2023 in review: Points of pride

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UAB faculty and staff are the cornerstone of the university’s successes each year, and your feedback earned UAB its first-ever appearance in the Great Colleges to Work For program in 2023. What else got our Blazer spirit going this year? Read on to jog your memory.

Economic impact

A report released in February 2023 shows UAB’s annual economic impact in Alabama grew to $12.1 billion in 2022 — a 41 percent increase since 2016 ($7.15 billion) and a 163 percent increase since 2008 ($4.6 billion). In 2022, UAB generated more than $371 million in state and local taxes and supported or sustained 107,600 jobs in Alabama.

US News Graduate Programs

A record 22 graduate programs at UAB were ranked in the top 25 in the latest U.S. News Best Graduate School rankings, including the Master’s in Health Administration in the School of Health Professions, which has received the No. 1 ranking as best in the country.

Research Strategic Initiative

As UAB celebrates record growth in research, the university has established a bold vision to reach $1 billion in research expenditures. The Research Strategic Initiative: Growth with Purpose, first announced in July, will identify strategic research opportunity areas for UAB to prioritize investments in research and growth in clinical trials.

Cheney Sokol AEIVA Gift

A first-of-its-kind endowment from art patrons Lydia Cheney and Jim Sokol, announced in July, will ensure the well-being of UAB’s Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts and contemporary art for years to come.

Music international travel

UAB music students performed in the United Kingdom and in South America this summer as they traveled with their peers for the first time post-pandemic. “International touring is an important part of a UAB musical education, and we are grateful to be back,” said Department of Music Chair Patrick Evans.

Jeanne Marrazzo

In August, UAB’s own Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., was selected by the National Institutes of Health to succeed Anthony Fauci, M.D., as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “This is a great opportunity for Dr. Marrazzo to make a big difference to the country, and it is indicative of the high regard that exists for both her and UAB,” said UAB President Ray Watts.


A research paper published by UAB scientists in August demonstrated how, for the first time, pig kidneys demonstrated “life-sustaining kidney function” in a human. The UAB study, performed in a preclinical human model, is the first to show that transplanted pig kidneys can clear creatinine and that a standard immunosuppression regimen may be sufficient.

Science and Engineering Complex

The band played, Blaze celebrated and a crowd cheered as UAB leaders cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the first phase of the Science and Engineering Complex on Aug. 17. South Science Hall and East Science Hall are home to the departments of Biology and Physics with state-of-the-art lab spaces.

Blazer Core Curriculum

The Blazer Core Curriculum debuted with the fall 2023 semester. This is the first complete overhaul of UAB’s core curriculum requirements since the university was founded. It focuses on providing competencies critical for the 21st century that will better equip students to meet their lifelong goals.

Great Colleges to Work For

Ratings and comments from more than 4,000 faculty and staff on the 2022 Campus Engagement Survey led to the university’s first appearance in the 2023 edition of Modern Think’s Great Colleges to Work For, one of the nation’s largest workplace-recognition programs. UAB was recognized for strengths in shared governance; diversity, inclusion and belonging; confidence in senior leadership; and faculty experience.

Freezer Challenge

Researchers across campus partnered with UAB Sustainability to save nearly 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and earn highest honors in the International Laboratory Freezer Challenge for the third year in a row. Find out how they did it.


In October, UAB’s Live HealthSmart Alabama initiative announced its new Community Leadership Academy development program, supported by a gift from Coca-Cola UNITED. Over the course of 10 biweekly sessions, participants learn skills in understanding personal strengths, building a budget, facilitating a meeting, speaking to large groups, conflict resolution, team building and more. The academy’s goal is to create a grassroots network of leaders who can work alongside Live HealthSmart Alabama to bring about systemic change.

Research funding

UAB received a record $774.5 million in research grants and extramural awards in fiscal year 2023, an 8.2 percent increase from FY2022, a $247.5 million increase in funding over the past five years and 73 percent growth over the past nine years.


In November, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities named UAB a winner of its 11th annual Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards, which recognize exemplary initiatives spurring innovation, entrepreneurship and technology-based economic development. UAB is actively fostering an innovation ecosystem in Birmingham, with a specific emphasis on biotechnology. The prestigious APLU designation “speaks to the continued success of UAB’s partnership, strategic planning and leadership in growing a robust, technology-based economy for our community, region and state,” said UAB President Ray Watts.