The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather


    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower


    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships


    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

3 weeks ago

University of Alabama offers rural students insight into health care profession

(University of Alabama/Contrributed)

Rural Alabama high school students and recent graduates are participating in annual programs this summer at the University of Alabama, where they learn about the need their communities have for more doctors and health care professionals.

Through the Minority Rural Health Scholars Program and Rural Health Scholars Program, both part of the UA College of Community Health Sciences, 27 high school students and graduates spend five weeks on campus taking college courses for credit and learning to prepare for health professions education and training.

The goal of the programs is to encourage students to consider health care professions. With funding for the programs from the Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board, students do not have to pay for tuition, housing and field trips.


“Rural Health Scholars and Minority Rural Health Scholars programs are great opportunities for students from rural Alabama to learn about different health careers,” said Cynthia Moore, assistant director of Rural High School Programs for UA’s College of Community Health Sciences. “The students have enjoyed the seminars and learned a lot from the speakers.”

The two programs are part of the college’s nationally recognized Rural Health Leaders Pipeline and offered in collaboration with Alabama Area Health Education Centers. AHECs were created by Congress in 1971 to increase the quantity, diversity and distribution of health care professionals, especially in rural and underserved areas.

The Minority Rural Health Scholars Program seeks to increase the number of minority students from rural Alabama who qualify for admission to medical school. The program is for high school graduates who, in addition to taking classes at UA, are provided tutorials to enhance their knowledge and test-taking skills to achieve competitive scores on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). The students shadow physicians and other health care professionals.

The Rural Health Scholars Program aims to provide opportunities for rising high school seniors from rural communities in Alabama to pursue careers in medicine and health care professions. Students take college courses, participate in seminars with practicing health care professionals and visit health care facilities.

Moore said this summer the students, who spent the past year taking high school classes on Zoom because of the pandemic, “had to learn how to readjust to attending in-person classes and adapting to different teaching styles.”

The mission of the college is to improve and promote the health of individuals and communities in rural Alabama and the Southeast region through leadership in medical and health-related education; primary care and population health; the provision of high-quality, accessible health care services; and research and scholarship.

This summer’s participants are:

Minority Rural Health Scholars:

  • Lisset Amado, from Slocomb in Geneva County.
  • Danaea Miller, from Dixon Mills in Marengo County.
  • Naomi Perez, from Heflin in Cleburne County.
  • Kaitlyn Riggins, from Eclectic in Tallapoosa County.
  • Za-Nyah Truitt, from New Brockton in Coffee County.
  • Shaniya Warburton, from Florence in Lauderdale County.
  • Jacob Webber, from Madison in Madison County.

Rural Health Scholars:

  • Kiana Adams, from McIntosh in Washington County.
  • Aaron Barrett, from Valley in Chambers County.
  • Denzel Childs, from Marion in Perry County.
  • Mia Deason, from Clanton in Chilton County.
  • Erica Doss, from Andalusia in Covington County.
  • Alejandro Elizondo, from Pisgah in Jackson County.
  • Hannah Frost, from Berry in Fayette County.
  • Maggie Hammack, also from Berry.
  • Khamani Hampton, from Killen in Lauderdale County.
  • Nia Jones, from Attalla in Etowah County.
  • Kalin Lewis, from Faunsdale in Marengo County.
  • Deshadia Lowery, from Orrville in Dallas County.
  • Matthew Martin, from Jasper in Walker County.
  • Lilly McCauley, from Prattville in Autauga County.
  • Kasia Nicholson, from Pine Hill in Wilcox County.
  • Shemai’ya Peak, from Millbrook in Elmore County.
  • Kyle Shaw, from Fairhope in Baldwin County.
  • John Skelton, from Northport in Tuscaloosa County.
  • Taleedra Smith, from Marion in Perry County.
  • Samantha Stanley, from Centre in Cherokee County.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

10 months ago

Bryant Museum to reopen in time for football season

(Paul W. Bryant Museum/Contributed)

Just in time for the University of Alabama football season, the Paul W. Bryant Museum is reopening to visitors.

The museum, which closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus, is now Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


“The Bryant Museum staff is excited to reopen, and we invite all Alabama fans to join us as we get ready for another season of Crimson Tide football,” said Ken Gaddy, director of the Paul W. Bryant Museum. “With safety being our first concern, we are limiting the number of days we will be open and using a timed ticket system to limit the number of visitors in the exhibit hall.”

A limited number of tickets will be sold every 30 minutes to ensure capacity in the exhibit hall remains at a safe amount. Visitors must secure their tickets online before arriving at the museum. Visitors will also be required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing while inside the museum.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

University of Alabama’s ACCESS Support Center offers free online courses to grades 7-12

(University of Alabama/Contributed)

The University of Alabama ACCESS Support Center, in collaboration with the Alabama State Department of Education, is offering free online courses through its Franchise Model to all students in grades 7-12 in the state of Alabama.

“The ACCESS Franchise Model is an agreement between school districts and the Alabama State Department of Education to use the content of selected ACCESS courses absolutely without charge,” said Dr. Kevin D. Besnoy, director of ACCESS Virtual Learning. “All Alabama public schools that serve grades 7-12 may use the course content as defined in the ACCESS Franchise Agreement and Teacher Memorandum of Agreement.”


ACCESS, which stands for Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide, was launched in 2004 as a distance learning initiative. It has become a cornerstone in providing equitable education to all Alabama public school students in a cost‐effective model regardless of where they live. UA’s ACCESS Support Center, part of the College of Continuing Studies, designs more than 120 courses for grades 7-12.

For educators across the state moving to teaching online for the first time, Besnoy says to be patient and don’t try to be perfect.

“Teachers are an amazing group of professionals who are accustomed to overcoming enormous odds on a daily basis,” said Besnoy. “While current circumstances are testing what is possible, each teacher in the state of Alabama has it in them to still ‘be present’ for their students.”

Schools interested in using the ACCESS Franchise Model can contact Dr. Sherrie Banks at the Alabama State Department of Education at 334-694-4941.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

UA Greek life donates food to local organizations

(UA/Contributed, YHN)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — After University of Alabama classes unexpectedly moved online due to COVID-19, and students left campus for the remainder of the semester, many of the University’s fraternity and sorority houses were left stocked with food and supplies.

To ensure the food and supplies went to good use during this time of crisis, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, in conjunction with the University’s Center for Service and Leadership, arranged for the perishable and non-perishable food, paper products, toiletries and cleaning supplies from several Greek houses to be donated to local organizations.

“There is a huge need in Tuscaloosa right now for many families in our community,” said Dr. Kat Gillan, senior director of operations for Fraternity and Sorority Life. “The Greek organizations stepped up to meet some of those needs.”


So far, the West Alabama Food Bank has received 4,642 pounds of food from 10 Greek houses, and arrangements have been made for the food bank to continue pick-ups from five more houses.

“This additional food is a great blessing, especially during this time,” said Jean Rykaczewski, executive director of the West Alabama Food Bank, which is serving a larger population due to the crisis. The donation will feed approximately 100 families.

Greek house food donations have also been made to the city and county boards of education, to be used for student meals, as well as to the City of Tuscaloosa Fire Department.

“It is imperative that The University of Alabama continues to serve our community in every way possible during this uncertain time,” said Courtney Thomas, director of the Center for Service and Leadership. “Active and engaged citizenship looks a little different right now but the need is strong.”

This is not the first time the UA fraternity and sorority community has come together to support Tuscaloosa in a time of crisis. In 2011, UA Greek Relief, a student-led initiative, distributed more than 52,000 meals to victims and volunteers following the April 27 tornadoes.

“Service is a key component of the Greek experience,” Gillan said. “When presented with the opportunity to give back to our local community in a time of need, UA fraternities and sororities stand ready to assist.”

For information about supporting the West Alabama Food Bank, visit

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.

Birmingham couple makes transformational gift to UA

(University of Alabama/Contributed, YHN)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A $20 million comprehensive gift from C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick will significantly enhance the Culverhouse College of Business and intercollegiate athletics at the University of Alabama.

When completed, the commitment will increase the Fitzpatricks’ total giving to UA to $24 million and make them the largest cash donors in the University’s history.

Pending approval by the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, the $20 million gift will establish the C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick Center for Value Investing.

It also provides funding for research in value investing, enhances the Culverhouse Investment Management Group student-led investment program, elevates the Fitzpatrick Endowed Chair of Value Investing to the C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick Endowed Director of the Center for Value Investing and supports enhancements to Crimson Tide Athletics facilities.


“The Fitzpatrick family continues to transform the UA College of Business through remarkable investments in our students’ lives and professional careers,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell.

“We’re thankful for their steadfast support and for their enduring legacy,” Bell said. “Future business leaders are being shaped and empowered through C.T. and Kelley’s philanthropy, and UA’s business programs remain exemplars for success among public business schools.”

As founder and CEO of Vulcan Value Partners, C.T. Fitzpatrick has grown the firm from a startup in 2007 to an internationally recognized investment management firm with over $15 billion in assets under management. His strategy has proven successful.

All five of Vulcan Value Partners’ investment strategies are in the top 1% of their peers since inception.

(This peer ranking information is sourced from eVestment, as of Jan. 21, 2020, using Vulcan Value Partners Large Cap, Focus, and Focus Plus Composites versus peer group of U.S. Large Cap Value Equity Universe, Vulcan Value Partners Small Cap Composite versus peer group of U.S. Small Cap Value Equity Universe, and Vulcan Value Partners All Cap Composite versus peer group of U.S. All Cap Value Equity Universe since inception ending Dec. 31, 2019).

The Birmingham couple has strong ties to UA. As an alumnus, C.T. Fitzpatrick is immersed in various areas of his alma mater, including serving as a member of The University of Alabama President’s Cabinet, a member of the Culverhouse College of Business Board of Visitors and formerly as chair of the Hewson Hall Building Campaign Steering Committee.

Kelley Fitzpatrick is a Tuscaloosa native and the daughter of Lewis Manderson, for whom UA’s Manderson Graduate School of Business is named.

In 2015, the Fitzpatricks gifted the University $3 million to create the Vulcan Value Partners Research Library and Trading Room as well as an endowed chair and professorship in the Culverhouse College of Business.

That gift made UA’s business school the first in the nation to offer a value investing concentration at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The success of the program proved a wise investment, leading the couple to provide additional support with $8 million of their most recent gift devoted to value investing.

“We are doing this because the University has been a good steward of our initial investment,” said C.T. Fitzpatrick. “We think the additional investment can earn even higher returns and ultimately help more students, as well as benefit the University, the state and the region. There is a lot of leverage in the gift.”

“With C.T.’s support and active participation, the University has already built a one-of-a-kind undergraduate program in value investing,” said John Heins, UA’s Fitzpatrick Endowed Teaching Professor of Value Investing.

“It’s particularly gratifying,” Heins said, “that one of the best investors in the business has chosen to invest further in extending the reach and impact of the program to the lasting benefit of the University, the Culverhouse College of Business and all of the students and alumni who will continue to benefit from his wisdom and generosity.”

In addition to supporting value investing, the significant gift will also provide funding for various aspects of the College, from its programs to its students, faculty and facilities.

The gift includes $1.5 million to bolster marketing efforts that strategically heighten awareness of the College; $2 million to enhance professional development and career services for all Culverhouse undergraduate students; and a $2.5 million matching gift challenge that pushed the $30 million Hewson Hall campaign to completion in fall 2019.

“Over the years, we’ve had many conversations with our friends C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick about ways we could partner together to elevate — and transform — what we’re doing here at the Culverhouse College of Business,” said Dr. Kay Palan, dean of the College.

“This gift is the result of those conversations,” Palan said. “It symbolizes confidence in our mission and an investment that will pay future dividends, as it will allow the enhancement of academic programs, services and amenities relied on by students across the College. We are extraordinarily grateful to the Fitzpatricks for their generous support.”

The Fitzpatricks also designated $5 million of the gift to the Crimson Standard Capital Initiative to support enhancements to Crimson Tide athletic facilities.

“We are so appreciative of the Fitzpatricks’ continued support of The University of Alabama, and we thank C.T. and Kelley for their generosity in designating $5 million to The Crimson Standard,” said Greg Byrne, UA director of athletics. “This capital initiative is helping us prepare for the future of Alabama Athletics, and its success would not be possible without philanthropic gifts such as this.”

The Fitzpatricks said they value the influence their legacy has on the student experience and anticipate a greater return on investment for the foreseeable future.

“To watch these students progress and see what they are doing is very gratifying,” said C.T. Fitzpatrick. “It becomes a virtuous circle where they go out and thrive and through their success are able to give back just as we have. That is the legacy, and we want to continue to build on it.”

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.

(Courtesy of the University of Alabama)

University of Alabama among Forbes’ Best Employers for Diversity

(University of Alabama/Contributed)

The University of Alabama was recently recognized by Forbes magazine as one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity, the only institution of higher education in the state of Alabama to receive the honor.

UA was the second-highest ranked employer in the state, after Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, and No. 21 nationally among institutions of higher education.


“It’s an honor for the University of Alabama to be named to Forbes’ list of America’s Best Employers for Diversity,” said Dr. G. Christine Taylor, UA vice president and associate provost for diversity, equity and inclusion. “We have made strides and will continue to make greater strides in promoting an inclusive environment for all faculty, staff and students at the Capstone. This recognition by Forbes validates that we are on the right path.”

Forbes and Statista selected employers based on an independent survey from a vast sample of more than 60,000 employees working for companies employing at least 1,000 people. Respondents were asked questions regarding the topics of age, gender equality, ethnicity, disability, LGBTQA+ and general diversity concerning their own employer.

UA’s performance was considered very solid and above average in all areas. The University’s indirect score and indicators were in the top 20%, and its leadership ratio and direct score were in the top third.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

2 years ago

Alabama Athletics receives sensory-inclusive certification from KultureCity


The University of Alabama Department of Athletics has partnered with KultureCity to make Bryant-Denny Stadium sensory inclusive. This new initiative will promote a more accessible and positive experience for guests and fans with sensory needs at the stadium.

“Obtaining this certification is something that was very important to us,” said Alabama Director of Athletics Greg Byrne. “We want all of our fans to have the best experience possible, and we thank everyone at KultureCity for educating and equipping us with the tools needed.”

The certification process included sensory awareness training provided to staff at the University of Alabama by leading medical professionals to provide tools on how to better serve guests with sensory needs.


“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a football game, a true community binding experience, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment,” said Dr. Julian Maha, co-founder of KultureCity. “Our communities are what shape our lives and to know that Alabama Athletics is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.”

Sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads will also be available to guests at Bryant-Denny Stadium with sensory needs who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. Three areas have been designated as check-out locations for the sensory bags, which will be staffed by members of the University of Alabama Autism Clinic. Bags can be checked out by leaving an ID at the following locations:

  • Lower level (ground floor): Near the first aid room behind Section K
  • Upper level (concourse): Near Section SS-10
  • Upper level (concourse): Near Section NN-11

Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by people with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in sporting venues. With its new certification, Bryant-Denny Stadium is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having a more comfortable experience when in attendance.

Prior to attending an event, fans can download the free KultureCity App to view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. The App also features a Social Story that will provide a preview of what to expect while enjoying an event at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

For fans needing assistance in-venue, please call 205-348-5620.

KultureCity is a leading nonprofit recognized nationwide for using its resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created more than 350 sensory-inclusive venues in four countries, including special events such as the NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl and MLB All Star Weekend.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.
(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 years ago

Independence Day brings more traffic fatalities

(Pixabay, YHN)

There are more fatal crashes during the days surrounding Independence Day than the rest of the year, according to an analysis of state traffic records by researchers at the University of Alabama.

During the past five years, the five days around the Fourth of July averaged three fatal crashes a day, 29% higher than the average of fatal crashes per day the rest of the year, the study by UA’s Center for Advanced Public Safety showed. This came despite total vehicle crashes being slightly lower during the five-day period around July Fourth, which includes the holiday along with two days before and after.


The major causes of crashes around the holiday are impaired driving from alcohol or other drugs as well as speeding.

“This is true in most states,” said Dr. David Brown, a researcher with CAPS who performed the study. “Times before and after this iconic American holiday make it one of the deadliest holiday periods of the year across the country due to drunk-driving crashes.”

The study employed the Critical Analysis Reporting Environment, or CARE, a software analysis system developed by CAPS research and development personnel to automatically mine information from existing databases. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, or ALEA, provided crash records for the study.

The times of the crashes, as well as the high number and proportion of run-off-the-road and single vehicle, crashes all support the conclusion of speed and DUI causation, Brown said.

From 2014 to 2018, the five-day period around Independence Day averaged 1,857 crashes, about 90 percent of the average from any randomly chosen five-day period throughout the year. However, the three fatal crashes per day is more than the 2.33 per day the rest of the year, according to state traffic data.

Similar to other holidays, the frequency of crashes is lower mainly because of fewer crashes on July Fourth itself, typical of lower crashes on other holidays, as people are likely at their destinations.

“To take advantage of the lower number of crashes on the Fourth itself, the best time to travel is during mid-day and before it gets dark,” Brown said. Fatal crashes increase after 6 p.m. and occur significantly more than the typical day during the two days before and after the holiday, according to CAPS’ analysis.

While observing the traditional recommendations of not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol nor riding with drivers who fail to observe speed limits, Brown said seat belts save many lives in otherwise fatal crashes.

“The most effective way of increasing survivability and reducing injury in all crashes is the use of restraints,” he said.

Of those killed in crashes during the holiday period, 63% were not buckled, a higher rate than the rest of the year. The fatality rate for those who wore restraints was less than 1%.

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration conducts targeted media campaigns for Independence Day called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.” There is also extra enforcement on the roads across the country to try to reduce impaired driving over the holiday period.

(Courtesy of the University of Alabama)

2 years ago

University of Alabama’s ACT Card in Apple Wallet wins four national awards

(Alabama NewsCenter/Contributed)

With the desire to be transforming and stay on the cutting edge of technology, the University of Alabama’s Action Card Office listened to students who asked for the ability to put ACT Cards on their cellphones.

UA became one of three schools to pilot the ACT Card in Apple Wallet technology, an innovative new program to enhance faculty, staff and student life by adding card functionality to the iPhone and Apple Watch.


The Action Card Office’s work in pioneering the ACT Card in Apple Wallet technology, released last fall, has reaped four national awards.

At the National Association of Campus Card Users (NACCU) conference in Hartford, Connecticut, the Action Card Office received the J. Paul Melanson Award and was honored for Best Video and Best Marketing Campaign.

All NACCU members were eligible to submit a video, with the top three selected by committee. Attendees were able to watch each video and vote on their favorite, with UA’s “ACT Card Mission” being selected not only by the organization, but their peers in the campus card system arena as well.

The NACCU Marketing Award Committee selected UA’s ACT Card in Apple Wallet campaign as Best Marketing Campaign.

The J. Paul Melanson Award, which is not awarded every year, is presented to members of the campus card community who have spurred growth of the campus card industry, been pioneers in campus cards, significantly and freely helped NACCU members to implement or advance systems on their campuses, or been instrumental in the growth and stability of NACCU. This award is named in honor of one of the founders of NACCU, and recipients are identified by the NACCU Board of Directors at its discretion. Both UA and Duke University were recipients for 2019.

The Action Card Office also received the Transact Distinction Award for Innovation for the ACT Card in Apple Wallet project. The award is for institutions that are on the forefront of campus technology innovation and recognizes campuses that have developed and implemented high-impact technology strategies.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 years ago

Grant to University of Alabama establishes Alabama Power Innovation Fund

Mark Crews, left, Alabama Power Western Division vice president, makes a presentation to UA President Stuart R. Bell, middle, and Dr. Russell Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development. (contributed

The University of Alabama has been awarded a grant from the Alabama Power Foundation to support business innovation, entrepreneurship, small business growth and talent retention in the state.

The gift, which will establish the Alabama Power Endowed Innovation and Talent Retention Fund, will develop and sustain resources dedicated to business innovation and entrepreneurship, creating a lasting positive economic impact on the state of Alabama and its residents. Managed through the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the fund will enhance existing efforts while empowering the university to identify new ways to inspire and support a new wave of business growth in the state with a specific focus on talent retention.


“We appreciate the strong partnership with the Alabama Power Foundation and our shared vision for what this fund will aim to accomplish,” said Dr. Russell Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development. “Talent retention is a core theme of the office’s five-year strategic plan and aligns very well with the university’s public flagship mission.”

The University of Alabama is committed to ensuring student and faculty entrepreneurs thrive by providing access to cutting-edge resources and expertise necessary to innovate and accelerate bold new ideas in business and technology. In recent years, UA’s role in startup and small business has become the focal point for innovation and entrepreneurship within the state and region.

The university has amplified its suite of resources for entrepreneurs with new and expanded business incubators and accelerators. These resources include The Edge, an incubator and business accelerator partnership between the university, the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and the City of Tuscaloosa; The Cube, where students and faculty are free to explore ideas with cutting-edge technology at their fingertips; and the Bama Technology Incubator, which helps transform patentable inventions into products that benefit society. The Alabama Power Endowed Innovation and Talent Retention Fund will provide discretionary support for the continued operational enhancement of these resources, among others.

“Through this partnership between the Alabama Power Foundation and the University of Alabama, UA will continue impacting business development and growth opportunities that benefit all Alabamians,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “This collaboration further demonstrates the university’s commitment to economic development and the entrepreneurial spirit, and we’re grateful for Alabama Power Foundation’s support of our academic endeavors.”

The partnership aims to enhance current entrepreneurship and business curricula, support University of Alabama initiatives and create incentives for students who wish to remain in the state after graduation. The Alabama Power Endowed Innovation and Talent Retention Fund will assist the university in continuing to enhance its mission, which in turn will help to strengthen the economic development interests of the state.

“We greatly appreciate the timely investment of the Alabama Power Foundation in support of economic development programs at the University of Alabama,” said Alabama Power Western Division Vice President Mark Crews.  “This gift will not only build on The Cube and The Edge, but also help power Dr. Mumper’s efforts to open a new chapter in innovation and talent retention for this area.”

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter

2 years ago

University of Alabama’s CCN to create vital learning opportunities with Nursing Kid

(University of Alabama/Contributed)

Nursing Kid Simulator is a skills-based, child-sized manikin designed to train nursing students for the care and management of a variety of pediatric patients. The simulator represents a 6-year-old child and will allow students to practice numerous skills, including IV insertion, tracheal and nasogastric suctioning and wound assessment, among others.

The current pediatrics manikin at the University of Alabama’s Capstone College of Nursing, known as Pedia, has several cords that connect to a control panel to program various scenarios and can be used only in the simulation lab. Nursing Kid, on the other hand, is a standalone manikin that is portable and controlled by a computer tablet.


“We want our faculty to be able to bring simulation-type experiences into the classroom,” said Dr. Megan Lippe, assistant professor and simulation specialist at the Capstone College of Nursing. “The new simulator will provide us more teaching flexibility and opportunities with our students.”

Being able to provide ample training opportunities for those who want to go into pediatric care is vital because many pediatric units limit what nursing students can do during clinical rotations. Nursing Kid will allow UA nursing students to hone their skills before joining the workforce.

“Pediatrics is a very specialized field,” said Jessica Johnson, clinical instructor at the Capstone College of Nursing. “While a lot of the skills translate from adults to children, the way they are implemented is very different. I feel that Nursing Kid is going to allow our students to experience that and prepare them for what they will see in the future.”

According to Johnson, about one-third of each nursing class wants to pursue a career in pediatric care. One key advantage of Nursing Kid is that it will allow more students to cycle through to practice various skills.

“Nursing Kid is designed for rapid-fire clinical techniques and it will allow us repeat skills for multiple students,” Johnson said.

The Capstone College of Nursing capitalized on a recent Universitywide crowdfunding event called Bama Blitz to help raise money to purchase Nursing Kid to meet the needs of nursing students. Dean Suzanne Prevost was thrilled with the support shown to the Capstone College of Nursing during Bama Blitz.

“We were seeking to raise $6,500 for the Nursing Kid Simulator, but were excited that individuals also supported various areas that interested them,” she said. “Now, not only will CCN be able to purchase a new pediatric simulator, but the college will also benefit in numerous additional ways because of the generosity of our donors.”

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 years ago

University of Alabama law students win national competition

(University of Alabama)

University of Alabama Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law moot court team recently won a national competition in New York, defeating more than 150 other teams and landing UA its first championship in the event’s history.

The team won preliminary rounds of the 69th Annual National Moot Court Competition and then defeated William & Mary, South Texas College of Law, Iowa and the defending national champions Northwestern, completing an undefeated run.


Team members are Lindsey Barber of Birmingham, Cory Church of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Anne Miles Golson of Montgomery. The team is coached by Mary Ksobiech, assistant dean of students, and managed by Josh Kravec, a second-year law student from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In the final round, before a panel of six federal and state appellate court judges, Judge Richard C. Wesley described it as having advocacy better than he had heard in his hearings that day.

Of the 28 teams who qualified for the finals, the UA team was the only one composed solely of second-year law students.

The Moot Court Fellows program was started in 2011 to train a team of second-year law students in moot court to improve their success rates in their third year. This is the second time in the last four years that the Alabama Moot Court Fellows team has advanced past regionals to the national tournament.

Golson was named Best Advocate for the tournament.

This summer, Barber will work for Baker Donelson and Waller Lansden in Birmingham, Church will work at Bradley Arant and McGuire Woods in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Golson will split her summer between Bradley Arant in Birmingham and Jones Day in Washington, D.C.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 years ago

Paul W. Bryant Museum to close for renovations

(Paul W. Bryant Museum)

The Paul W. Bryant Museum will close temporarily for renovations beginning Friday, Feb. 1. The renovations include facility updates and a new interactive video wall that will allow visitors to access museum databases for all of Bryant’s teams.

“We are excited to modernize our display while keeping true to Coach Bryant’s wish to honor all his teams and players from his 38-season head-coaching career in one place,” said Ken Gaddy, director of the Paul W. Bryant Museum. “Technology allows us to deliver much more information and let visitors select what they see.”

The museum’s online store will remain in operation while the museum is closed. All merchandise can be found at


The Paul W. Bryant Museum is on the University of Alabama campus at 300 Bryant Drive in Tuscaloosa, directly across the street from Coleman Coliseum. For more information, call toll-free 866-772-BEAR (2327) or visit

The museum, which opened in 1988, exhibits artifacts and memorabilia that trace the long history of University of Alabama football. Displays highlight great players, plays and games.

The renovated exhibit hall is expected to reopen March 1.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 years ago

University of Alabama Gymnastics hosts Stallings RISE Center holiday play date

(University of Alabama)

The University of Alabama gymnastics team welcomed a group of special guests to the Frances Smith Practice Facility recently, hosting its annual holiday play date for the children of the Stallings RISE Center.

“This is such an amazing day for us every year,” UA head coach Dana Duckworth said. “To have this opportunity to get to spend time with the children of the RISE Center is such an amazing blessing and to see their smiles light up the gym never gets old and is such a joy every single time.”


The RISE Bell Choir played for everyone in attendance before the children and gymnasts took to the Tide’s practice gym for an afternoon of fun and games. The gymnasts and RISE students were joined by a pair of jolly guests when Santa and Mrs. Claus made their way to Coleman Coliseum and the practice gym again this year.

The Crimson Tide has joined with RISE for a holiday event for more than 20 years and has hosted the event in the UA practice facility since it opened in 1996.

The Tide’s 2019 season starts at home Friday, Jan. 4, with a quad meet against Southeast Missouri State University, Northern Illinois and Temple starting at 7:30 p.m. Season tickets can be purchased online at and through the Alabama Ticket Office (205-348-2262).

For all the latest information on Alabama gymnastics, follow BamaGymnastics on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and Duckworth on Twitter and Instagram at @UACoachDana.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 years ago

Fatal Crashes in Alabama Increase in 2016, UA Study Finds

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Deaths from the state’s traffic crashes in 2016 increased by nearly a quarter from 2015, according to a recent study of data by researchers at The University of Alabama.

Critical causes of more traffic fatalities include increased speeds, lack of safety belts and more distracted drivers as well as pedestrians, according to the analysis of crash reports statewide.

Although final numbers for 2016 are not yet official, the count to date is 1,058 traffic fatalities in Alabama through the end of 2016, which is 24.6 percent more than the 849 people who died in traffic crashes in 2015, according to state crash records.

Total traffic collisions, however, increased only slightly. There were 149,339 crashes in 2015 and 152,532 in 2016, an increase of 2.1 percent.

“That this increase was less than one tenth that of the fatalities indicates that there are issues on our highways that need to specifically address the fatality problem,” said Dr. David Brown, a research associate at the UA Center for Advanced Public Safety.

Brown directed the study using the Critical Analysis Reporting Environment, or CARE, system that enabled researchers at CAPS to isolate the increases found in various crash record attributes to isolate the major causes of the increase in traffic fatalities.

“A variety of factors were found, but, in order of importance, I would say that speed, safety belts, distracted driving and pedestrian faults all had major contributions to the increase,” Brown said. “These causes were often further intensified by their occurring in combination with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol, drugs or both.”


In 2016, there were more crashes with impact speeds faster than 50 mph, and for all crashes at 50 mph or faster, impact speeds were more than in 2015, according to the study. The largest percentage increase was at the highest speed category of 91 mph or above, which increased from 21 fatal crashes with 28 deaths in 2015 to 33 fatal crashes and 44 deaths in 2016.

CAPS research has shown every increase of 10 mph doubles the probability of the crash being fatal.

“With the increased speeds that we are observing while on the highways, it is surprising that the fatality increase is not even higher, and speed also adds to lack of control, which increases crash frequency as well,” Brown said.

Safety Belts

In 2016, 403 people died during crashes without using restraints despite them being available, according to the study. Brown estimates well more than half of these, or at least 200 fatalities, could have been reduced by proper use of restraints. The greatest offenders of the seatbelt law are those who are driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Other studies have shown 90 percent of drivers and passengers in Alabama use seat belts, however for those who die in auto crashes, less than half were using restraints. Brown said CAPS researchers using recent data have determined the probability of being killed in an auto crash increases by a factor of 30 for those who are not properly restrained. In other words, for those restrained only one in about 400 crashes are fatal, but when restraints are not used the odds increase to one in 13 crashes.

Distracted Driving

Nationally, studies have concluded that 16 percent of fatal crashes are caused by some form of distracted driving. In Alabama, the number of reported cases in which distracted driving caused the crash increased by about 20 percent in 2016 over 2014, according to the analysis of crash statistics.

Pedestrian at fault

Out of every 10 collisions with a person walking, six were the fault of the pedestrian, according to crash records. Out of the 120 pedestrians killed, 72 could have been averted by improved behaviors of the person killed, according to the study. Records show drug use to be eight times the expected involvement in pedestrian fatalities than in non-fatal pedestrian injuries, and alcohol involvement was over-represented by a factor of two.

“This, coupled with the obvious distraction of pedestrians using their cell phones while walking, creates a very serious increase in these extremely severe crashes,” Brown said.

Safety tips

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 94 percent of crashes are caused by human error. With that in mind, traffic safety professionals at CAPS make the following strong recommendations:

Buckle up every time you get in a vehicle.
Put aside all distractions, look ahead and concentrate on constantly moving to safer situations as you drive.

Do not even think about driving if you have had any alcohol or disabling drugs, including marijuana.

Put up the cell phone, and don’t text while driving or walking near roadways, even if they do not seem to be busy.

“It is imperative that mindsets be changed and citizens realize personal responsibilities if these tragic events are to be averted in the future,” Brown said.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state‘s economy, is in keeping with UA‘s vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state‘s flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

5 years ago

Alabama alum and US military vet leaves massive $5.3 Million gift to his alma mater


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama recently received a bequest of $5.3 million from the estate of John Deramus, a 1956 graduate of The University of Alabama.

The planned gift by the Clanton native will create the John B. Deramus Fund, an endowment that will provide support for the University’s priority needs, including scholarships.

“John was a very caring, generous person, and he was a very private person,” said Richard Moore, Deramus’ cousin and a 1973 graduate of UA. “I didn’t have any idea what he was planning, but I am not surprised that he was generous to the University. He was always fond of the University.”

While Mr. Deramus made the University aware of his long-range plans to remember his alma mater, he did not reveal the value of his planned gift. The amount of Mr. Deramus’ gift is indeed significant, but his greatest gift was giving the University discretion as to how the bequest would be used.

“We are astounded by the generosity of Mr. Deramus, and we appreciate the faith he has placed in us to allocate these funds in a way that most appropriately meets the needs of our growing University,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “His remarkable contribution establishes a legacy that will continue to change lives for many years to come.”

Deramus graduated from Chilton County High School before attending UA, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Commerce and Business Administration, Deramus served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Following his tour of duty in Japan, he worked for an investment firm in Montgomery—Thornton, Mohr and Farish. He later worked at the First National Bank of Atlanta, the Birmingham Trust National Bank and SouthTrust Bank in Birmingham. Following his retirement, he returned to his family home in Clanton.

Daniel Bass was a close friend and former colleague of Deramus’, having worked with him for more than 20 years at SouthTrust Bank.

“John was easy-going all the time. He was always laughing. He was one of my favorite people, and I miss him,” said Bass. “He told me that he was going to give some of his estate to The University of Alabama, but he never told me how much.”

A collector of art, Deramus also enjoyed music and, according to friends and family, often traveled to visit museums and galleries and attend concerts. He died at his home Feb. 6, 2015, at the age of 81.

“Although I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Deramus, I am grateful for his incredible dedication to The University of Alabama,” said Bob Pierce, UA vice president for advancement. “He not only made a significant contribution that represents the culmination of his life’s work, he also gave the gift of trust in the University’s administration to use the bequest for the institution’s best interests.”

The full amount of the gift will create the corpus for an endowment that, per the guidelines of the University of Alabama System, typically generates an amount equal to 5 percent of the endowment’s market value on an annual basis. That means approximately $265,000 will typically be made available in perpetuity to further the institution’s mission under the leadership of the University president.

“Undesignated donations provide the most flexibility for campus leadership to best maximize the impact of a gift,” said Pierce. “It will be wonderful to see Mr. Deramus’ generosity used for the benefit of the University, including scholarships for future generations of students.”

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state‘s economy, is in keeping with UA‘s vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state‘s flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

CONTACT: Edith Parten or Chris Bryant, UA media relations, 205/348-5320,