Welcome to our commencement web page!
When the Spring 2020 commencement ceremony at Coleman Coliseum was postponed due to COVID-19, it prompted a deeper look into how we celebrate our students’ accomplishments, and, how we share those stories. The result is this page, which will house feature stories, videos and social media links each commencement cycle, starting with our amazing Fall 2020 grads!
Additionally, we’ve uploaded three awesome profile picture frames on Facebook. Visit our Facebook page and/or search for the “University of Alabama,” “School of Social Work,” and “Commencement 2020.” Tag us w/ #UASocialWorkGrad when you upload your frame to social media, and when you share commencement photos during commencement week.
Past Commencement Coverage
Each semester, we highlight a handful of inspiring graduates who have navigated interesting paths to earning their degrees. From overcoming adversity to finding their passion through research and field placements, these stories are a just a snapshot of our amazing students and the remarkable work they do.
Congrats to these special Fall 2020 graduates:
Ella Stewart, BSW
After nearly 30 years of promising herself she’d earn a degree at UA, Ella Stewart will complete her BSW and graduate Saturday, capping an arduous path that included a full-time job at the Northport Housing Authority, raising a family – including children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren – and becoming an ordained minister.
Ella says she’s incredibly grateful for the network of support she’s received in Little Hall during this time, from faculty like Sherron Wilkes and Dr. Laura Hopson, to her field advisors and BSW program assistant Gwen Montgomery. The sum was truly greater than its parts, Ella said, but she’s brought to tears when recalling how Hopson continually motivated her to complete her degree “the healthy way.”
“[Hopson] would tell me, ‘don’t overload yourself … you have family, and you’re working full-time … you’re gonna do this,’” Ella said.
Anna Sogol, BSW
As high school seniors weigh their college options, they eagerly anticipate moving away from home and onto campus, a rite of passage that typically serves as a springboard into adulthood.
But for a small group of high-schoolers, their dream school is just a stone’s throw from their high school. While they could move out of their parents’ house and into a dorm or apartment, the newness of college won’t have the same luster.
Some would view this familiarity of people, places and things as a comfort zone, but for Brookwood High graduate Anna Sogol, the University of Alabama wasn’t her top choice. She was keen to experience a culture different from what she’d grown up around, hoping it would give her an “authentic” college experience and prepare her for a diverse world and workplace.
“Growing up in Tuscaloosa, I was used to a certain kind of environment, a certain kind of climate – politically and in general,” Sogol said. “I wanted to get away and experience something new.”
Sogol eventually settled on UA and living in Tuscaloosa, where her father, Joel, is an attorney. She had plans to attend law school and enrolled in a pre-law track in the department of criminal justice. However, a change of major would ultimately yield the academic, social and cultural experiences Sogol had been yearning for.