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 13 August 2019

View images from the 1920s.

January 1920: Dr. Alfred E. Thayer became acting dean of the medical school in Mobile. Dr. Thayer only served as acting dean through May.

June 1920: Dr. Daniel T. McCall, Sr., became acting dean of the Medical College of Alabama.

April 15, 1920: The University of Alabama Board of Trustees voted to “order the removal” of the medical school from Mobile to Tuscaloosa where the program would be reopened as a two-year preclinical school on the campus of the University.

May 28, 1920: Ten graduates received M.D. degrees from the Medical College of Alabama in the last commencement ceremony held in Mobile. Eleven other graduates received the Bachelor of Science in Medicine degree and two students received degrees in pharmacy.

1920: Medical College of Alabama was transferred from Mobile to The University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa where it was housed in a barracks building and reopened as a two-year basic sciences medical program.

1920: Dr. Clyde Brooks became the first dean of the University of Alabama’s two-year medical school in Tuscaloosa.

May 1921: The first two graduates received B.S. degrees in Medicine from The University of Alabama’s new two-year basic sciences medical program.

1922: Hillman Hospital received its first accreditation.

1922: Josiah Nott Hall was completed on the Tuscaloosa campus as a home to the two-year basic sciences medical program.

September 1923: Jimmie Ethel Montgomery entered the medical school in Tuscaloosa as the school's first full-time female student.

May 26, 1925: Jimmie Ethel Montgomery received a B.S. degree in Medicine from The University of Alabama, thus becoming the first female to graduate from the medical school.

1927: The University of Alabama Board of Trustees granted alumni status to all graduates of the Birmingham Medical College.

1928: Dr. Stuart Graves became the second dean of the University of Alabama’s two-year medical school in Tuscaloosa. He served until the school was moved to Birmingham in 1945.

January 15, 1929: The New Hillman Building was dedicated.

April 1929: Hillman Hospital School of Nursing Residence was dedicated.