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March 16, 2018

History of the Medical Alumni Association

Alumni of the University of Alabama Medical School had their first meeting with a banquet in the Peabody Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee, November 15, 1927.  Approximately 20 alumni were present and the topic of discussion was the re-establishment of a four-year medical school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. At this meeting the first officers were elected:  Dr. Gilbert F. Douglas, Birmingham, President; Dr. R. C. McQuiddy, Birmingham, Vice-President; and Dr. J.H. Somerville, Tuscaloosa, Secretary.

For many years the medical association met in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.  There was a continued interest and activities to establish a four- year medical school in the state of Alabama.  The first four-year class graduated from The University of Alabama School of Medicine in 1946.

Reorganization of the Association took place on September 16, 1961 with 81 alumni present.  The new organization was formed to include the graduates of the Medical College of Alabama (also called the University of Alabama School of Medicine), the graduates of the old Mobile Medical College, the old Birmingham Medical College, the students of the two-year School of Medicine at the University in Tuscaloosa from 1922-1945 and the University Hospital House Staff from 1945.  Today, in addition, we welcome all graduates, Residents and Fellows from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, as well as current and past faculty members.

The objectives and purposes of the Association as set out in its Constitution are “to promote the social, literary and professional advancement of its members by organizing them into a club or society and thereby bringing together the alumni of the School of Medicine, to lend support and cooperation to the Alumni Association, the University of Alabama and to the authorities of the University of Alabama Medical Center-in general the research, service and medical education in Alabama in particular, and generally promoting and conducting activities of such an Association.”

During the presidency of Edwin G. Waldrop in March 1964, Jimmy W. Beard was appointed full-time executive secretary of the Association.

Since 1964, the Alumni Association annual meetings have been separate from those of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.

Today there is an annual two-day meeting which consists of Continuing Medical Education programs, social events, a Distinguished Alumnus Honoree, and distinguished luncheon speakers as well as a business meeting, board meetings and class reunions.

The Reynolds Historical Lecture, sponsored by the Reynolds Associates, has been added to the Alumni Weekend Activities.  The lecture is named for Dr. Lawrence H. Reynolds, a native Alabamian, who gave his extensive medical library, including many historical books, to the School of Medicine.

In 1992, the Alumni Association initiated the Constance and James A. Pittman Lecture, to be held during the annual Alumni Association meeting.  The lecture is named in honor of former University of Alabama School of Medicine Dean Pittman and his wife, Dr. Connie Pittman.  The first lecture was given February 12, 1992 and featured Joseph E. Murray, M.D., who received a Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in renal transplantation.

Jimmy W. Beard retired as the Association’s Executive Secretary in 1997.  He was succeeded by Elaine O. Chambless who served until 2009.  Erica Hollins became the Executive Director and served from 2009-2010.  After serving as Interim Director, Meredith Burns was named Executive Director on July 1, 2011.

 

 

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