega, Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society and the Golden Key Honour Society. She was also a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the Biomedical Engineering Society. After graduation, Esensoy will attend the UAB School of Medicine as a first-year medical student with hopes of becoming a pediatrician.

Katherine Hymel is the graduate commencement speaker for the afternoon ceremony. She will graduate from the School of Public Health with a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in health behavior. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in public health with a concentration in global health from UAB. Hymel was named the Outstanding Master’s Student for the School of Public Health and inducted into the Upsilon Chapter of the Delta Omega Honors Society. Most recently, Hymel was a research assistant in the UAB School of Medicine working on the iMAGE study of multiple myeloma. She completed internships with Cahaba Valley Health Care in Birmingham and the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition in Kingston, Jamaica. Throughout her studies at UAB, she has been an active leader serving as president of the Global Health Interest Group and as a Sparkman Fellow, both centered in the UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health. She spent time in the Dominican Republic and Ecuador helping to assess the needs of individuals through surveys and other projects. After graduation, she plans to pursue her second Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Samford University.

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