Albert Patterson and family.
Dr. Albert Patterson, center, stands with his mother, Barbara Patterson, left, and his aunt, Anna Stallings, at The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s (UAH) 2023 Alumni of Achievement Awards dinner, when he was named Outstanding Young Alumnus. Albert, the oldest of nine siblings, started a family tradition when he graduated for the first time from UAH in 2013. Since then, four of his brothers and sisters and two of their spouses have earned UAH degrees.
Jeff White | UAH

Earning a degree from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has become something of a tradition in the Patterson family. Among the nine brothers and sisters and three spouses, five of the siblings and two of the in-laws hold a total of 10 UAH degrees: seven bachelor’s degrees and three master’s degrees from the College of Business and the College of Engineering. UAH is part of the University of Alabama System.

Eldest sibling Albert Patterson started it all with two degrees: a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 2013 and an M.S. in industrial and systems engineering in 2014. Since leaving UAH, he earned a doctorate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is now an assistant professor and director of the Manufacturability-Driven Design Lab at Texas A&M University.

Albert calls his UAH education “key” to his success: “Not only did the rigorous and comprehensive engineering education prepare me well for an industry career and to succeed in a top-10 Ph.D. program, but it helped to form me as a person. I consider my engineering career to be a vocation more than a job, and the excellent professors and mentors I had at UAH did a lot to instill that in me. I do not think any other school could have given me such a perfect preparation for my future career and personal path.”

Albert received the 2023 UAH Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Alumnus of Achievement Award.

In 2014, the year Albert received his master’s, his sister Virginia Patterson Sutton earned her first UAH degree, a B.S. in business administration. She graduated with her MBA in 2015. She’s now a mother and homemaker. Husband Ryan Sutton holds two degrees from the University of Alabama, so he’s still in the system family.

Their sister Elizabeth Patterson, a lead systems engineer for the U.S. Department of Defense, earned her B.S. in industrial and systems engineering from UAH in 2016 and her M.S. in industrial and systems engineering in 2017.

Along with valuable mentorship from her professors, Elizabeth says some of her best memories from UAH came from attending at the same time as several siblings: “We worked through our degrees together and also received so much support from family, especially our amazing mother, Barbara Patterson.”

Another sister, Marie Patterson, works for the Department of Defense, too, but she is an accountant supporting contracts and projects. She graduated from UAH in 2017 with a B.S.B.A. in accounting with a federal account contracting concentration.

Their brother Joseph Patterson also went the engineering route, earning a B.S. in industrial and systems engineering from UAH in 2019. He is an engineer for the Department of Defense.

While appreciating UAH’s “academic rigor,” Joseph says, “My greatest experiences at UAH are the friends and colleagues I met along the way. I also work with several individuals that I knew at UAH, and that familiarity aids in developing a positive professional relationship.”

Maria Brown Patterson, Joseph’s wife, is an engineer with the Department of Defense, too, but her B.S. degree is in aerospace engineering. She graduated from UAH in 2016.

Their sister Theresa Patterson Foy married Matthew Foy, who received his B.S.B.A. in management from UAH in 2021. Matthew shares his in-laws’ family feeling about UAH.

“I chose to attend UAH because it felt like an extension of home,” he says. “My time at UAH helped me earn a promotion at my previous job. It also helped me to earn my current position as procurement analyst at LG Electronics. It's a wonderful university to represent Huntsville.”


Kristina Hendrix

Elizabeth Gibisch