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Students/Faculty News Kevin Storr December 11, 2015

UAB SHP Graduation 01On Friday, December 11, 2015, the inaugural UAB School of Health Professions Graduate Professional Programs Hooding Ceremony welcomed 210 students to the UAB alumni family. More than 1,500 family and friends attended the event held at the Sheraton Birmingham Ballroom.


The ceremony included UAB President Ray L. Watts, M.D., UAB Provost Linda Lucas, Ph.D. and UAB Graduate School Dean Lori McMahon, Ph.D. In addition to School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D., the School’s platform party included Macebearer Donna Slovensky, Ph.D., Katie Adams, Peter Anderson, DVM, Ph.D., Janelle Chiasera, Ph.D., Gavin Jenkins, Ph.D., Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., Patrick McNees, Ph.D., David Morris, Ph.D., Midge Ray, Ph.D., Tracee Synco, Ph.D., and Melanie Talbot.


In his address to the graduates, President Watts talked about their future and the future of health care.

“You are poised to make outstanding contributions as leading professionals in your fields – advancing the delivery and administration of health care, pushing the envelope in research, and training future leaders who will follow in your footsteps,” said Watts. “In every aspect of the health-related fields there is more possibility and promise than ever before. You all will be seizing those opportunities at the vanguard of improving health and quality of life here, at home and around the globe.”

Courtesy Mike Strawn 012 aCourtesy Mike StrawnThe programs honored at the Hooding Ceremony were the School’s Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Science in Biotechnology, Master of Science in Health Administration – both Residential MSHA and Executive MSHA, Master of Science in Health Informatics, Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

The commencement speaker was Melissa Stockwell, a U.S. Army veteran and a World Champion paraplegic athlete. The 2008 paralympian is also the co-founder of “Dare2Tri” which helps veterans and others with disabilities not only return to sport, but more importantly, build confidence, self-esteem and renewed passion for living.

Stockwell spoke to the graduates about handling the difficulties they will face as they enter the next phase of their life. As someone who does not know the meaning of quit, she revealed ways to overcome any challenges they may face and urged the graduates to never quit.

This is a new tradition at the UAB School of Health Professions and it follows a UAB tradition of honoring select graduate programs in advance of the university ceremonies that traditionally confer degrees to more than 2,000 undergraduates at Bartow Arena.

Courtesy Mike Strawn 005 aCourtesy Mike Strawn“Knowing the efforts, the hours and the sacrifices each graduate went through to reach this day, we wanted to honor them with an intimate, special ceremony that they, along with their family and friends, will long remember,” said School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D. “I can’t tell you how many graduations I’ve attended over the years, but I can tell you no matter how many I do attend I am always moved by the energy that comes with the graduates’ excitement and the family and friends’ sense of pride related to  this tremendous accomplishment.”

The UAB undergraduate ceremony is split into a morning and afternoon session on Saturday, December 12, 2015. The School of Health Professions students being honored are in the Biomedical Sciences program, Health Care Management program and the Nuclear Medicine Technology program. The Graduate School Doctoral Hooding will also be held on Saturday and will honor the School’s D.Sc. in Administration-Health Services program, Ph.D. in Administration-Health Services program, Ph.D. in Nutrition Sciences program and Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences program.

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