S. Richardson Hill Jr. Honored with Scholarship
Beginning in 1977 when he was named the second presidentof UAB, S. Richardson “Dick” Hill Jr., M.D., set the university on a course that would transform it into the world-renowned medical center it is today. Hill passed away in 2003, but his legacy lives on. The S. Richardson Hill Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Medicine, established by alumni, friends, and supporters of the School of Medicine, honors his life and work.
“Everyone knows how stressful it can be to balance an intense course load and the financial pressures associated with attending medical school,” says Sabrina Latham, director of annual giving and donor relations for the School of Medicine (SOM). “I think Dr. Hill would be pleased to know that our alumni and the community have taken steps to alleviate at least one of those components so that the SOM can continue to produce the next generation of physicians that will desperately be needed in the future. To accommodate this future demand, the Association for American Medical Colleges has asked medical schools to increase enrollment. UAB followed suit in 2006, increasing the class size by 10 percent. With this increase in the class size, the existing scholarship pool of funds probably would not have been able to accommodate the additional number of students.”
Hill began his career at UAB in 1954 as the first director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in the Department of Medicine, and he was later appointed dean of the SOM in 1962. He served as vice president for health affairs from 1968 to 1977.
During Hill’s tenure as president from 1977 to 1987, the campus grew from 15 to 65 city blocks—the largest urban-renewal university expansion in the United States—but he also was known for his special fondness for teaching and mentoring medical students to prepare them to serve communities in Alabama and throughout the world. He recognized that if UAB were to compete in the national and international arenas, it must attract bright individuals as students and faculty and develop a reputation for excellence. When asked about the secret of his successes, he explained that he “actively selected the best and brightest intellectual talent, gave them the freedom to perform, and then acquired needed resources while removing roadblocks that may have hindered their academic research and service goals.”