UWA commencement exercises set for May 11

Published 8:10 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The University of West Alabama will honor nearly 650 graduates at spring commencement exercises Saturday, May 11, during two ceremonies. Both ceremonies will be held in Pruitt Gymnasium on the UWA campus, with Presidential Receptions open to all graduates and their guests in the Bell Conference Center.

The University will confer degrees in the Ira D. Pruitt Division of Nursing and in the colleges of Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Business, and Education at a 10 a.m. ceremony. Students in the School of Graduate Studies will receive degrees in a 2 p.m. ceremony.

The University will present the 2013 William E. Gilbert Award for Outstanding Teaching to a faculty member nominated by students. The graduating student(s) with the highest GPA will be awarded the 2013 Ralph M. Lyon Award.

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In addition, longtime faculty member Micky Smith will be named Emeritus Professor of Mathematics during commencement exercises. Smith is a 1973 and 1976 graduate of UWA (then Livingston University) and joined the faculty in 1981. Throughout his tenure, Smith has taught mathematics and served the University in a host of other capacities in areas of student success and retention, athletics, and environmental programs.

The University will confer honorary degrees to meteorologist James Spann and educator Catherine Valentino. Each will receive the honorary doctor of laws degree.

Spann, a Hoover resident, is the chief Meteorologist for ABC 33/40 in Birmingham. In a career spanning 34 years, Spann has served as a television weather anchor in Montgomery, Dallas, Birmingham, and his hometown, Tuscaloosa. In 2012, Spann was named nationalbroadcaster of the year by the National Weather Association for his dedication to serving Alabama with critical weather information, especially during thedeadly April 2011 tornado outbreak. Spann was one of the first weather anchors in the nation to earn “Certified Broadcast Meteorologist” status from the American Meteorological Society.

Valentino, a West Kingston, R.I., resident, has been author-in-residence for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company and related subsidiaries since 1985. She currently serves as curriculum advisor for Science Mathematics Integrated Learning Experiences (SMILE), anafterschool program for students in grades 4-12 at the University of Rhode Island. Valentino, who travels the map speaking at workshops for teachers, was a keynote speaker addressing encouragement for middle school girls in math and science at a conference in Menlo Park, Calif., where she was preceded on stage by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Director of Choral Activities Willie Williams will lead the UWA Choir in a special performance honoring graduates. In addition, the UWA Band, directed by Glenn Smith, will perform.

Guests must have tickets, which are available from the graduates, to attend the ceremonies in Pruitt Gym. Overflow seating to watch the commencement exercises will be available in Bibb Graves Auditorium. For more information, call 205-652-3833.