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.

January 1930: Dr. R. F. Lovelady was named the first full-time superintendent of Hillman Hospital.

1931: Dr. Allan Walker Blair, a Canadian-born pathologist, received a full-time faculty appointment as an assistant professor of Pathology. Blair had been an instructor at the two-year Tuscaloosa school since 1929.

1931: Dr. Eleanor Abrams Hunt received a full-time faculty appointment as an assistant professor of Histology and Embryology at the medical school in Tuscaloosa; she had been a research associate at the two-year school since 1928. Dr. Hunt was the first female appointed to the medical school's full-time faculty.

1932: Dr. Louise H. Branscomb, a gynecologist, became the first female physician granted staff privileges at the county-operated Hillman Hospital. She would later hold a clinical appointment at the medical school from 1945 until her retirement in 1975.

September 14, 1936: The University of Alabama opened its Birmingham Extension Center in an old wood-frame two-story house at 2131 6th Avenue North. For the first term, 116 students enrolled. One full-time instructor and seven-part time instructors taught 19 different courses.  The Center's library had 50 books.

September 1936: Edward K. Austin became the first director of the University of Alabama Birmingham Extension Center.

1936: Dr. Luther Terry completed an internship in Birmingham's Hillman Hospital. In 1961, the native of Red Level, Alabama, would be appointed Surgeon-General of the United States; he was the first Alabamian named as America’s top public health official.

1936: Dr. James W. McQueen was named superintendent of Hillman Hospital.

1937: Dr. Richard C. Foster became president of The University of Alabama and served until 1941.

April 11, 1938: Cornerstone was laid after construction began on the Hillman Hospital Outpatient Clinic Building.

December 1938: Groundbreaking was held for Jefferson Hospital.

November 19, 1939: Hillman Hospital Outpatient Clinic Building was dedicated.

1939: The University of Alabama's Birmingham Extension Center had four full-time faculty members and an enrollment of 365 students.