UA in the News: September 6, 2012
September 6, 2012 - Filed under: UA in the News
Dr. Guy Bailey begins his tenure as president of the University of Alabama
WSFA-NBC (Montgomery) – Sept. 5
The University of Alabama’s new president is now on the job, and he grew up, right here in Montgomery. Dr. Guy Bailey spent part of his first day today with our own Jeff Shearer … they talked about the Chisholm Elementary School teacher who inspired Bailey, the popularity of Alabama football, and the future of the university.
Welcome Home, Guy Bailey
Crimson White – Sept. 6
Set back from the bustling traffic of University Boulevard sits the iconic white house of the University: the President’s Mansion. Overlooking the heart of campus, the antebellum home represents not just the residence of campus leaders, but a historical artifact preserved for over 170 years. “Early on, the building was so big and stunning, that it was a focal point of the campus, and it survived the Civil War,” Tom Land, institutional records analyst for The University of Alabama, said. “You have a history with it – it’s one of those buildings that did survive. So it’s something that we all have in common, that every alum has – it’s the President’s Mansion.”…Today, the mansion stands, situated between Rose Administration and Little Hall, and is now the home to the University’s 37th president, Guy Bailey, as of Tuesday. “I’d never been in the president’s mansion, and it’s an absolutely beautiful place,” Bailey said. The building, which has received multiple renovations over the years, features three floors. The first two are used for public events and tours, while the third floor remains the private residence of the University’s president and his wife…Bailey, who will be residing in the mansion full time, said he enjoys living in the center of campus. “It’s great to look out every day and see students walking to class and see all that activity,” he said.
Business incubator opening in downtown Tuscaloosa
Birmingham News – Sept. 6
A new business incubator for West Alabama entrepreneurs will launch today in downtown Tuscaloosa. The venture — a joint partnership among the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, the City of Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama — is in a 9,000-square-foot facility that will be known as The Edge – Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The building at 800 22nd Ave. is owned by Regions Bank and will be a place for office and shared space for early stage companies, organizers say, and will be purposed both for tenants and other businesses in Tuscaloosa. Partners hope to link the region’s entrepreneurs with the assets to increase revenue and employment, including helping minority businesses form and thrive. “Encouraging innovation is a top economic development priority at the Culverhouse College of Commerce,” J. Michael Hardin, dean of the University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Commerce said in a prepared statement. “I think a major responsibility for any business school is to join forces with community partners to attract creative talent and entrepreneurs who can help us teach our students and their employees how to build a successful business.”
Surgeon, professor team in new approach to pain treatment
Science Daily – Sept. 5
A chronic pain condition and numerous gastrointestinal disorders may all be caused by a virus. That’s a Tuscaloosa-based surgeon’s theory likely headed for a clinical trial early next year and one drawing support from a University of Alabama researcher who studies how viruses replicate. The theory of Dr. William “Skip” Pridgen, the physician, is now at the core of a start-up company, Innovative Med Concepts, which has already raised most of the capital needed to fund the Phase II clinical trial to test a novel pain-treatment therapy. Pridgen is the company’s president and managing partner. Dr. Carol Duffy, a UA assistant professor of biological sciences, serves as the company’s chief scientific adviser. The clinical trial will test the effectiveness of a combination of two drugs in treating fibromyalgia, the chronic pain condition known both as a diagnostic and therapeutic dilemma. The trial, pending FDA approval, will involve 140 fibromyalgia patients at 10 sites around the country. The researchers hope it will begin by February 2013. Results from lab work performed by Duffy could further support trial results and also lead to a potential diagnostic tool for physicians treating patients who exhibit fibromyalgia symptoms.
MagLab gets nearly $3 million to build cool new tools
Tallahassee.com – Sept. 5
The MagLab will soon explore new areas of science, thanks to nearly $3 million in grants awarded to the lab by the National Science Foundation … McGill and a host of visiting scientists currently explore materials using a special split magnet that allows them to shoot laser beams at their samples. The magnet is split open at its center, where it has four windows, or ports. The large size of the ports and the strength of the magnet make it a record-breaker. McGill and several visiting scientists — physicists Madalina Furis (from the University of Vermont), David Hilton (University of Alabama) and chemist Greg Scholes (University of Toronto) — will work collaboratively on investigations using the new laser. The physicists are both National Science Foundation Career Award recipients, a prestigious honor given to up-and-coming scientists.
Denny Chimes plays new song honoring national recognized scholars
Crimson White – Sept. 6
The University of Alabama already honors nationally recognized students with scholarships and grants, but it is adding a new accolade to the list: a song played from Denny Chimes. Twice a day for the past two weeks, the Chimes jingled UA’s brand new tune, “Celebrating Achievement,” to honor Rhodes scholars, Truman scholars, National Merit winners and any other recipients of awards at the national level. Now the Chimes will play the song every time a student or faculty member receives a national award, along with an email from Student Affairs identifying the honoree. “It’s using one tradition to honor another,” said Debbie Lane, University spokeswoman who helped with the project. Lane said the idea came from Provost Judy Bonner, who thought it was time to add academic achievement to the list of occasions for the University to fire up the 83-year-old, 25-bell campanile. “We feel like it will be played a lot,” Lane said. The University already boasts 15 Rhodes Scholars, 37 Goldwater Scholars and eight Truman Scholars, and that’s not including faculty and staff, who are also eligible for a musical shout-out for national recognition. The song was composed this summer by UA School of Music graduate student Amir Zaheri and was played multiple times over the past two weeks to make it as recognizable as anything else on the Chimes playlist, Lane said.
UA player helps Canada to Paralympics victory
Tuscaloosa News – Sept. 5
University of Alabama graduate student and member of Alabama’s wheelchair basketball team Bo Hedges scored 14 points in Canada’s 77-51 win against Spain on Wednesday at the 2012 Paralympic Games. Hedges and his Canadian teammates remain undefeated in play. Hedges’ game against Spain also included one assist and one rebound.
Federal regs force coal plant closures now, higher rates later, critics warn
Fox News – Sept. 5
The closure of seven coal-fired electric plants in four states could be a sign of things to come as tough new emissions standards threaten to relegate America’s top energy source to the back burner…Critics of the new federal regulations say they amount to a war on coal, which the U.S. Energy Information Administration says accounts for 42 percent of all electricity generated in the United States. And not only is coal the main weapon in the nation’s energy arsenal, the U.S. holds the world’s largest estimated recoverable reserves of the fossil fuel, according to the federal government. They also note that coal-fired plants employ an estimated 60,000 Americans. “Electric rates will be going up and up as a result of these standards,” Andrew Morriss, a University of Alabama law professor and co-author of “The False Promise of Green Energy,” wrote FoxNews.com in an email. “Utilities will have to either close or spend money upgrading plants, and those are costs state regulators are bound by law to allow them to pass on to electric consumers. Since electricity is embedded in everything from pharmaceuticals to clothing, the prices of goods made in America will also be going up.”
GOP chairman attacks Democratic platform before reversal on God, Jerusalem
Gadsden Times – Sept. 5
Alabama’s Republican Party chairman on Tuesday attacked Democrats for omitting the name of God in their platform, but 24 hours later in a floor vote the party inserted the deity’s name and a statement about Israel… Late Wednesday afternoon, Democrats took three voice votes to return God’s name to the platform and to recognize Jerusalem, which was stated as Obama’s position. The amendment vote shown on videotape drew boos. The vote confused some Alabama delegates who didn’t want to appear disloyal, but who clearly were uncomfortable with the position they were placed in…William Stewart, retired political science professor at the University of Alabama, said Democrats faced political danger with the original platform. “In a state where Roy Moore won the GOP (chief justice) nomination without a runoff, I can’t think of anything that would be more offensive to most Alabamians than the omission of the mention of God in the platform,” he said.
In the Galleries – NEW: Biotextural Landscapes through September 29 at Good Citizen Gallery
Riverfront Times (St. Louis, Mo.) – Sept. 6
Biotextural Landscapes In four large-scale works, sculptor and University of Alabama instructor Craig Wedderspoon wrests buoyancy out of weighty materials. Employing a technique that owes a debt to his mother, a master quilter, Wedderspoon links together small pieces of square metal to create diaphanous-seeming, fabriclike surfaces that he then shapes into undulating, abstract forms. One such form, Requiem, pays tribute to an earlier work (prophetically titled Fast) that literally took flight during a tornado, traveling from the grounds of a private estate to an intersection several miles away. Inspired by the tornado’s revisions, the new work speaks of fragmentation, repeatedly breaking the cohesion of the artist’s reliably latticelike biomorphic forms. Pillowed, a ground-based piece composed of square shapes that are themselves fabricated from smaller squares, is covered in the intricate sort of patina that can only accrete through true use and age. Though it’s physically massive, the work possesses a visual airiness that defies materiality. The exhibit’s greatest departure, Meadow, is made up of dozens of conical pieces of poplar that sprout from the floor to form a prickly landscape.
Students volunteer for Democratic National Convention, represent state of Alabama
Crimson White – Sept. 6
Politicians, pundits and party members have converged in Charlotte, N.C., for this week’s Democratic National Convention, and six University of Alabama students made the trek to volunteer with the Alabama Democratic Party. Will Dodd, a senior majoring in political science and history, interned with the state party in Montgomery over the summer and jumped at the chance to attend the convention with the state delegation. “I felt it was important enough to miss school because I knew the connections and experience I’d have would kind of offset missing my classwork,” Dodd said. “We’ve worked 20-hour days, but the connections I’ve made working with the party on a national level mean a lot, and I think that’s worth it in the end.” Dodd and other UA students traveled to Charlotte last week and are spending their time working at the Alabama delegation’s headquarters, Sweet Home AlObama. They work to set up events, like a football tailgate Saturday or state delegation breakfasts, where they’ve hosted prominent speakers like Sen. Tom Harkin and Howard Dean. Austen Parrish, a senior majoring in economics who also interned in Montgomery over the summer, said he never pictured himself working in politics. “It’s not the flashy campaigns or talking points that keep me involved,” Parrish said. “It’s the overwhelming effect politics can have on our everyday lives that makes me feel an obligation.”
Freshman 15: Myth or reality?
Tuscaloosa News – Sept. 6
According to registered dietitian Sheena Quizon, it’s both. “A lot of students come into college assuming they are automatically going to gain weight their freshman year,” said Quizon, the assistant director of nutrition education and health services for the University of Alabama’s Department of Health Promotion and Wellness. “But the reality is weight gain can happen anytime.” Students who transition from a structured high school environment to the independence of college life may have a more difficult time adjusting to that new freedom, particularly when it comes to the many options surrounding their choice of foods. As high school students, they generally lived at home, were involved in some type of athletics or activities at school and had a well-balanced meal prepared for them every night, but as college freshmen, there are no set meal times, no one to tell them when to exercise and how to eat and a plethora of menu options available. “When balancing a rigorous schedule and learning when and how to eat, sometimes healthy eating takes a back burner,” Quizon said. Most college campuses have dining halls set up in an all-you-can-eat fashion with a variety of choices, such as a pizza bar, salad bar, pasta area, cooked dinners and more. For many students, the multiple options can be overwhelming.
Babysitting programs open employment and volunteer opportunities
Crimson White – Sept. 6
Students with a knack for taking care of kids can now apply to be a babysit through one of two new programs aiming to connect student parents with suitable keepers for their children. The Graduate Parent Support and Undergraduate Parent Support, have established the UA GPS/UPS Babysitting Network to assist stundets with children. Through that program, eligible students can post their profile, resume, schedule, and minimum hourly wage on a listserv for parents to look over. Both Sitters for Service and the GPS/UPS Babysitting network are relatively new to the University. The UA Graduate School founded GPS in the fall of 2009 to help parent students cope with the challenges of managing both studies and parenting. UA’s Student Services launched UPS a few months later to meet similar needs of undergraduate students and began the Sitters for Service program that same year. According to Cori Perdue, the Work Life manager for the University, the Sitters for Service program is the first of its kind in the country. “Two universities have contacted us to try to set up a similar program,” Perdue said.
Alabama softball supporter to be inducted into ESPN’s Hall of Fans
Tuscaloosa News – Sept. 5
Anyone who regularly attends University of Alabama softball games knows Emily Pitek Clifford. She’s the crazy fan dressed in red and white overalls with a pink sombrero on top. Or maybe clad in a Statue of Liberty costume, honoring a UA player from New York. Or standing on top of the dugout directing cheers, or screaming at an opposing player to “Look at my socks!” Now the sporting world knows her, too. Clifford, a 27-year-old assistant soccer coach at Birmingham-Southern College and former University of Alabama soccer play, is one of three inaugural inductees into ESPN’s Hall of Fans after winning the network’s online contest. The three winners – Clifford, Vancouver Canucks green-man fan Sully and Baltimore Ravens supporter Captain Dee-Fense – are scheduled to be inducted Sept. 19 at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn.
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.