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The University of Alabama

UA in the News: March 6, 2012

UA system names Witt as chancellor
Birmingham News – March 5
The University of Alabama System board of trustees on Monday named UA President Robert Witt to be the next chancellor of the three-campus system. Witt will replace Malcolm Portera, who announced in January that he would retire after 10 years as chancellor. Witt, who has been president at UA since 2003 and spent 35 years as a faculty member and administrator in the University of Texas system before that, was the sole candidate for the position. One trustee called him “the easy and obvious choice.” “Dr. Witt’s qualifications are exactly what we need at this time in our history,” Board President Pro-Tem Paul Bryant Jr. said during the meeting. “We know him, he knows us, and we believe he’ll make great things happen as chancellor.” Witt said that, as chancellor, he would leave the stadium issue solely to the board. But he did say separately that he believes campuses should take on new debt only “for projects that are vital to the mission.”
Tuscaloosa News – March 6
Crimson White – March 6
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer – March 6
Austin (Texas) American-Statesman – March 6
Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram – March 6
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – March 5
Fort Payne Times-Journal – March 6
Decatur Daily – March 6
Huntsville Times – March 6
CBS 42 (Birmingham) – March 5
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – March 5
NBC 13 (Birmingham) – March 5
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – March 5
WPMI-NBC (Mobile) – March 5
WAAY-ABC (Huntsville) – March 5
WHNT-CBS (Huntsville) – March 5
WAKA-CBS (Montgomery) – March 5
WSFA-NBC (Montgomery) – March 5

University of Alabama Provost and VP Judy Bonner named interim president
Birmingham News – March 6
The University of Alabama System board of trustees today named Judy Bonner, executive vice president and provost at the University of Alabama, to be interim president of the campus. Bonner will temporarily fill the role vacated by Robert Witt, who on Monday was named chancellor of the UA System. Witt said he will take his new job almost immediately, replacing current Chancellor Malcolm Portera, who announced in January he would retire as soon as a replacement was found. 
Crimson White – March 6

Conference lets students showcase work
Crimson White – March 6
The University of Alabama’s annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference provides an opportunity for students from every college to showcase research projects. The conference, which will take place at Bryant Conference Center on April 9, was initiated by the College of Arts and Sciences in 2002 but has since expanded to include all colleges in the University. Students who participate have the chance to win cash prizes for both oral and poster presentations in their respective fields. The eligibility of a wide range of research topics creates a diverse environment for students who participate and attend the event.

Career Center gets new director
Crimson White – March 6
The University of Alabama Career Center named John Railsback as its new executive director. Railsback began his term Feb. 1. “The University is extremely pleased that Ouhn Railsback is joining the Career Center team as executive director,” said Molly Lawrence, UA associate vice president of Student Affairs. “His experience within the University and outside of higher education have prepared him to take our Career Center to the next level.” “I consider it a privilege,” Railsback said. “It really is a unique opportunity to lead a team that can play such a pivotal role in helping our students discover and ultimately connect with their passion career-wise.”

Professor’s documentary to premiere at SXSW
Crimson White – March 5
“Eating Alabama,” a documentary that details the efforts of professor Andrew Grace and his wife, Rashmi, to live exclusively on Alabama-grown or raised food, premieres this month at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. The film was one of more than 1,900 feature films submitted to the SXSW Film Festival. Grace is an Alabama native who has worked as an independent filmmaker, freelancer and producer and currently teaches Documenting Justice at the University.

Selma native Ann Norton’s artwork on display at UA gallery – March 5
You can find sculpture and drawings from the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach, Fla., on display at the University of Alabama’s Sarah Moody Gallery of Art and the Sella-Granata Art Gallery on Woods Quad during March. Cynthia Palmeiri, executive director of the Gardens, is curator of the show, which offers a survey of sculpture by Selma native Ann Weaver Norton (1905-1982) and exposes something of the artist’s thought process through the accompanying works on paper.

Former Tuskegee Airman to speak at UA Wednesday – March 5
Tuskegee Airman Herbert Carter will speak at the University of Alabama’s Ferguson Theatre Wednesday night. “An Evening with a Redtail” is free to the public and will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the student center’s theater. A 6 p.m. reception will precede the event. Carter, 94, made a career of the Air Force and retired as a lieutenant colonel after flying 77 missions during World War II.

Tuscaloosa late-night food truck now to offer lunch on 2 days – March 5
Brothers Street Eats, Tuscaloosa’s first food truck, is branching out from it’s late-night specialties to offer lunch on the University of Alabama campus. In a partnership with Bama Dining, Brothers will open tomorrow from 10:30-2 p.m. They are currently approved for lunch operation on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The truck will park on Colonial Drive, near Reese-Phifer Hall.

Tuscaloosa businesses offering discounts to local volunteers during spring break – March 5
Tuscaloosa businesses are partnering with the Tuscaloosa Area Volunteer Reception Center (TAVRC) to thank the thousands of volunteers they anticipate will serve the community in the month of March for spring break by offering discounts at local businesses. Three University of Alabama students in conjunction with the city of Tuscaloosa and the TAVRC have created the Tuscaloosa Spring Break Initiative (TSBI) as an incentive program for volunteers to visit local businesses.

Habitat aids family whose house was swept away by tornado
Tuscaloosa News – March 6
Amie Hall and Keith Matthews first spoke to The Tuscaloosa News on May 3, less than a week after the April 27, 2011, tornado destroyed their home in Alberta.Hall and the couple’s three children were at their rental home on 25th Avenue East, near the KFC on University Boulevard, the day the tornado struck. They survived as the house was blown more than 150 yards, landing near the ruins of Alberta Elementary School. . . . The house was co-sponsored by the Nick’s Kids Fund and the Episcopal Tornado Recovery Cooperative. Many of the volunteers are students at the University of Alabama School of Law. Non-profit Habitat for Humanity builds homes and sells them to partner families, who assist in the construction. The organization then uses the families’ interest-free payments for new projects.

First phase of work complete on downtown arts center
Tuscaloosa News – March 6
The facade shines brighter on the future Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center, thanks to months of Phase One repairs and reconstruction of the old Allen and Jemison building at Greensboro Avenue and Seventh Street downtown. Tall glass windows look onto an open floor plan, the next project of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa, which will operate the facility. The 120,000 square feet of usable space will include galleries, a black-box theater, artists’ workshops and arts group offices…The first area inside the door will be a 1,500-square-foot gallery tied to the University of Alabama. There will be another gallery space for studio artists upstairs.

Interns gain experience, networks
Crimson White – March 6
According to a recent USA Today education story, 70 percent of college students participate in internships before graduation. Internships provide students with opportunities to get first hand experience of what they learn in the classroom. John Railsback, the executive director of the Career Center, says internships may not be 100 percent necessary in today’s age. “I don’t know that I would consider internships ‘necessary’ in all instances,” he said. “However, I do think that they provide excellent opportunities to gain relevant experience and build networks within organizations that are often committed to college recruiting.” Railsback spoke on the debate of required versus unrequired internships and unpaid versus paid internships.

Media center offers place to record
Crimson White – March 6
UA students don’t have to travel to Los Angeles or New York City to lay down tracks in a recording studio. Students can access a recording studio in the Sanford Media Center, located on the second floor of Gorgas Library.



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.