University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
April 15 , 2009
Contact: Jennifer Z. Ekman, Office of Public Relations, (251) 460-6360
USA to Award Record Degrees for Academic Year at May 9 Commencement
Retired USA Senior Vice President Dr. Pat C. Covey to Address Spring Graduates
Dr. Pat C. Covey  
Dr. Pat C. Covey
The University of South Alabama will award an estimated 1,299 degrees at its Spring Commencement ceremony May 9, bringing the total degrees awarded for the academic year to a record 2,792.

The ceremony, which will be held at 2 p.m. at the USA Mitchell Center, brings the total number of degrees awarded throughout USA’s history to 64,941.

Dr. Pat C. Covey, lauded for her leadership as a distinguished faculty member, dean and administrator, will deliver an address to USA graduates at the ceremony.

Covey served USA for more than 33 years, shaping the future of USA and the community through her many career accomplishments, including the development and growth of the College of Allied Health Professions and the addition of numerous degree programs. She retired in 2008.

USA will honor Covey with a doctor of science degree.

At the Spring Commencement ceremony, USA will award 911 bachelor’s degrees, 246 master’s degrees, nine educational specialists degrees, 63 doctor of medicine degrees, 44 doctor of physical therapy degrees, 12 doctor of nursing degrees, three doctor of audiology degrees, and 11 doctors of philosophy degrees.

Additionally, USA and the Mobile County Public School System will partner again this year to provide live video streaming of the University’s Spring Commencement.  The live coverage begins May 9 at 2 p.m., CDST, on the University’s Web site at  Recorded video of the event will be available online at the same address following the live Web cast.

Video streaming of all MCPSS schools to hold graduation inside the USA Mitchell Center, plus private schools McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, St. Paul’s and Mobile Christian, may be seen at A high school graduation schedule is available on the same Web site. Only Citronelle High School’s graduation will not be video streamed because it is not held inside the Mitchell Center.

Dr. Covey: A Legacy of Selfless Service to USA

Covey’s career at USA began in 1975 when she accepted a position as assistant professor to create the Department of Medical Technology, which later became the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences.   Since that time, she has served in numerous posts at the University, including professor and chair of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, professor of Biomedical Sciences, founding dean of the College of Allied Health Professions, and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. 

 During her tenure at USA, Covey provided leadership for the development of academic programs in biomedical sciences, cardiorespiratory care, clinical laboratory sciences, cytotechnology, environmental toxicology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, radiography, speech pathology and audiology, and ultrasound radiation therapy.

Additionally, Covey led the development of new doctoral programs in audiology, communication sciences and disorders, and physical therapy.  Her leadership over several years resulted in the implementation of the Doctor of Pharmacy program with Auburn University, addressing a critical need for pharmacy professionals in the Gulf Coast region.

While serving as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Covey worked diligently to advance many University initiatives, among them the creation of the USA Honors Program, the programs for Undergraduate Research, Accelerated College Admission, Student Academic Success and Retention, the USA On-line campus, the Program for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, and the Strategic Plan for Racial and Ethnic Diversity.  She also oversaw the planning for the development of the library addition, Meisler Hall, and the Health Sciences Building, further enhancing student services and improving the learning environment on campus.

Covey has distinguished herself and the institution nationally through her leadership roles in the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, the Southern Association of Allied Health Deans, the Alabama Chief Academic Officers, and through her exemplary service to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for university accreditation. 

Covey completed her postdoctoral fellowship in neurobiology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.  She received her Ph.D. in physiology from Clemson University and her bachelor of arts degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  A native of Hendersonville, N.C., she is married to Lee Covey.  In retirement, they divide their time between Point Clear, Ala., and Flat Rock, N.C.


For the graduating students, there will be reserved parking in the parking lot across from the Student Recreation Center on Jaguar Drive, which is located behind the Mitchell College of Business.  Admittance to the Physical Education Building is limited to graduating students only.

Handicapped parking will be limited but is available for students, family and friends.  Entrance to this parking lot will be from Old Shell Road only (behind the Mitchell Center).  Proper tags must be visible for access to this lot.

SHUTTLE SERVICES (for family and guests)

Signage will be set up on University Boulevard and Old Shell Road, which will direct traffic to the shuttle/parking areas.  In addition, directional parking signage will be displayed. 

SHUTTLE TIMES:  Shuttle services will run from noon to 6 p.m.

SHUTTLE PICKUP POINTS:  University Commons, Gamma Residence Hall parking lot, and the parking lot east of the Computer Science Building.

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