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The University of Alabama

UA in the News: April 11, 2012

SEC honors University of Alabama chemistry professor
Tuscaloosa News – April 11
University of Alabama chemistry professor and department chair David A. Dixon was named UA’s first recipient of the inaugural Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Awards. According to a news release, the new awards honor professors from SEC universities “with outstanding records in teaching and scholarship who serve as role models for outer faculty and students.” Beginning this year, one faculty member from each SEC university will receive a $5,000 honorarium and be that university’s official nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year award. “I’m really excited, and I’m so proud to be the first nominee from the university for the award,” Dixon said Tuesday afternoon. “I can’t thank the university enough for this.” According to the SEC website, “Each university is responsible for implementing a competitive process whereby a faculty member with a distinguished record can be selected to receive an SEC Faculty Achievement Award.” The provost on each campus manages this process and ensures their university’s winner meets the award’s criteria.

Alabama finishes in top 10 in forensics competition
Tuscaloosa News – April 11
The University of Alabama Forensics Council secured its 10th straight top-10 finish in the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament. Members of the forensics team compete in about 20 competitions each year, the largest of them the National Individual Events Tournament, with about 90 universities competing. The events in these tournaments are oratory and interpretive readings. These are individual events, and each member is judged on how persuasive their material is. Robert Imbody, UA forensics director and coach, said the competitions are structured like gymnastics meets. While team members compete individually, the results of those events are also tallied for a team showing. On Monday, UA placed seventh in the tournament’s overall team sweepstakes, thanks to a great showing from students in the individual events, including two first place wins. Tuscaloosa native Thad Fitzpatrick won first place in the National Individual Events Tournament prose interpretation competition while his teammate Dexter Strong won the impromptu speaking event.

Witt oversaw era of unprecedented growth
Crimson White – April 11
Nine years ago, the University of Alabama was a different place. Fewer than 20,000 students populated a campus that did not yet include the Bryce property or an Honors College. The University accepted 85 percent of freshman applicants. Bryant-Denny Stadium, which sat about 84,000 fans, played host to a 4-9 football team that was not living up to its mythic legacy. Today, the University has more than 31,000 students, a budget of $709 million and the University’s acceptance rate has fallen to 53 percent. Bryant-Denny now has room for 101,821 spectators, and it has two more flags to denote the 2009 and 2011 national championships. The man who led the University through these many facets of growth is now the chancellor of the University of Alabama System, creating an opening for his successor to be named while still maintaining great influence on the Tuscaloosa campus….

UA exchange student from Japan plays saxophone for passers-by
Tuscaloosa News – April 11
Mami Shimada finds solace in playing the saxophone, but what she really takes pride in is making people who hear her music happy. Shimada, a University of Alabama exchange student from Japan, takes up residency on the Quad during her free time, playing tunes ranging from Disney theme songs to music from her native Japan. “Last semester, I played near (my dormitory) first, and the people who heard clapped and cheered me on,” she said. “One day I thought, ‘Oh, I like Denny Chimes so I will go there.’ At first, I was so nervous, but after I played two or three songs, some guy came up to me and said something like, ‘Good job,’ and so I continued playing. It means so much.” Shimada said she discovered a love for the saxophone early on and has been playing it for eight years.

Farmer’s Market returns to campus
Crimson White – April 11
The lawn of Canterbury Episcopal Chapel on the corner of Hackberry Road and University Boulevard will be full of vendors offering fruits, vegetables, cakes, bread, pork, beef and many other goods this Thursday starting at 3 p.m. Homegrown Alabama began five years ago as a project of students in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. The first few markets were not intended to continue past the class project, but because of good turnouts by students, faculty and members of the community, Homegrown Alabama expanded into a yearly farmers market, said Andrea Mabry, assistant market manager and a graduate student at the University.

SAA, Phi Sigma Kappa hosting charity golf tournament
Crimson White – April 11
Community members and students alike will take to the links to raise money for local charities Friday in the Student Alumni Association’s annual Rise and Shine charity golf tournament. The tournament begins at 1 p.m. at The Links, and participants have the opportunity to register until noon. This year the SAA is teaming up with Phi Sigma Kappa, a fraternity that is relatively new to campus, to host the event. The entirety of the event’s proceeds will be split to benefit several charities including the University of Alabama RISE School, a program established in 1974 to assist young children ages 0 to 5 with physical disabilities. Profits will also benefit student scholarships and Phi Sigma Kappa’s national philanthropy, the Special Olympics. Kyle Zimmerman, who serves as vice president of special events for the SAA and is in charge of planning and organizing Rise and Shine, said students, Greek or non-Greek, as well as alumni and Tuscaloosa citizens are invited to participate at Rise and Shine.

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.