A Chronological History of
the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
and its Predecessor Institutions and Organizations, 1831-

(Please contact the UAB Archives for additional information.)

Copyright: The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.


The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) traces its roots to the 1859 founding of the Medical College of Alabama and the 1936 opening of the Birmingham Extension Center of the University of Alabama. In 1945 the Medical College of Alabama was moved from Tuscaloosa and the University's Medical Center was founded in Birmingham. In 1954 the Extension Center was moved to a newly constructed facility adjacent to the Medical Center, bringing together for the first time the University's two academic components in Birmingham.  Later, in November of 1966, the Extension Center and the Medical Center were administratively merged to form the "University of Alabama in Birmingham," an organizational component of the University of Alabama (in Tuscaloosa). In 1969 UAB became an independent institution, one of the autonomous universities within the newly created three-campus University of Alabama System.

Today, UAB is a comprehensive urban university with a nationally recognized academic health center. UAB is the only public, four-year degree granting university in the state's largest metropolitan area. UAB is the largest research institution in the state of Alabama and is the largest single employer in the state.

A comprehensive chronology of the history of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and its predecessor entities is found below.  Underlined and bolded items in this list may be selected to see portraits or photographs about the specific person or event.

Chronology last updated 20 December 2018.

1900: When opened for the fall term, the Department of Pharmacy at the Medical College of Alabama had two female students working toward a PhG degree: Lela M. Semler and Esther Turner Colston.

April 8, 1902: Esther Turner Colston received a PhG degree from the pharmacy program of the Medical College of Alabama in Mobile.

October 28, 1901: Ullman School opened. The building is one of the oldest structures remaining on the UAB campus.

July 12, 1902: Cornerstones were laid for the Birmingham Medical College and the Hillman Hospital.

1902: Dr. John W. Abercrombie became president of The University of Alabama and served until 1911.

1902: A one-story addition to the main building, housing the chemical laboratory, was completed at the Medical College of Alabama.

July 15, 1903: Hillman Hospital was dedicated.

February 28, 1905: Hillman Hospital Training School for Nurses graduated its first class. Elizabeth Hale of Birmingham was the program's first graduate.

April 9, 1906: The graduating class at the Medical College of Alabama included international student Tawfik Lutaif of Syria.

October 8, 1906: Dr. Rhett Goode became the third dean of the Medical College of Alabama.

January 1907: The Board of Lady Managers transferred the deed of the hospital land to the Jefferson County Board of Revenue for the purpose of operating the Hillman Hospital.

March 4, 1907: The Alabama Legislature amended the charter of the Medical College of Alabama (in Mobile) to definitely incorporate with and place the school under the control of The University of Alabama Board of Trustees. The legislation appropriated $45,000 to the school for repairs, renovations, improvements, and purchases and $5,000.00 annually for maintenance of facilities.

March 6, 1907: The Mobile medical school dissolved its own board of trustees, and The University of Alabama Board of Trustees gained sole control over the Mobile program. The school was officially renamed as the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

1908: A laboratory for comparative anatomy, a one-story wooden structure, was constructed on the property of the Medical College of Alabama, just north of the main medical building.