A university known for creating new traditions will observe its first-ever University Day on Thursday, Sept. 24 and celebrate the 40th anniversary of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

University Day, with the theme “UAB: Forty Years of Breakthroughs,” will feature a convocation, luncheon and community food drive. University Day will become an annual event to celebrate UAB’s founding and future.

“Many institutions plan such occasions on or around the date of their founding,” said UAB President Carol Z. Garrison. “It is a chance to reaffirm what makes UAB so special and celebrate our vision for the future.”

The academic convocation will begin at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 in UAB’s Alys Stephens Center Jemison Concert Hall, 1200 10th Ave. South. Everyone in the UAB family — students, parents, staff, faculty, retired employees, alumni and friends — is invited and encouraged to attend.

The ceremony, led by Garrison and UAB Provost Eli Capilouto, will feature 40 distinguished UAB alumni representing the graduating classes from 1969 to 2009. Chancellor Malcolm Portera of the University of Alabama System will speak, and four graduates, one from each decade, also will present remarks during the ceremony. The convocation will include a musical performance and procession.

The convocation will be followed by a joint luncheon of the UAB National Alumni Society and the UAB Leadership Cabinet, during which the ninth annual Alumni Leadership Recognition Awards will be presented. The invitation-only luncheon will be held at The Club atop Red Mountain, overlooking the UAB campus.

The UAB Student Alumni Society is coordinating a food drive during the 40th anniversary celebration to respond to Birmingham community needs. Canned and non-perishable food items will be collected at locations across campus and distributed to area food banks. Call 205-934-3555 for more details on the food drive.

UAB enrolled its first students as an autonomous campus in the three-campus University of Alabama System in September 1969. A chronology of its growth and development is online at www.uab.edu/historical/uabchron.html.