UAB Magazine Weekly - Features on Campus Life
Touring UAB’s New Faculty Art Studios
By Matt Windsor
Last fall, UAB art faculty packed up their paintbrushes, cameras, and power tools and cruised across campus to new digs—in a former car dealership on UAB’s eastern edge.
The building’s former life as a showroom brings an added wrinkle: Most of the new faculty studios feature massive glass windows facing the street. Many of the artists say they had some hesitancy about being so visible, but the abundant natural light and outdoor views quickly won them over. They also love the fact that their see-through studios help connect them with the surrounding community.
Here, members of the Department of Art and Art History explain how their new studios influence and inspire their work.
UAB Ambassadors Serve with Style
By Meghan C. Davis
They’re the Blazers in blazers. With their signature green jackets, it’s easy to spot the UAB Ambassadors around campus—greeting patrons at the Alys Stephens Center, sharing statistics with the press at basketball games, ushering visitors into the UAB Alumni House, and performing dozens of other intriguing assignments.
The UAB Ambassadors, founded in 1978, are one of the oldest and most prestigious student groups on campus. They serve as the university’s official hosts, working more than 5,000 hours of events each year, with assignments that range from leading campus tours for prospective faculty to toting Blazer statues through the crowd at the annual athletics scholarship luncheon.
“I learned about the UAB Ambassadors the first moment I walked onto campus,” says Jit Patel, the group’s current president. A senior business administration major and a member of the Business Honors Society and Global and Community Leadership Honors Program, Patel is in his second year as an ambassador. Even if he wasn’t a senior, this would be his last chance to be an ambassador. Students are only able to stay for a maximum of two years. But it wasn’t the exclusivity, or the unique networking opportunities, that first attracted Patel to the job; it was the jacket.
UAB to Host College Cup for Second-Straight Year
By Grant Martin
Championship soccer returns to the Birmingham area in December when UAB and the Alabama Sports Foundation welcome the NCAA College Cup back to Hoover’s Regions Park for the second straight year.
The 2012 event features the final four teams of the NCAA Soccer Tournament, with two semifinal games on Friday, Dec. 7, and the national championship game on Sunday, Dec. 9. Regions Park is the first venue to host the event in consecutive years since 1999-2000, when it was held in Charlotte, North Carolina.
December 7 and 9
For ticket information, click here.
“We are excited to again be partnering with the Alabama Sports Foundation to bring the College Cup to our community," says UAB athletic director Brian Mackin. "It’s a great opportunity for soccer fans in the area to come out to see the best collegiate soccer has to offer. We had a great event last December when we hosted the national championship, and I know we are in for two days of great competition at Regions Park this year.”
UAB men's soccer coach Mike Getman, who was instrumental in bringing the tournament to Hoover, says this return visit gives UAB and Birmingham the chance to become an important home for college soccer. "I think the fact that the NCAA would choose to return here for consecutive years after more than a decade of changing venues says a lot,” he says. “It’s hard to build support for an event that is here for a weekend and then gone. I think having a second year really gives us a chance to grow the event into something really special.”
The Perfect Pitch
Getman, now in his 21st year as UAB’s men’s soccer coach, served on the NCAA Men’s Soccer Committee from 2008-2011. In addition to picking the field for the NCAA Tournament, the committee also was tasked with selecting future sites for the College Cup. “The committee came up with its criteria for finding an ideal site,” Getman says. “We were looking for cities that had a good, modern stadium of appropriate size; good weather; and a community that will support soccer.”
As the committee put together a checklist, Getman says the picture it was painting began to look very familiar. “I realized that Regions Park had all the things the committee was looking for. Additionally, we had the Alabama Sports Foundation, which is experienced in putting on successful events like this one.”
When Getman returned to Birmingham, he pitched the idea to administrators at UAB and at the Alabama Sports Foundation (ASF) and was met with unanimous enthusiasm.
“For Birmingham, this is a great thing," Getman says. "Every city likes to host big events, whether it's musical concerts or Broadway shows or whatever—and big-time sporting events like this one will bring the added benefit of national and international viewership. So we have the financial benefit of bringing several thousand people from out of town to our area, but we also have the good publicity that comes with showing a wide audience what the Birmingham area has to offer.”
Hope for the Future
In its first year in Hoover, the College Cup drew more than 15,000 fans—the largest attendance since 2004, when it was held in Carson, California. Yet organizers are hoping that more marketing—and better weather—will make for an even stronger showing this year. “Everything went well last year, but I wouldn’t say it was perfect,” Getman says. “The weather was unusually cold, so even though we drew more than 9,000 fans for the semifinals, the vast majority of those fans left before the second game started. If we just have normal Alabama weather, it will be 20 to 30 degrees warmer than what it was for that game.”
While the temperature for the event may be beyond his control, Getman says there has been a concerted effort to get word out about this year’s event to the community at large—not just the soccer fans. “The soccer fans are going to be there, but I think this type of event will appeal to any sports fans,” he says. “How many times do you get the chance to see a national championship in your hometown?”
In the future, Getman says he hopes the answer to that question will one day be “every year.” Even though the 2013 College Cup has already been awarded to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, future sites beyond that are still to be determined. And while soccer may not command the media attention of college football or basketball championships, Getman says he could see a scenario developing where the Birmingham/Hoover area could become the “Omaha of college soccer”—referring to Omaha, Nebraska, which has been home to the College World Series in baseball for more than 60 years.
“If the community comes out and supports this event, I could see the College Cup returning to Birmingham for years to come,” he says. “Not only would that be a great thing for this area, but it also could prove to be a great thing for college soccer.”
UAB Filmmaker Chronicles a Journey of Discovery
By Matt Windsor
On May 21, 1944, Captain Malcolm A. Smith’s P-47 Thunderbolt fighter fell out of the skies over northwestern France. The U.S. Army Air Corps, suspecting weather trouble, informed Smith’s family in Alabama of the loss, but kept his status as “missing in action” for another two years before acknowledging he would never return.
Sixty years later, Smith’s sister, Marianne Smith Morgan, received a letter from a Frenchman who said he had discovered what really happened on that fateful Sunday afternoon. Smith had actually been killed in action in a dogfight with a German warplane—and he had become a beacon of hope for the villagers of Vibraye, a tiny community near his crash site.
“At first we thought it was a hoax,” says June Mack, M.F.A., Morgan’s daughter and an award-winning filmmaker on the faculty in the UAB Department of Communication Studies. But Mack soon discovered she had become a part of an incredible true story of redemption, gratitude, and hope. She eventually turned the tale into a documentary, Lest We Forget: A French Village Recalls 1944. The film will get its public premiere on Saturday, November 10, 2012—Veteran’s Day weekend—at 4:00 p.m. in UAB’s Hulsey Center Recital Hall, room 108.
Path of Honor
The story owes its life to Jacky Emery, a French citizen whose hobby is finding villages in areas of France where Allied soldiers died or were wounded. “He does it simply because he is so grateful for what they did during the war,” Mack says. “He goes to the towns and suggests that they use their next building project—a new road, building, or bridge—to honor the soldier.”
Welcome to our new pad.
UAB Magazine. Now in tablet form.
The new UAB Magazine iPad app, now available for free in Apple's App Store, brings you all the stories from the Fall 2012 print edition, plus videos, slideshows, extra articles and interactive graphics.
Never miss another issue: Once you download the app, you'll be notified as soon as each new issue is ready to read.
Take it for a test drive: It's all free, so why not check it out today? Click here to visit the App Store, or search for "UAB Magazine" in the App Store on your iPad.
Take a look at screenshots from the new app below.