Office of the Director, Town and Gown Theatre, 1950-1999


Immediate Predecessor:

n/a

Immediate Successor:

n/a

Reporting Hierarchy:

1950-1958: Town and Gown, Director of the Birmingham Extension Center, Dean of Extension Services, President of UA;
1958-1962: Town and Gown, Director of the Birmingham Extension Center, Executive Director of University Affairs, President of UA;
1962-1966: Town and Gown, Director of the Birmingham Extension Center, Dean of Extension Services, President of UA;
1966-1968: Town and Gown, Division of Humanities, College of General Studies, Vice President for Birmingham Affairs, President of UA;
1968-1969: Town and Gown, Division of Humanities, College of General Studies, Executive Vice President, President of UA;
1969-1971: Town and Gown, Division of Humanities, College of General Studies, President of UAB;
1971-1973: Town and Gown, Division of Humanities, School of Arts and Sciences, Vice President for University College, President of UAB;
1973-1980: Town and Gown, Department of Performing Arts, School of Humanities, Vice President for University College, President of UAB;
1980-1987: Town and Gown, Department of Theatre and Dance, School of Humanities, Vice President for University College, President of UAB;
1987-1989: Town and Gown, Department of Theatre and Dance, School of Arts and Humanities, Vice President for University College, President of UAB;
1989-1995: Town and Gown, Department of Theatre and Dance, School of Arts and Humanities, Vice President for Academic Affairs, President of UAB;
1995-1999: Town and Gown, Department of Theatre, School of Arts and Humanities, Provost, President of UAB.

Directors:

James F. Hatcher, 1950-1991
Gary Robertson, 1991-1996
H. Langdon "Lang" Reynolds, 1996-1999

History:

In 1950 the University of Alabama established a theatrical program at its Birmingham Extension Center. Under the direction of founding director, James F. Hatcher, the theater gained a reputation for professionalism and quality. Hatcher, better known as “Jimmy,” “Hatch,” or “Mr. Theatre,” was a native of Enterprise, Alabama. He graduated from Birmingham-Southern College and following service during World War II, continued his education. In 1950 Hatcher received a Master’s of Arts degree from the University of Alabama. Soon after graduation, he accepted the first full-time speech and theatre position at the Birmingham Extension Center. Hatcher would remain with his beloved Town and Gown Theatre for the rest of his career, even as the Birmingham Extension Center became the new College of General Studies at the newly independent University of Alabama in Birmingham and later as the University was renamed as the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). (Note: For a complete biography of Hatcher, see the finding aid for the Hatcher Papers, Manuscript Collection 16)

Town and Gown Theatre combined local community talent, local students and faculty, and a host of Broadway and Hollywood veterans to create a unique community theatre that was connected to the University. Hatcher earned a reputation as a lovable and affable perfectionist, something of a taskmaster who expected the best from his actors and his company.

The first production of Town and Gown, Born Yesterday, was held in Birmingham’s Temple Arena Theatre. It opened on December 6, 1950, with Broadway and Hollywood star Tommy Dix in the lead. While the University had established a formal theatrical program under Hatcher’s leadership, there was no permanent home for the Town and Gown theater. When the program was initiated, the Birmingham Extension Center was still housed in an old wood frame house located in downtown Birmingham at 2131 6th Avenue North. The extension programs had opened in September of 1936 and had, by 1950 having outgrown its original home, had expanded to numerous buildings around the city center.

For the first several seasons, Town and Gown productions were held in venues across the city, including Ramsay High School, the Chamber of Commerce building, the Tutwiler Hotel, and the Birmingham Art Museum. Things improved for Hatcher during the theatre program’s fourth season. In December 1954 Augusta (Clark) Noland and her family donated to the University a theatre facility located at 1116 South 26th Street in the Highlands neighborhood on the Southside of Birmingham.

The first Town and Gown production held in its new home, Candles in the Canebrake, opened on February 14, 1955. The play by Lulie Hard McKinley of Birmingham was based on the early Nineteenth Century Vine and Olive Colony settlement near Demopolis, Alabama, and the production of Canebrake was held in conjunction with the Birmingham Festival of Arts. Starting in 1953, Hatcher – also the honorary chair of the drama division of the Festival of Arts – conducted a contest for an original three-act play to be produced at Town and Gown as part of the city’s annual arts festival. In 1953 the first winner was Ruth Lloyd Apsey.

Following renovations to the building, on January 31, 1956, the building was formally reopened and dedicated as the Louis V. Clark Memorial Theatre with an opening production of Best Foot Forward. This show had music and lyrics by Hugh Martin (a Birmingham native) and Ralph Blane and featured a special guest performance by Tommy Dix. Dix had appeared in the very first production of Town and Gown Theatre back in 1950 and had starred in the 1941 Broadway and in the 1943 Hollywood production of Best Foot Forward. Clark Theatre remained home to Town and Gown for the rest of the program’s history.

From the very first season, Hatcher took Town and Gown on the road taking live theatre to areas where it either did not exist or was not available on a regular basis. In 1951 The Trial of Mary Dugan was staged at the Lawson Air Force Base at Fort Benning, Georgia, just across the state line from Alabama. The starring role was played by Mary Hewitt Badham, wife of Army General Henry Badham, Jr.  A Town and Gown state tour was launched in the spring of 1952 when Hatcher took For Love or Money on the road to Tuscaloosa, Fort Rucker, and Daphne. Other tours over the years were taken to cities around the state, including Fairhope, Gadsden, Sylacauga, Talladega, and various points in-between. A statewide tour of The Man Who Came to Dinner during the fall of 1961 traveled from Anniston to Tuscaloosa from Valley to Fort Payne and featured the unknown Patricia “Pat” Neal. Neal – later known as Fannie Flagg – received her first experience in the theatre in the 1957 Town and Gown production of Pal Joey. She would appear in her first show in December 1959 when she had one line of dialogue as a maid in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Town and Gown tours traveled outside the State of Alabama on numerous occasions. The Boyfriend was staged in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, in 1962, and a national tour of The Boyfriend in 1967 had productions staged at Clemson University, Southern Illinois University, and West Virginia State College and at venues in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. In 1988-89 Hatcher’s production of Speak of Me As I Am traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, Washington, DC, and to Wisconsin where it was staged as part of the local celebrations for Black History Month. In 1971 Hatcher went international when he took the UAB production of Kaleidoscope: A Celebration from Minstrels to Mod on a summer tour of Italy. Other UAB productions later traveled to Sweden to perform in the 1987 Malmo arts festival and again in 1988 to appear on Swedish television in honor of actress Ulla Sallert.

The first theatrical production in the state of Alabama to have a multi-racial cast was staged at Town and Gown Theatre. Director Hatcher selected Alabama native Mae Nolden Pickens for a role in the January 1969 production of A Member of the Wedding. Pickens would go on to appear in numerous Town and Gown productions, as would John Nixon, a local African American dentist. In January of 1975 Dr. Nixon was cast in the starring role of Othello, a show that received much local press and national attention because of its multi-racial cast. Nixon would also appear in several Town and Gown productions over the years.

When the 25th anniversary for Town and Gown was celebrated in October 1974, the Silver Anniversary Celebration was the inaugural theatrical event held in the city’s recently completed Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.

Intrinsically linked to Town and Gown and founding director Jimmy Hatcher, were both Summerfest and the Miss Alabama Pageant. Summerfest was founded in 1979 by Hatcher and Birmingham Mayor David Vann “as a summer stock company that would extend the Town & Gown Theatre’s repertoire to musical theatre” [quote from www.bhamwiki.com]. The first production of Summerfest was Mame, which opened at the city’s Boutwell Auditorium in July 1979. A non-profit entity, Summerfest was also established to provide training and education to area high school and collegiate students. In 2007 – well after Hatcher’s death in 1993 – Summerfest was renamed as the Red Mountain Theatre Company.

Hatcher was also deeply involved in the Miss Alabama Pageant.  His involvement came most likely through his long friendship and collaboration with Lily May Caldwell, head of the Miss Alabama organization and the chief arts and entertainment writer – later editor – for the Birmingham News. The Birmingham News and Caldwell organized the first Miss Alabama pageant in 1936, and Hatcher maintained a long association with the Miss Alabama organization. From 1947, when he was still a student at Birmingham-Southern, Hatcher directed the annual pageant in Birmingham. He also helped Caldwell with the state’s contestant to the Miss America Pageant and in 1960 Hatcher directed the annual national pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Their greatest success came when the 1950 Miss Alabama winner, Yolande Betzbe, became the first Alabamian crowned as Miss America. His work with the two pageant organizations would in later years prove fruitful as several women who had won the Alabama or the America title would travel to Birmingham to appear in Town and Gown or Summerfest productions. (Note: For more information on Hatcher’s work with the Miss Alabama organization, see his manuscript collection. For more information on Lily May Caldwell, see the finding aid for the Caldwell Papers, Manuscript Collection 15.)

The Birmingham Extension Center grew and in the 1960s gained more autonomy from the University of Alabama main campus in Tuscaloosa. In 1954 all programs were moved from their downtown location to a newly completed University of Alabama Extension Center building that was located on South 20th Street adjacent to the University’s Medical Center and hospital. In 1966 the extension and the medical programs were officially joined to form the new “University of Alabama in Birmingham” a degree-granting branch of the University of Alabama. Additional changes arrived soon afterward and in June 1969 Governor Albert P. Brewer announced that a new administrative structure would be implemented for the University of Alabama. Starting with that fall semester, there would be a new three-campus system with independent and autonomous universities in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Huntsville. The University of Alabama in Birmingham – renamed as the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1984 – became a separate university.

Hatcher’s faculty appointment transferred like it did for all other faculty in Birmingham from the University of Alabama to the new UAB, and Town and Gown became a component of the new university. Hatcher had acted somewhat autonomously as part of the extension program in Birmingham and this continued for Town and Gown, especially in the very early years of UAB. Later, as UAB developed into a comprehensive urban university, Hatcher’s autonomy was reduced as Town and Gown became more entrenched within the administrative and academic structures of the university. In 1973 the former Division of Humanities within the College of General Studies was elevated to the status of an academic school as the School of Humanities. One of the components of the new school was the Department of Performing Arts -- renamed as the Department of Theatre and Dance in 1980. Town and Gown theater was one of the units within this academic department. In 1987 the school would be renamed as the UAB School of Arts and Humanities.

Hatcher and his highly successful program were valued by the local Birmingham community and by UAB administration and the program continued to flourish. But the absorption of Town and Gown into the academic programs at UAB caused a considerable amount of friction between Hatcher and the department chairs and, at times, the school deans. The 1971-1972 annual report for the School of Humanities noted that Town and Gown had been organized “as a continuing education activity” for the University and had, from its beginning, provided “a training ground for talented Alabamians who want to pursue a professional career” and offered a “creative outlet to other talented citizens who use the theater as an avocation.” In the report of 1973-1974, the chair of the performing arts department noted that he was nominally responsible for the “relatively free-floating” Town and Gown Theatre which “operated with little connection with the objectives and authority of the department, indeed in some cases even of the University.” The chair did write that Hatcher and his program were very effective in their extramural activities and had “enthusiastic followers outside the University, for whom they perform very well the University’s function of public service.”

Town and Gown survived several department chairs, numerous departmental name changes, various school deans, and all three of UAB’s first presidents, most of whom were supporters and/or proponents of the theatre and of Hatcher. In 1989 President Charles A. McCallum, Jr., presented Hatcher the President’s Medal. The medal is given as an honor to a person who has provided distinguished service to the university.  For many years, Hatcher was one of the longest serving members of the UAB faculty and he attained the distinction as the longest serving member as of the June 1989 commencement ceremony. But after a tenure of 41 years Hatcher retired from UAB and from his beloved Town and Gown Theatre in 1991. But even in retirement, Hatch maintained a connection to the UAB campus as a special assistant to the President for performing arts.

Gary Robertson succeeded Hatcher as the second director of Town and Gown Theatre, but his tenure was brief and he left the position in 1996. Langdon “Lang” Reynolds, who became chair of the UAB theatre department in 1993, then took over the direction of Town and Gown. Reynolds headed both Town and Gown and the theatre department until he left the university in 1999. It was during the tenure of Reynolds that things changed drastically for Town and Gown Theatre.

In the fall of 1996, UAB opened the first phase of a long-awaited and planned performing arts complex in the heart of the University’s western campus. That facility, the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, initially opened with a large concert hall seating over 1,400. Three years later, in September 1999, the facility’s remaining venues, two smaller theatres and a recital hall, were officially opened at the completion of phase two. As Stephens Center construction was nearing completion, UAB administration announced that it would eliminate Town and Gown as an entity following the end of the 1998-1999 season and would move all student productions to the new performing arts center.

The final Town and Gown production was the musical Cabaret, held at the Clark Memorial Theatre in May of 1999. The final Cabaret performance on May 16, 1999, marked the end of a long and successful theater company and the end of the run in the Clark Memorial Theatre. UAB had announced its intent to sell the Clark Memorial Theatre once Town and Gown had ended. Eventually, the Metropolitan Arts Council (MAC) raised funds to acquire the Clark Memorial Theatre from UAB. Following a major renovation, it was reopened in May of 2002 as the newly renamed Virginia Samford Theatre.

By Tim L. Pennycuff

Records Series

45.1, Administrative Records, 1932-1998: Bulk 1950-1998, 1 cubic foot
45.2, Administrative Production Files, 1946-1998, 4 cubic feet
P45.2, Production Photographs, 1936-1998, 5 cubic feet
45.3, Programs and Playbills, 1927-1999: Bulk 1950-1999, 4 cubic feet
P45.4, Miscellaneous Photos, 1965-1988, 0.33 cubic foot
45.5, Scrapbooks, 1977-1999, 3 cubic feet
P45.6, Celebrities and Entertainers Photographs, 1930s-1990s, 3 cubic feet

Related Series

Note: A large amount of records of Director Hatcher can also be found in the James F. Hatcher Papers (Manuscript Collection 16). These items arrived at the UAB Archives soon after Hatcher’s death in 1993 and were originally processed in 1994. Patrons will want to review material in Record Group 45 and in Manuscript Collection 16 to obtain a more complete view of UAB’s Town and Gown Theatre.

This page created 2015 and last updated by Tim L. Pennycuff on 23 January 2015.

Copyright: The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

WBHM 90.3 FM Public Radio, 1976-


Immediate Predecessor:

n/a

Immediate Successor:

n/a

Reporting Hierarchy:

1976-1980: WBHM, Vice President for Administration, President;
1980-1988: WBHM, Vice President for Research and Institutional Advancement, President;
1989-1990: WBHM, Vice President for University Affairs, President;
1991-1993: WBHM, Vice President for Research and University Affairs, President;
1993-1995: WBHM, Executive Vice President, President;
1995-1998: WBHM, Vice President for University Advancement, President;
1998-2016: WBHM, Vice President for Development, Alumni and External Relations, President;
2016- : WBHM, Chief Communications Officer, President

General Managers:

Charles W. Holmes, 2017-
Scott E. Hanley, 2012-2016
(Interim) Kristi Lamont Ellis, 2011-2012
Michael L. Morgan, 1992-2011
(Acting) Richard W. Deason, 1991-1992
Robert N. Eastman, 1982-1991
(Interim) Richard W. Deason, 1982-1982
Florence M. Monroe, 1976-1981

History:

"WBHM is a listener-supported service of the University of Alabama at Birmingham."  It is licensed to UAB and "is governed by the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama."  The station is "Your NPR News Station" and is the "home to the Alabama Radio Reading Service, a resource for the blind and print-impaired."  The radio station's "main purpose is to provide noncommercial public broadcasting and educational telecommunication services throughout Alabama.  WBHM began broadcasting in December 1976 and was the first full-service public radio station in north central Alabama" [WBHM website, 2015].

Planning for a non-commercial radio station to be located at UAB began in the early 1970s and on November 29, 1974, the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System, on behalf of UAB, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate a station at UAB for broadcast to the Birmingham metropolitan region.  Dr. John Dunbar, Vice President for Administration, was charged with establishing the new station at UAB.  FCC approval for the station was received by late winter of 1976 and WBHM became the second NPR member station in Alabama -- the first being WLRH in Huntsville -- and the new station at UAB became the 200th station affiliated with National Public Radio (NPR).  NPR President Lee Frischknecht was particularly pleased to have a 200th affiliated station during the celebrations of the country's 200th birthday.

Dr. Florence Monroe came to UAB in June of 1976 as the station's first General Manager.  Dr. Monroe, with a PhD in Communications and over 30 years of broadcasting experience, was responsible for setting up the new station and for hiring the staff.  During the late summer/early fall, Monroe hired a staff and organized the broadcast schedule.  At 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 5, 1976, WBHM 90.3 FM officially began service with a live broadcast of Amerigo Marino conducting the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the Star Spangled Banner.  WBHM's first programming schedule had the station operating 7-days and broadcasting between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 6:00 a.m. until midnight on the weekends.  An assortment of NPR programming aired during the day with classical, folk, and contemporary music chiefly filing the evenings and weekends.  To celebrate the university's new public radio station, UAB hosted an open house on February 10, 1977, allowing the public to see the station's new home on the western end of campus in the old Mathematics Department building at 7th Avenue and 11th Street.  WBHM has remained in the same facility since it first went on the air in 1976.

The first Fundfest, held May 15-19, 1977, raised over $17,000 for the station and had the suggested giving level of $15 per year for subscriber membership.  Guest announcers during the inaugural fund drive included tennis star Billie Jean King, opera singer Rachel Mathes, and Amerigo Marino, conductor of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.  The first issue of the station's monthly newsletter, The Listener, debuted in January 1977 and was made available to the station's new member subscribers.

By the 1980s, WBHM was funded by three chief entities, one-third by UAB, one-third by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and one-third by fund raising efforts including member subscribers and corporate underwriters.  In April 1984 NPR reported that WBHM was in the top 50 affiliates in listenership.  On March 2, 1987, WBHM began broadcasting 24-hours per day, seven-days per week.  In 1988 the station received its first national award when "Treacherous Island," an on-air drama written by staff member Dick Deason was honored by San Francisco State University.  Another national award followed in 1990 when the International Radio Festival of New York presented a bronze medal for the three-part drama "The Gold Disc of Coosa," written by WBHM staff members Betty Pewitt and Jean Pierce.

In 1993 WBHM was the sponsoring station for a live local broadcast of the popular American Radio Company, Garrison Keillor's radio variety show that was broadcast live on NPR each Saturday evening.  Keillor and the show's production crew had arrived in Birmingham a few days prior to the scheduled broadcast on March 13.  Spring was in full force in central Alabama and Saturday's show was a sell-out in the 2,200-seat Alabama Theatre.  But on Friday a rare snow began to fall and by Saturday Birmingham -- like much of the rest of the eastern US and Canada -- was in the midst of the Blizzard of 1993, also known as the "Storm of the Century."  As officially recorded at the airport, the City of Birmingham received 13 inches of snow with parts of the metropolitan area receiving 17 inches.  This was a record snow fall for the city and was more snow than had ever been recorded during an entire winter season in Birmingham.  Travel was nonexistent in central Alabama, but Keillor's show had to go on as planned although only a few hundred ticket holders were able to attend the show's performance from the Alabama Theatre.  The blizzard featured prominently in that night's broadcast.  Keillor did return to Birmingham later in the year to accommodate the original ticket holders for the blizzard show.

By the start of the new century, WBHM 90.3 FM had little local programming of music but it was a member of the Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN).  This allowed the station to broadcast a range of classical music without the need for an extensive in-house music library.  When CPRN ceased operations in 2008, WBHM switched programming to become a mostly news/discussion format for daytime hours with jazz and classical music programmed for the later evening and overnight hours.  In 2012 UAB launched a major technology and infrastructure upgrade for the station.

Administratively at UAB, WBHM originally fell within the marketing, public relations, and advancement areas within the university, and the station's General Manager traditionally had reporting lines to those various university offices.  When the station was first established in 1976, the General Manager reported directly to the Vice President for Administration.  In the 1980s, the General Manager began reporting to someone at the assistant or associate vice presidential level within public relations and/or marketing, with that person reporting directly to the appropriate Vice President.  Despite numerous title changes and staff changes, this reporting structure remained fairly consistent for the ensuing decades.  This changed, however, in 2016 when the General Manager of WBHM began reporting directly to the new Chief Communications Officer, a high-level administrative position that reports directly to the President of UAB.

By Tim L. Pennycuff

Records Series

P46.1, WBHM Photographs, 1976-2005, 0.50 cubic foot
46.2, WBHM Scrapbooks, 1974-1979, 2 cubic feet
46.3, WBHM Newspaper Clippings, 1984-2005, 0.10 cubic foot
46.4, WBHM Memorabilia and Ephemera, 1980s- , 3 cubic feet
46.5, Alabama Radio Reading Service Scrapbooks, 1978-1994, 1.33 cubic feet
P46.5, Alabama Radio Reading Service Photographs, 1977-1994, 0.33 cubic foot
46.6, Alabama Radio Reading Service Administrative Records, 1978-2001, 0.33 cubic foot
46.7, WBHM General Managers' Administrative Records, 1970-2016, 2 cubic feet
P46.8, WBHM Photographs and Slides, 1977-1993, 0.33 cubic foot
P46.9, WBHM Staff Photographs and Slides, 1985-1992, 0.10 cubic foot
P46.10, Eppes-Durr Memorial Garden Dedication Photographs, 2000, 0.10 cubic foot
46.11, The Listener [newsletter], 1977-2017, 1 cubic foot

Related Series

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This page created 2018

Copyright: The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

UAB Visual Arts Gallaery, 1974-2014


Immediate Predecessor:

n/a

Immediate Successor:

2014- , Abroms-Engels Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA)

Reporting Hierarchy:

1974-1987: Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art, School of Humanities, Vice President for University College, President;
1987-1989: Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art, School of Arts and Humanities, Vice President for University College, President;
1989-1995: Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art, School of Arts and Humanities, Vice President for Academic Affairs, President;
1995:  Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art and Art History, School of Arts and Humanities, Vice President for Academic Affairs, President;
1995-2010: Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art and Art History, School of Arts and Humanities, Provost, President;
2010-2014: Visual Arts Gallery, Department of Art and Art History, College of Arts and Sciences, Provost, President.

Curator/Director:

(Interim) John T. Fields, Director, 2011-2014
Brett Levine, Director/Curator, 2001-2011
Antoinette "Toni" Johnson Nordan, Curator, 1986-2001
Patricia Phelps Farmer, Curator, 1977-1978
John M. Schnorrenberg, Director, 1977-1990
(Acting) Edith H. Frohock, Director, 1975-1977
Virginia Pitts Rembert, Director, 1974-1975

History:

The UAB Visual Arts Gallery was opened in 1974 in the new administrative and classroom building of the School of Humanities, a building which had just been formally dedicated on May 20, 1973.  The Visual Arts Gallery was a component of UAB's Department of Art -- renamed as Art and Art History in 1995 -- and was first referred to as the student gallery in a newsletter from 1974.  Later in the same year, the space became known as the Visual Arts Gallery.

The chair of the Department of Art originally maintained the day-to-day operation of the Gallery along with the assistance from various departmental faculty, staff, and students.  In 1977 staff were assigned to the Gallery on a part-time basis in order to assist the chair who still functioned as Gallery director.  The Visual Arts Gallery was housed in several rooms located on the first floor of the Humanities Building and its function was "instructional, research, and service to the school, university, and community" with the additional responsibility to administer the care and exhibition of works of art owned by UAB.  A community supporter donated several dozen twentieth-century items in 1974 as the first major acquisition for the Gallery, and in 1978 the Gallery made the first purchase for the permanent collection.  In June 1979 the first issue of the Visual Arts Gallery Papers was published as a list of works with a brief commentary on the items being exhibited.

The Gallery hosted the art department's first juried student show in 1977, receiving 79 student produced submissions, 40 of which were displayed in the Gallery during the inaugural show that spring.  The use of the Gallery space became even more important after 1985 with the creation of a B.F.A. degree in the art department.  One of the requirements of the degree was the public exhibition of completed works.

In January of 2014 UAB opened the Abroms-Engels Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA) as the new home for the art history department and as the exhibition space for the University's works of visual arts; AEIVA also provides space for the exhibition of traveling or for specially curated shows.  The exhibit of works of UAB students and faculty was also moved to AEIVA so the Visual Arts Gallery -- in the Humanities Building -- ceased to exist as a separate and distinct entity within the department.  However, in the fall of 2015 the space formerly housing the Visual Arts Gallery was reopened as the department's new exhibition and reception space known as "Project Space."  Project Space is an "adaptive space that cultivates and supports meaningful creative investigation, interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship by providing an alternate platform for UAB Department of Art and Art History students, faculty and community to engage teaching, research, public service, and visual arts practices" (Departmental website, September 2015).

By Tim L. Pennycuff

Records Series

47.1, Visual Arts Gallery Exhibition Files, 1973-2001, 11.33 cubic feet
P47.1, Visual Arts Gallery Exhibition Photographs, 1982-2001, 0.75 cubic foot
47.2, Visual Arts Gallery Papers, 1977-2000, 1.33 cubic feet

Related Series

n/a

This page created 2018

Copyright: The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

Office of the Dean, UAB Graduate School, 1970-


Immediate Predecessor:

n/a

Immediate Successor:

n/a

Reporting Hierarchy:

1970-1978:  Graduate School, President
1978-1982: Graduate School, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, President
1989-1989: Graduate School, Vice President for Health Affairs and Vice President for University College, President
1989-1995: Graduate School, Vice President for Health Affairs and Vice President for Academic Affairs, President
1995- Graduate School, Provost, President

Dean:

Samuel B. Barker, 1970-1978

Associate Deans and Co-Directors:

Kenneth J. Roozen, 1978-1981
Blaine A. Brownell, 1978-1981

Deans and Co-Directors:

Blaine A. Brownell, 1981-1984
Kenneth J. Roozen, 1981-1988
Anthony C. L. Barnard, 1984-1991
Terry L. Hickey, 1988-1991
(Acting) John R. Durant, 1991-1994
(Acting) William A. Sibley, 1991-1994

Dean:

Joan F. Lorden, 1994-2003
(Acting) Sadis Matalon, 2002-2003
(Interim) James D. McClintock, 2003-2005
Bryan D. Noe, 2005-2015
(Interim) Jeffrey A. Engler, 2015
Lori L. McMahon, 2015-

History:

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Graduate School was established in 1970.  Graduate studies, however, began much earlier in the university’s history. William R. Anderson received a graduate degree in pharmacology in June 1950, becoming the first person to be awarded a master’s degree through the University of Alabama Medical Center. Over the next two academic years, nine students were awarded master’s degrees, including the first woman, Anna Jane Reid, who in February 1952 received a degree in biochemistry. The 1954 Duckett Jones Report recommended the creation of an office to oversee research activities at the Birmingham-based University of Alabama Medical Center. In 1955 University officials created the Office of Research and Graduate Studies at the Medical Center and appointed Dr. Joseph F. Volker director. That same year Ruth Stillman Hare earned the first Ph.D. (in pharmacology) awarded to a student for studies at the Birmingham campus.  Throughout the next decade Dr. Volker expanded research and graduate programs, particularly in the health sciences. By 1965, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies had separated into two offices with different directors.

In 1965, Dr. Samuel B. Barker was appointed director of the Office of Graduate Studies at the University of Alabama’s Medical Center and Birmingham Extension Center. Barker had been on the Medical College of Alabama faculty from 1955 to 1962 in the Department of Pharmacology. He left the University of Alabama in 1962 to take a position at the University of Vermont, his alma mater. When he returned to take the position in 1965, the Birmingham programs were still part of the University of Alabama. The Office of Graduate Studies reported to the Vice President for Health Affairs. Barker chaired a Medical Center Committee on Graduate Instruction.

During the 1960s, the Birmingham campus was gaining more independence. In September 1966 the extension programs became the four-year College of General Studies.  At the October 19, 1966, meeting of the Medical Center Committee on Graduate Instruction members discussed the need to prepare the Birmingham graduate studies program for its future separation from the University of Alabama Graduate School. The minutes record that “at some indefinite time the graduate programs in the Medical Center will be given the autonomy already designated to the programs in the UAB. Prior to this however we will need to set forth a philosophy of our own.” The members agreed that they needed to develop their own standards for graduate education to meet accreditation requirements.

The following month, in November 1966, President Frank A. Rose announced the formation of the “University of Alabama in Birmingham,” an official branch of the University of Alabama’s main campus in Tuscaloosa. By the April 11, 1967, meeting of the University of Alabama Graduate Council, Dr. Eric Rodgers, dean of the UA Graduate School, announced that President Rose had appointed Dr. Barker associate dean of the Graduate School. Barker’s new appointment as associate dean included an ex officio membership on the UA Graduate Council. In addition, he attended Graduate Council meetings as a substitute for the deans of the Medical College and the School of Dentistry. Dr. Barker continued his duties in this capacity until 1969 when it appeared that the UAB would become autonomous with its own president. Dr. Barker initiated plans to develop a separate Graduate Council for the UAB. In February 1969 a special committee of UAB graduate faculty members drew up a petition to establish a separate graduate school and Graduate Council for the UAB. The UAB graduate faculty met on February 26, 1969, and approved the petition. On January 28, 1969, however, President Rose had announced his resignation, and the petition for a separate school was buried under more pressing matters at the UA.

On June 16, 1969, Governor Albert P. Brewer established The University of Alabama System, comprised of three autonomous campuses: Tuscaloosa (UA), Birmingham (UAB), and Huntsville (UAH). In July 1969, after the announcement of Dr. Joseph F. Volker’s appointment as the first president of the UAB, Dr. Barker sent a memo to all UAB graduate faculty stating that “although the status of graduate study at the UAB has not been clarified since the announcement of separate Presidents for the UAB and UAT, it is my opinion that we should proceed to set up a Graduate Council for the UAB.” After an election by graduate faculty in August 1969, Dr. Barker announced the members of the new UAB Graduate Council. The UAB Graduate Council consisted of the five directors of doctoral programs; eight elected graduate faculty members representing different graduate programs; six graduate faculty members appointed by Dr. Barker; and two elected representatives from the new Graduate Student Association.

The UAB Graduate Council held its first meeting on September 15, 1969. At the time of the meeting, The University of Alabama Board of Trustees had sanctioned the creation of neither a graduate council nor a graduate school. Therefore, as the minutes record, this meeting was unofficial. According to the minutes, Dr. Barker, as chairman, stated: “Rather than sitting passively awaiting an unlikely sudden action on separation of a graduate school for the UAB, this group should actively evaluate graduate studies as currently carried on and as they might be improved.” During the next several months UAB Graduate Council meetings and smaller committee meetings took place, and participants discussed a number of issues, including admissions to graduate studies, funding for the proposed graduate school, and new graduate program proposals.

In April 1970 the graduate program in Birmingham officially separated from the University of Alabama and was designated the UAB Graduate School.  On May 1, 1970, President Volker appointed Barker dean of the UAB Graduate School.  According to the June 1970 Medical Center Bulletin, President Volker said his appointment “reflects the separation of the three campuses of the University which provides for independent but cooperating graduate schools.” At the November 20, 1970, Graduate Council meeting, Dean Barker reported that graduate enrollment had increased from approximately 275 in the 1970 spring quarter to 704 in the 1970 fall quarter.  Participants discussed the need to increase staff in the Graduate School and add a full-time associate dean or part-time assistant deans, as Dean Barker was the only administrator. Barker announced at the March 1, 1971, Graduate Council meeting the appointment of associate dean Hubert H. Harper. The UAB Graduate School’s admittance into the Council of Graduate Schools of the United States was also announced at this meeting. In late 1971 the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) developed the Council of Graduate Deans, which the UAB Graduate School joined shortly afterward.

In 1977, Dean Barker announced his plans to retire. He continued as dean of the Graduate School until the following year when his successors were appointed. After Barker’s retirement in 1978 the Graduate School administrative structure changed. On November 20, 1978, President S. Richardson Hill, Jr., announced to the Graduate Council Steering Committee the appointments of Drs. Blaine Brownell and Kenneth J. Roozen as the new associate deans and co-directors of the UAB Graduate School. Dr. Hubert Harper retained his position as associate dean. These appointments were made on a trial basis, with Dr. Brownell representing University College and Dr. Roozen representing the Medical Center.  According to President Hill, Drs. Brownell and Roozen would act as the “chief academic officers” of the Graduate School. These appointments were effective December 1, 1978. The new associate deans would “work closely” with Dr. Robert P. Glaze, vice president for Research and Graduate Studies.

Drs. Brownell and Roozen served as associate deans and co-directors of the Graduate School until August 31, 1984, when Dr. Brownell resigned from the Graduate School to accept the deanship of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Anthony C. L. Barnard then took his position as associate dean and co-director with Dr. Roozen.  Drs. Barnard and Roozen administered the Graduate School until 1988 when Dr. Roozen became vice president for University Affairs.  Dr. Terry L. Hickey succeeded him.  Barnard and Hickey served as deans and co-directors of the Graduate School until 1991 when Drs. William A. Sibley and John R. Durant succeeded them as acting deans and co-directors.  Dr. Joan F. Lorden was appointed dean of the Graduate School on December 4, 1994; Dean Lorden also served UAB as an assistant university provost. In 2002 Dr. Lorden was named Dean in Residence for 2002-2003 for the Council of Graduate Schools in collaboration with the National Science Foundation.  During her absence from campus, Dr. Sadis Matalon served as acting dean.  Dr. Lorden left UAB in the spring of 2003 and Dr. James B. McClintock was named interim dean, effective August 1, 2003. McClintock had previously served as dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Dr. Bryan Noe, interim graduate dean at Emory University, was named dean of the UAB Graduate School on September 2, 2005, with an appointment effective November first. Noe received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Goshen College (Indiana), a master’s degree from West Virginia University, and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.  He joined the Emory faculty in 1972 as an assistant professor of Anatomy and served as Emory’s interim graduate dean from June 2003 until his appointment at UAB. When Dr. Noe retired in 2015 after almost a decade of service to UAB, Dr. Jeffrey Engler, associate dean, was named as Interim Dean of the Graduate School.  Following a national search, on October 1, 2015, Dr. Lori McMahon became dean of the Graduate School. Dr. McMahon was the Jarman F. Lowder Professor of Neuroscience and was a professor of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology at UAB.

This page created 2001 and last updated by Tim L. Pennycuff on 13 October 2015.

Copyright: The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.