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The University of Alabama

UA In the News: June 2-4, 2012

UA to host a viewing of rare transit of Venus
Tuscaloosa News – June 4
On Tuesday evening an astronomical event will occur that won’t happen again until 2117. And the University of Alabama is giving stargazers a front row seat. For only the second time since 1882, Venus will transit across the sun, appearing in the sky as a black dot moving across the giant, burning mass. The last time the event occurred was 2004. But since staring at the sun is fairly hazardous to your eyesight, UA’s department of physics and astronomy will host a viewing on campus through three telescopes equipped with special solar filters. Weather permitting, UA will host the event in the dome atop Gallalee Hall from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Gallalee is at the northeast corner of University Boulevard and Hackberry Drive, less than a block from Denny Chimes.
Birmingham News – June 4
WGHP (Greensboro, N.C.) – June 2

University of Alabama social work students study in Hong Kong
Birmingham News – June 2
Kalyn Burgio has been reading about Hong Kong customs and etiquette. After Sunday, Burgio will put her lessons to practice. She is one of six social work students from the University of Alabama who will travel for a two-week visit to study social work practices in Hong Kong, the city situated on China’s south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea. The sojourn is historic. For 25 years, UA faculty members have made the trip through a partnership with Shue Yan University to teach master’s level courses in Hong Kong, according to the university. This is the first time students — undergraduate and graduate — will travel to Hong Kong. They are making the trip through UA’s Capstone International Center, which coordinates the university’s international efforts, and the School of Social Work’s Board of Friends.

Program tailored to autistic students: University of Alabama initiative formed to meet needs of students affected by disorder
Tuscaloosa News – June 3
As the number of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder continues to increase nationwide, a University of Alabama initiative to meet the needs of students affected by the disorder is growing as well. In March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 1 in 88 children in the United States has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder. When the fall semester begins in August, UA’s Autism Spectrum Disorders College Transition and Support Program will assist 18 students who have an autism spectrum disorder. UA’s program is one of fewer than 10 similar programs nationwide, said Sarah Ryan, director of UA-ACTS. Ryan said the program acts as a “safety net” for students as they meet challenges that are enough of a burden without also having to cope with disorders like autism, Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive development disorder.

Entrepreneur operates 3 companies at University of Alabama business incubator
Tuscaloosa News – June 3
There might be a use after all for the kudzu draping the Southeast’s rural landscape. It might someday help fuel your car. Scientists at the University of Alabama’s manufacturing technology center are looking at kudzu, the non-native leafy vines that have spread across the South’s fields and forests, as one of several sources that could be used to make ethanol. This summer, chemical engineers working for a company at UA’s Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs Building, a research center for budding entrepreneurs, will start making larger batches of a sugary syrup-like substance that could be used in the production of ethanol. The base for the syrup will be such organic items as wood chips, grasses, pond algae or even kudzu, said Rusty Sutterlin, who heads Inventure, one of three young companies he has operating in AIME’s business incubator. All the companies are trying to develop innovative products.
Birmingham Business Journal – June 4

My turn: Journalism basics won’t change
Tuscaloosa News – June 3
The view from long ago and far away sees with surprising clarity what it was that raised you, schooled you, tamed you and shaped you into whomever you became. It is not foolish to look back, knowing those times cannot be reclaimed, because memories good and bad are pleasures preserved and lessons learned. The principles of journalism that I have practiced for half a century were given me as a teenager by the editors and reporters of The Birmingham News. I would watch them, poised and confident, labor on deadline after deadline to reach for the deepest meaning of our line of work: the exact word, the right tone, the sharp headline and accuracy above all. They were the soul of Alabama’s most powerful daily. I can call their names today, as if it were yesterday and they were still living. . . . Don Brown is a former executive editor of The Tuscaloosa News. He teaches journalism at the University of Alabama.

RSA chief touts gains: Bronner says investing in state businesses had huge impact
Associated Press – June 4
…Another report by Sam Addy and Ahmad Ijaz from (The University of) Alabama said RSA’s investments in the state were responsible for 4,332 in-state jobs and $153 million in payroll in 2011. RSA has two main funds, the State Employees’ Retirement System and the Teachers’ Retirement System. Each is overseen by a board that includes active and retired public employees as well as state officials. Together, they control more than $27 billion.

Carolina Day School’s Levin  honored
Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times – June 2
Mark Levin, former Carolina Day School fifth-grade teacher and current director of communications, was honored on May 10 by the University of Alabama and the Alabama Scholastic Press Association for “his lifetime of service to scholastic journalism and for his exemplary leadership in founding the National Elementary Schools Press Association.” Formed in 1994 by Levin at Carolina Day School, the National Elementary Schools Press Association works with elementary and middle schools across the country to start class and school newspapers and improve existing ones. The organization has more than 760 member schools nationwide. Levin has run the association single-handedly for the past 17 years. Levin was in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to hand off the reins of NESPA to Meredith Cummings, director of the Alabama Scholastic Press Association in the University of Alabama journalism department. Levin will continue to serve as an adviser for Cummings.

‘Southern Abstraction’ is a compelling view of a provocative art form
Mobile Press-Register – June 3
Abstract art “should be enjoyed just as music is enjoyed,” said Jackson Pollock. “After a while you may like it or you may not.” Is abstract art something mere mortals are not meant to understand, or is it a form of “visual language” that touches us in subtle yet meaningful ways?  Take a casual stroll around the galleries at Mobile Museum of Art and study the artwork in “Today’s Visual Language: Southern Abstraction, A Fresh Look.” . . . Thornton Willis ( is a Pensacola artist who now resides and works in New York City. “Southern Abstraction” includes two wall-length paintings, “Gothams’ Rhythm” and “Gotham Towers,” which will travel from Mobile to Sarah Moody Gallery at the University of Alabama for an extensive one-person show in October.


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.