It’s my pleasure to welcome you and the entire UAB Class of 2017 to this campus and community—and to your future. We are delighted you chose this university, and this week we begin meeting and exceeding your expectations for a rewarding and memorable college career.
As a UAB alumnus myself, I well recall the excitement of arriving here as a freshman, and I know you must have that same sense of enthusiasm and promise for all the opportunities that await you—academically, socially, and culturally. In whatever major you choose to study and excel, these will be some of the richest times of your lives, as you equip yourselves for productive careers that benefit you personally and your community, state, nation and beyond.
As you get settled in, I encourage you to take full advantage of upcoming events during Welcome Week and others later in the fall. I’ll mention a few items in particular:
- UAB has been partnering with the City of Birmingham in 50 Years Forward, a year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama that features a full roster of events, culminating in the world premiere of A More Convenient Season at our Alys Stephens Center on Sept. 21.
- The Movement is also the subject of our 2013 Freshman Discussion, "Civil Rights: Looking Back and Moving Forward" and associated events, which begin with a lecture by Ambassador Andrew Young, a key strategist for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, coming up this Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 pm in Bartow Arena.
- Preceding Ambassador Young’s lecture, I hope you will attend a special Freshman Dinner and Music on the Green, immediately followed by an ice cream social in front of Bartow Arena.
- Blazer Football kicks off its season against Troy on Aug 31 and our first home game is Sept. 21, 2 pm at Legion Field versus Northwestern State. In the meantime, we’ll be ushering in the season and enjoying some barbecue at the Spirit Lunch this Friday, Aug. 30, 11:30 am-1:30 pm at the UAB Alumni House. I hope you will join us in cheering on UAB at these and other Blazer Sports events throughout the year.
Again, it is a pleasure to welcome you to UAB. Best wishes as you begin making memories that will last a lifetime, acquiring the tools to forge your future, and discovering the knowledge that will change your world.
I look forward to seeing you around campus.
Ray L. Watts, M.D.
University of Alabama at Birmingham