Thomas Weatherford III, D.M.D., will be honored at noon Friday, Feb. 15, at this year’s service awards program to be held in the DoubleTree Hotel. Weatherford is in his 45th year of employment at UAB. “I’ve never been bored a single day here,” he says.

Thomas Weatherford III just can’t seem to get out of school.

It’s not for a lack of effort, however. He’s been trying – for more than 50 years.

“I’ve been here since 1957 when I came as a student,” says the professor of dentistry. “They never let me graduate, so I’m still trying.”

He’s kidding. He did graduate from college – twice. The second time he earned a dentistry degree from UAB, and then went on to work for his alma mater.

Weatherford has been a professor in the school for 45 years, earning recognition as the longest-serving employee to be honored at this year’s service awards program. The luncheon is scheduled Friday, Feb. 15 at noon in the DoubleTree Hotel located at 808 20th St. South.

More than 215 employees with 20 years or more of service will be honored with Weatherford, along with 952 with five to 15 years of service.

Weatherford, who attended and graduated from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and served in the U.S. Army as a veterinarian, afterward began dental school at UAB with plans to start a dental practice. Joseph Volker, then the dean of Dentistry, had another idea.

“Dr. Volker suggested – and he was pretty persuasive – that I might enjoy a career in academics,” Weatherford says. “He was right. I did.”

The Uriah native has worked for every dean of the School of Dentistry, starting with Volker. He ended his brief career as a veterinarian because he wanted to help people.

“I liked animal care, and I got some interesting assignments in the Army, including taking care of the ceremonial horses at Ft. Myer in Virginia,” Weatherford says. “But I had some relatives who were physicians, and I wanted to do something with people care.”

Weatherford retired from full-time duties this past summer, but still works part time. He says his years with patients, faculty, staff and students have been fruitful.

“I still enjoy working. I still enjoy the people I work with and see every day. And I still enjoy eating,” he says with a laugh. “I always thought we’ve had good faculty here. They’re not only a congenial group, but they’re good at what they do. It’s nice to have that kind of atmosphere.

I’ve been here since 1957 and you felt like you were building something great,” he adds. “From all the cranes around here at UAB, it looks like we’re still building something.”

As for retirement, Weatherford plans for it to continue to be a part-time affair.

“Since I was young I’ve always had a job of some kind. I don’t think I’d do too well if I didn’t have something to look forward to doing,” he says.

“I’ve never been bored a single day here. If I didn’t really like what I was doing this morning, I’d probably like what I’d be doing in the afternoon.”

This year’s other honorees are:

40-year honorees                
Jiri Mestecky (Microbiology)

35-year honorees                
John F. Amos (Optometry); Mary F. Braswell (English); Martha L. Click (Student Accounting); Edna E. Copeland (Hospital Maintenance); James E. Crawford (Animal Resources Program); W J. Duncan (Management, Marketing & Industrial Distribution); Peggy B. Green (Cardiovascular Disease); S R. Hernandez (M.S. in Health Administration Program); Donald J. Lynch (Campus Maintenance); Maryann Manning (Curriculum & Instruction); George Perdue (Minority Business Affairs)

30-year honorees                
Stephen Barnes (Pharmacology/Toxicology); Jimmy D. Bartlett (Optometry); Alfred A. Bartolucci (Biostatistics); Annie M. Blue (Neurosurgery); Charlotte S. Bragg (Preventive Medicine); Rhubell T. Brown (Microbiology); Margaret L. Bryant (Graduate School); Donald R. Byrd (Campus Maintenance); Betty E. Darnell (General Clinical Research Center); Emblyn S. Davis (Chemistry); Patsy E. Greenup (Clinical Lab Sciences); Sandra J. Haigh (Periodontology); Fletcher D. Harvey (Microbiology); Doris E. Henderson (Building Services); Ralph C. Hendrix (Psych - Public Sector); Susan S. Holt (Sterne Library);  Pamela M. Jacobs (CV Dis Hypertension Pgm); Sharron D. Jenkins (University Computer Center); Peggy B. Jolly (English); Kathy A. McCaleb (Nursing); Patrice Murphy (Physical Therapy); Suzanne Oparil (Cardiovascular Disease); Marjorie S. Price (Philosophy); J S. Richards (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation); Dennis G. Smith (Electrical & Computer Engineering); Alan M. Stamm (General Internal Medicine); Gary L. Sunderland (Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics); Dr. Murat N. Tanju (Accounting & Information Systems); Camellia Thomas (Comprehensive Cancer Center); Michael A. Thompson (Nuclear Medicine Tech Program); Willie M. Whatley (Neurology); Thomas F. Wilkinson (Telecommunications); Geraldine B. Wilson (Bookstore)
25-year honorees                 
Gypsy Abbott (Education); G. M. Anantharamaiah (Gerontology/Geriatrics/Palliative Care); N. S. Arnold (Philosophy); Kathy Jo Baker (Student Housing & Residential Life); Kenneth R. Beaudrie (Infrastructure Services); Fred J. Biasini (Psychology); Diane F. Blakney (Athletics); Theodore Bos (Finance, Economics & Quantitative Methods); Sallie A. Brice (Pediatrics-Infectious Disease); Nancy T. Brissie (Cell Biology); Glenna G. Brown (Office Planning & Analysis); Erroll C. Cammack (Radiation Safety); Trunella L. Clayton (Employment); Lawrence J. Delucas (Optometry); Jerry D. Ellis (Print Plant); Margie M. England (Clinical Affairs); Jeffrey A. Engler (Graduate School); Lura H. Foreman (Student Programs); Richard Fritts (Fleet Operations); Richard M. Gargiulo (Education); G. L. Gartland (Microbiology); Kelly T. Goldsmith (Pathology); Nancy L. Grady (Infectious Diseases); Carolyn H. Guyton (Psychiatry); Steven H. Haeberle (Government); Douglas C. Heimburger (Nutrition Sciences); Jessie M. Horne (Parking & Transportation Services);     Arthur W. King (Campus Maintenance); Robert E. Koehler (Radiology); Michael C. Lambert (Surgery-Urology); Carol L. Lyons (Parking & Transportation Services); Ada Mailhot (Public Health); Landis B. Manderson (Telecommunications); Donna W. Manning (Surgery); Angela R. Matthews (Biology); Merinda J. McCalpine (Clinical Affairs); Heather McPherson (Art); Audrey E. Minter (Civitan International Research Center); Ouida Moore-Cain (Preventive Medicine); Donald Muccio (Chemistry); Hrudaya Nath (Radiology); Denise K. Oelschlager (Pathology); Cynthia Owsley (Ophthalmology); Marjorie J. Ray (Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering); Jena L. Reeves (Pediatrics-Infectious Disease); Gloria J. Richardson (General Clinical Research Center); Joel Robertson (Hematology & Oncology); Maxine H. Rudolph (Cell Biology); William G. Ryan (Psych - Public Sector); Lisa A. Saia (Office of Assoc VP Facilities); Anna L. Sheldon (Theatre); Linda C. Shelley (Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery); Cathy D. Shelton (Academic Programs & Policy); Michael E. Sloane (Psychology); Mary J. Spicer (Huntsville Internal Medicine Program); Danny R. Steele (Campus Maintenance); Tsunenobu Tamura (Nutritional Bio-chemistry & Genomics); Deborah W. Tanju (Accounting & Information Systems); Juanita Turner (Education); Anne L. Turner-Henson (Nursing); Deborah S. Tyson (Call Center); Kimberly C. Washington (Optometry Clinical Services); Clarence Wrencher (Business); Kathryn C. Yarges (Huntsville Clinic-OB/GYN)

20-year honorees                   
Klaus G. Adkins (University Computer Center); M. C. Argo (International Scholar & Student Services); Sharon S. Bankston (Associate Provost for Faculty Development/Affairs); Vera A. Bittner (Cardiovascular Disease); Karen L. Blackwood (Workplace Safety Training); John R. Blake (Hospital Maintenance); Lynne R. Bogenschultz; (Cardiovascular/Thoracic); Clementine W. Brown (Call Center); Darryl G. Brown (Accounts Payable); Ralph P. Bucy (Laboratory Medicine); Richard M. Burns (Finance, Economics & Quantitative Methods); Deborah A. Carroll (Accounts Payable); Noel Childers (Pediatric Dentistry); Cynthia C. Christian (Grants & Contracts); Suzette C. Cleveland (Mathematics); Suzanne P. Cliver (OB/GYN); David E. Crutcher (Alys Stephens Center); Frederick D. Davis (Design Build Construction); William E. Davis (Office of Asst VP Occupational Health & Safety); Gary W. Dawson (Campus Maintenance); Don Dill (Campus Maintenance); Kevin F. Dybvig (Genomics); Charles O. Elson (Gastroenterology); Kathleen N. Fix (Gerontology/Geriatrics/Palliative Care); Leslie H. Franklin (Surgery); Sandra M. Gay (Comprehensive Cancer Center); Michael W. Gibson (Post Office); Laverne Gilbert (Comprehensive Dentistry); George Y. Gillespie (Neurosurgery); Sheila B. Gilliland (University Computer Center);     Kelli L. Gilpin (Psych - Public Sector); Sandra C. Ginter (Customer Services); John J. Gleysteen (General Surgery Gastrointestinal Section); Mark A. Goska (Architecture & Engineering); Amelia C. Gowins (Nephrology); John R. Grammer (Pathology); Victor B. Griffin (UAB Police); Diane Harrell (OB/GYN); Bernard Harris (SHP); Yolanda E. Hartman (Neonatology); Tommie L. Harvey (Campus Maintenance); Beverly A. Haskew (Dental Faculty Practice); John C. Hauth (OB/GYN); Patricia H. Hicks (Nutritional Biochemistry & Genomics); Marcus L. Hickson (Communication Studies); Michael R. Higgins (Campus Maintenance) Henry B. Hitt (Elevator Maintenance); Yolanda J. Hogeland (Transplantation Surgery); Susan K. Hollingshead (Microbiology); David L. Holt (Hospital Maintenance); Carl A. Houck (Psych - Consultation & Liaison); Cassandra B. Hudson (Neonatology); Martin R. Johnson (Clinical Pharmacology/Toxicology); Carolyn J. Johnson (Preventive Medicine); Rickey W. Johnson (Building Services); Jennifer L. Jones (Pathology); Janice D. King (Microbiology); Kathryn L. Lee (General Surgery-Oncology); Elizabeth A. Leinheiser (Psych - Child & Adolescent); George O. Liber (History); Sarah J. Lindley (Clinical Affairs); Ming Luo (Microbiology); Eddie Luster (Sterne Library); Elizabeth H. Maples (Environmental Health Sciences); Sadis Matalon (Anesthesiology); James B. McClintock (Biology); Douglas McLean (Telecommunications); Ruby F. Meredith (Radiation Oncology); Sheila D. Moore (Office IRB for Human Use); Gayle K. Moran (Preventive Medicine); Vickie J. Morgan (Gastroenterology); Jerry D. Morgan (Behavioral Neurobiology);     John D. Mountz (Immunology/Rheumatology); Victoria L. Orr (UAB Police); Kent G. Palcanis (Periodontology); Henry Panion (Music); Donna D. Parker (Accounts Payable); Charmian T. Pate (General Internal Medicine); Mary F. Phillips (Accounts Payable); Olen L. Pruitt (Office of Assoc VP Facilities); Steven E. Rich (Design Build Construction); Norman Richardson (Design Build Construction); Michael S. Saag (Infectious Diseases); Patricia C. Sanders (Radiology); Dennis J. Scarvey (Campus Maintenance); Gayla B. Schultz (Radiation Oncology); Shelia T. Searson (Office of the Provost); Mary Jo Sewell (Biostatistics); Janice J. Smith (University Computer Center); Veronica R. Smoke (OB/GYN); John R. Sokira (Print Plant); Shaun M. Sparacio (Cell Biology); Elaine B. St. John (Neonatology); Yvonne K. Swanson (Student Housing & Residential Life); Dwight A. Veasey (Workplace Safety Training); Martha P. Veazey (Cardiovascular Disease); Frederic H. Wagner (Infectious Diseases); Joe Walker (Finance, Economics & Quantitative Methods);  Stephen A. Watts (Biology); Richard A. Weems (Diagnostic Sciences); Debora Welch (Sterne Library); Angi M. White (Genetics); John E. Wicker (Print Plant); Roderick W. Wilkins (UAB Police); Robin R. Willingham (OB/GYN); Angela M. Woods (UAB Police); Rex A. Wright (Psychology)