UAB in-person commencement ceremonies at Legion Field are April 30-May 1

At least 1,951 graduates will walk in three ceremonies. Senator James T. “Jabo” Waggoner will be awarded the UAB President’s Medal.

2021 commence.2In-person commencement ceremonies for the University of Alabama at Birmingham will be held outdoors at Legion Field in three ceremonies April 30-May 1.  

A total of 8,556 degrees will be awarded this spring; 1,951 graduates are registered to walk. All 2020 graduates and spring 2021 graduates were invited to participate; approximately 375 students who graduated in 2020 are walking in these ceremonies.

The graduate ceremony will be at 2 p.m. Friday, April 30. For spring 2021, the UAB Graduate School will confer the university’s highest degrees on 98 students from 17 states and eight countries representing 27 disciplines.

The first undergraduate ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 1. The second undergraduate ceremony for all other schools will be at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 1.

James T. “Jabo” Waggoner will be awarded the UAB President’s Medal at morning ceremony May 1, in recognition of his strong and visionary leadership in the Alabama Senate and his effectiveness in collaborating with higher education, industry and other constituencies statewide. The productive partnerships he has helped forge continue to advance vital shared aims: improved health, education and economic development throughout Alabama and the nation, and restored American preeminence in science and technology around the globe.

Masks will be required for everyone. There is no limit on the number of guests who can attend, but everyone will need to remain socially distanced. Parking will be free. A virtual commencement program will be available in a mobile-friendly format. The ceremonies will be live-streamed via Facebook.  

Handicap parking will be available, as well as accessible entrance and ramps/elevators for wheelchair users and accessible restrooms. Closed captioning and ASL interpreters will be provided. Service animals will be allowed. The next weekend, May 7-8, is the severe weather backup plan, and would follow the same schedule. For more information, contact

2021 commence.4James T. “Jabo” WaggonerUAB’s commencement kit has everything Blazers need to celebrate online and at home with craft and food ideas and digital goodies, including recipes; shareable UAB-themed social media stickers, GIFs and filters; make-your-own decorations; playlists and more. 

Senator James T. “Jabo” Waggoner

Waggoner, born in Birmingham, Alabama, on Jan. 8, 1937, is serving his eighth term in the Alabama Senate representing the 16th district as a Republican. He has the longest record of service of any legislator in the history of the state of Alabama. He is well known as a dedicated and accomplished statesman who is widely respected throughout Alabama. Waggoner played a significant role in UAB’s history. In 1975, the senator sponsored House Bill 435 providing UAB an $8.5 million conditional appropriation from the Special Education Trust Fund for the purchase of urban renewal land around the university complex. This expansion of approximately 35 city blocks more than doubled the footprint of the campus at the time, allowing for significant expansion of academic and clinical programs to serve more residents of the city, state and region. Without this appropriation, UAB may not have been able to become the community-serving institution and economic engine that it is today. In 2019, 44 years after HB 435, UAB spans more than 100 city blocks and is the largest employer in the state of Alabama, generating $7.15 billion in economic impact annually. UAB has also been ranked the top young university (50 years or less) in the United States for the second year in a row and secured a spot as the No. 12 young university worldwide in the Times Higher Education 2019 Young University Rankings.