UNA Students Win Design Competition for 2013 W.C. Handy Music Festival

May. 1, 2013


By Terry Pace, UNA Communications and Marketing

FLORENCE, Ala. – Two University of North Alabama undergraduate students – sophomore Mackenzie Kimbrough of Tuscumbia and freshman Maurice Mull of Tanner – have submitted the winning entry for the 2013 W.C. Handy Music Festival design competition.

The collaboration between Kimbrough and Mull will serve as the official visual image for the 32nd annual Handy festival, to be presented by the Music Preservation Society from July 19-28.

The 10-day event takes place each year in the hometown of the world-famous “Father of the Blues” – Florence native W.C. Handy (1873-1958), composer of “St. Louis Blues,” “Memphis Blues” and “Beale Street Blues” and other American jazz, blues, folk and spiritual standards.

“It is a blessing that our design won over so many amazing entries,” said Mull, a human-resource management major and a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

Kimbrough is a marketing major with a minor in family studies. Both students are members of the UNA Honors Program.

“We got a lot of our inspiration from my dad, who is a drummer for the Kerry Gilbert Band,” Kimbrough explained. “The KGB has played in the W.C. Handy Music Festival several times. I have always looked up to my dad and enjoy being a part of the legacy of W.C. Handy.”

UNA offers undergraduate degrees in computer science and computer information systems. The students’ winning design was created as a class assignment for an honors computing course taught by Ron Davis, an assistant professor of computing information systems at UNA.  Students from this course have also submitted winning images for the past three festivals.

“I am really pleased with Mackenzie and Maurice’s design, and I am also very proud of the effort that all of the students in this class made,” Davis said, noting that his class has been submitting entries for the Handy design competition for several years. 

“At the beginning of the semester, most of the students have little to no experience with the software we use to make our submissions,” he explained. “Yet, by the end of the semester, I am always amazed to see the fantastic designs they have created. I think this is due to their hard work and to the inspiration they draw from the legacy of W.C. Handy.”

All of the artwork submitted for the 2013 Handy design competition can be seen in a public exhibition to be presented at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts during this year's Handy celebration. Nancy Gonce, the festival’s executive director, said the Handy design competition “provides an excellent opportunity for area students of any grade level to work with an actual project that addresses a need of a local organization.”

The UNA Honors Program is an academically selective four-year experience open to all majors.

“I could not be more proud of our Honors Program students,” said Dr. Vince Brewton, director of the Honors Program. “To have submitted the winning design four years in a row is just astonishing. Ron Davis has done a great job in the class by laying the foundation of basic knowledge for their work, and the creativity and innovative spirit of our Honors Program students confirms that they are being well prepared for the 21st century job market.”

For more information on the Honors Program, or to apply, visit www.una.edu/honors. For information on the UNA Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, visit www.una.edu/business/departments-majors/computer-science-information-systems/index.html.

A high-resolution image of the winning Handy design will be available in our Photo Gallery at: 
http://www.unalionsden.com/archive/photo.php?id=6704