UAB to host commencement, doctoral hooding ceremonies Dec. 13

An estimated 1,100 students will walk in UAB’s two commencement ceremonies, and 73 will receive their doctoral hoods this fall.

commencement 2014Doctoral hooding and two commencement ceremonies for students who have graduated this summer and fall will be held by the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Saturday, Dec. 13. At least 2,575 students will graduate.

The UAB Graduate School hooding ceremony for students earning doctorates in philosophy, science, public health and education will be held at noon in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. The university’s highest degrees will be conferred on 129 students, with about 73 attending the ceremony. The guest speaker will be Professor of Public Health Leslie McClure, Ph.D., who will also bear the academic mace.

An estimated 1,100 students will walk in UAB’s commencement ceremonies, set for 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 13 in Bartow Arena, 617 13th St. South. The ceremony for graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education will commence at 9:30 a.m. All other graduates 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 is first come, first served. Arena doors will open at 8:30 a.m. for the morning ceremony and at 1 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony. Events will begin on time. University officials recommend guests leave nonessential bags at home or in the car. The ceremonies will be recorded and added online for viewing at about a week after the ceremonies.

The bearer of the UAB academic mace for both commencement ceremonies will be Kirby Bland, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief of the UAB Health System Hospitals and Clinics. Bland was named the 2014 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, the highest honor bestowed by the UAB Academic Health Center. 

There will be an undergraduate and graduate commencement speaker for both ceremonies:

  • Martez Files, the undergraduate speaker for the morning ceremony, is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a Bachelor of Arts degree in African American studies. Files has served as a teacher aide and mentor to students at the Hayes K-8 School in Birmingham, where he provides homework assistance, helps with literacy instruction, facilitates activities and assists with communication of learning objectives. He has been an active student leader in campus organizations, including as president of the African American Studies Organization, co-director of Conversation Think and a member of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, as well as a strong volunteer for outside organizations. After graduation, Files plans to pursue a Master of Arts degree in education.      
  • Ellen Gayeski Casale, the graduate speaker for the morning ceremony, is graduating with an educational specialist degree in autism spectrum disorders. She received her Master of Education degree in special education from Vanderbilt University in 2008 and her Bachelor of Science degree in special education from East Carolina University in 2006. Casale is a certified teacher in special education who works at Cedar Ridge Middle School in Decatur, Alabama. During her collegiate career, she taught special education in schools in Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. She plans to continue her academic career in pursuit of a doctorate in special education or serve as a district specialist in the area of autism. 
  • Shelby Barker, undergraduate speaker for the afternoon ceremony, is graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in health care management. Barker is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Golden Key International Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Chi Alpha Sigma National College Athlete Honor Society and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. She has been an active student leader in campus organizations, including as president of the Campus House Christian Student Center, publicity chair of the Undergraduate Student Government Association and recruitment committee member of the Black Student Awareness Committee, as well as an active community organizations volunteer. Barker is a member of the UAB Women’s Track and Field team and competes in the pentathlon and heptathlon, where she earned all-conference honors. After graduation, she will attend physical therapy school at UAB and desires to work in professional sports.
  • Chloe Ruth Bennion, graduate speaker for the afternoon ceremony, is graduating with a Master of Public Health degree. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from the University of Colorado in fall 2012. Bennion is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Chapter. During her collegiate career, she worked in diversity programming for the Office of Student Multicultural and Diversity programs, directing the “Free Food For Thought” dialogue program, including creation, execution and evaluation of curricula and development of student leaders. She also was a program development intern at the 1917 Clinic, where she helped develop and administer a theory-based healthy relationship and sexual health curriculum for adolescents. She plans to pursue a career in positive youth development and health education.