Graduation 2014

Fall 2019 Commencement

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Fall 2019 Commencement will take place Monday, December 16 at the Von Braun Center in the Propst Arena.

The ceremonies will include students who have completed degree requirements in the Fall semester. Doctoral, Masters, and Bachelors degrees will be presented.

  • 10:00 a.m. Ceremony: Colleges of Engineering and Nursing
  • 2:30 p.m. Ceremony: Colleges of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, Business, Education, Professional & Continuing Studies and Science

Graduating students for the 10:00 a.m. ceremony may begin checking in at the East Hall at 9:00 a.m. Graduating students for the 2:30 p.m. ceremony may begin checking in at the East Hall at 1:30 p.m. The arena will open at 9:00 a.m. for guests for the 10:00 a.m. ceremony. The arena will open at 1:30 p.m. for guests for the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.

VBC Rules and Regulations

Fall 2019 10am Commencement Speaker:

Dale Thomas

Dale Thomas

Professor and Eminent Scholar of Systems Engineering

Dr. Dale Thomas currently serves as a Professor and Eminent Scholar of Systems Engineering in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Engineering Management at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). He teaches system engineering students the art and science of systems design and architecture; systems integration, test, and verification; and systems management. He also serves as director of the Alabama Space Grant Consortium and as deputy director of the UAH Propulsion Research Center.

Prior to his retirement from NASA in July of 2015, Dr. Thomas served as the Associate Center Director for the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama, providing technical leadership for all MSFC spaceflight projects. He previously served as NASA’s Constellation Program Manager, leading the Constellation Program Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and a nationwide team including all NASA field centers and five prime contractors.

Dr. Thomas began his NASA career at the MSFC in 1983 as an aerospace engineer in the Systems Analysis and Integration Laboratory. He held several positions during his career at Marshall and within NASA, including manager of the International Space Station Vehicle Analysis and Integration Team at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Chief of the MSFC Systems Test Division, lead systems engineer for NASA’s Space Launch Initiative, and Chief of the MSFC Systems Engineering Division. In addition to his work for NASA, Dr. Thomas co-chaired the Space Systems Committee of the International Astronautical Federation.

He has authored numerous technical papers and chapters in two textbooks. He also served as editor for the systems engineering textbook Applied Space Systems Engineering.

Dr. Thomas has earned numerous awards over his career, including the Presidential Rank Award within the US Government Senior Executive Service, the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership (twice), and the Silver Snoopy Award, presented by astronauts to NASA employees for their contributions to the success of the human spaceflight programs.

A 1977 graduate of Albertville High School in Albertville, Alabama, he received doctoral and bachelor’s degrees in engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and his master’s degree from North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

Dr. Thomas and his wife Susan reside in Huntsville.

Fall 2019 2:30pm Commencement Speaker:

Dale Thomas

Dr. Gary Zank

University of Alabama Board of Trustees Trustee Professor,
Aerojet/Rocketdyne Chair in Space Science,
Eminent Scholar and Distinguished Professor,
Director, Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR),
Professor and Chair
Department of Space Science

University of Alabama in Huntsville
Huntsville, AL 35899
Office: (256) 961-7401

Gary Zank is a space physicist who works on the physics of the solar wind, especially its interaction with the local interstellar medium, the acceleration and transport of energetic particles, turbulence, and shock waves. He is currently the first University of Alabama Board of Trustees Trustee Professor, and holds the Aerojet/Rocketdyne Chair in Space Science. He is also an Eminent Scholar and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Space Science at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), of which he is Chair, and Director of the Center of Space Physics and Aeronomic Research at UAH. Zank grew up in South Africa, graduating from the University of Natal with a BSc (Hons.) and a PhD. He was a Max-Planck Post-Doctoral Fellow in Germany and Bartol Research Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow, before joining the faculty of the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware. Prior to his joining UAH in 2008, Zank was the Chancellor’s Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside. He was the System-wide Director of the Institute of Geophysics & Planetary Physics at the University of California and the campus Director of the Institute of Geophysics & Planetary Physics at the University of California, Riverside. Zank is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and an Honorary Member of the Asia, Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS). His awards include the Zeldovich Medal (COSPAR) and the Axford Medal (AOGS). He was elected a Member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2016.

Research Interests

Gary Zank’s research interests extend across space physics, plasma astrophysics, and plasma physics. Although his research is related primarily to theory, modeling, and simulations, Zank is involved in numerous experimental and observational programs. Some areas of research include the interaction of the solar wind with the partially ionized interstellar medium. Zank and colleagues introduced models that include the coupling of the partially ionized interstellar gas with heliospheric plasma, which led to the prediction and subsequent observation of the so-called hydrogen-wall. Related work using Lyman-alpha absorption measurements led to the discovery of an extra-solar hydrogen-wall at alpha-Cen, and the discovery of a solar-like stellar wind from another solar-like star (alpha-Cen). Work on interstellar pickup ions showed that pickup ion reflection is the primary dissipation mechanism at the heliospheric termination shock, a result that was confirmed by Voyager 2 12 years later. Zank and colleagues explored turbulence throughout the heliosphere, developing models of so-called nearly incompressible magnetohydrodynamics as well as transport models for turbulence. This work underpins the scattering of charged particles and the heating and driving of the corona and solar wind throughout the heliosphere, making the broader implications of this work substantial. Zank has led the development of a quantitative understanding and modeling of gradual solar energetic particle events, energetic particles accelerated by shock waves driven by coronal mass ejections.


Schedule of Events 10:00 a.m. Ceremony

9:00 a.m. Students check-in East Hall
9:00 a.m. Doors open for guests Propst Arena
10:00 a.m. Ceremony begins Propst Arena

Schedule of Events 2:30 p.m. Ceremony

1:30 p.m. Students check-in East Hall
1:30 p.m. Doors open for guests Propst Arena
2:30 p.m. Ceremony begins Propst Arena

Note: If there is an event at the same time as Commencement, please arrive 15-20 minutes before doors open.

Candidate Instructions


No tickets are required for guests. Please notify family and friends that the doors will open exactly one hour prior to the scheduled ceremony time. Guests, family members and spouses are not permitted in the assembly or robing areas and should go directly to the arena.

The Von Braun Center is committed to creating a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience for all guests. All patrons entering the Von Braun Center during an event are subject to screening, which varies from event-to-event. Screenings range from visual inspection and bag search to screenings by a magnetometer (metal detector) and/or pat-down search conducted by security personnel. The purpose of the inspection is to detect prohibited items. For more information about prohibited items, please visit the VBC website

Commencement Guide

Download PDF


Candidates will need to arrive at the Von Braun Center one and a half hours prior to the scheduled ceremony time. See the Von Braun Center Propst Arena Layout Map for student seating locations.

Line-Up and Procession

Students should report to their college line-up area in the Von Braun Center East Hall no later than one hour prior to the ceremony. You will receive a line-up card indicating your number in line and be instructed by University staff about when and where to line up. Your line-up card is the key to get you across the stage.

Commencement in 2 minutes! Student perspective

Participation in Commencement

Fall Commencement - Students who have completed degree requirements in the Summer semester, as well as those who have applied for graduation and will complete all degree requirements for the Fall semester.
Spring Commencement - Students who have applied for graduation and will complete all degree requirements for the Spring semester.

Doctoral candidates must notify Graduates Studies in order to participate in the ceremony.

What to Bring to Commencement

Degree candidates should purchase their caps and gowns from the UAH Campus Bookstore prior to the ceremony and must bring them, along with their tassels, to Commencement. Students should not bring purses, cell phones, etc., into the Von Braun Center. Personal items may not be left in the assembly or robing areas during the ceremony. Please refer to Guest Searches in the Commencement Guide for more information on prohibited items. 

Academic Regalia

Commencement is an occasion marking a special time in a student's academic career. Appropriate attire for the occasion is a black academic gown and mortarboard with no personal accessories or messages. Undergraduate student members of academic honor societies may wear the insignia or honor cord of that academic honor society. Flowers, personal jewelry, pins or cords from social fraternities and sororities are not to be worn on academic robes. All graduates participating in the ceremony must wear their academic regalia.

Caps and Gowns

Caps and gowns may be purchased at Countdown to Cap and Gown or in the UAH Campus Bookstore Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Doctoral candidates should pre-order your cap and gown at least one month prior to the ceremony.

Tassel Colors

  Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences - White

  Business - Drab

  Education - Light Blue

  Engineering - Orange

  Nursing - Apricot

  Science - Gold

  Professional Studies - Black

  Doctoral - Old Gold

Future Commencement Dates

Spring 2020 Commencement: Thursday, April 30, 2020
Fall 2020 Commencement: Monday, December 14, 2020
Spring 2021 Commencement: Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Additional dates can be found at this link.