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Minal Hollowell, M.D.Minal Hollowell, M.D.Minal Hollowell, M.D., ’99, ’03, was the type of person we’d all like to know. The type of person who cared deeply about people, said her husband, Matt Hollowell, ’99; compassionate, intelligent, loving, kind, trusting.

“She was all of those things,” he said. “She was an impeccable person.”

Minal, an anesthesiologist, went into medicine because of her deeply held desire to help others. She was a practicing anesthesiologist 13 years into her career at Anesthesia Medical Group in Nashville, Tennessee, when she succumbed to breast cancer after a long, hard-fought battle in April 2021. She was just 43 years old. 

Minal left behind husband Matt and two daughters, Lillian and Jasmine, who are now 15 and 11, respectively—daughters who remind Matt of his wife every day. (Lillian is even considering becoming a doctor just like her mother and will attend a three-week pre-med program this summer to learn more about the medical field.)

“One is extroverted, one is introverted. They fit really well together,” Matt said. “They remind me a lot of the relationship Minal and I had. They absolutely encapsulate their mom through and through, naturally but also purposefully.”

""Matt and his daughters donated $25,000 to create the Minal D. Hollowell, M.D. Endowed Memorial Scholarship in honor of their beloved wife and mother. The scholarship will support students studying English—Matt received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the subject at UAB—and who are also in the Honors College, which was a cornerstone in Minal’s life during her time at the university. The Hollowells met, became friends and eventually fell in love on campus.

“[The scholarship] goes back to our origin story,” Matt said. “The English department is where I grew up at UAB. Minal grew up in the Honors College—she was much smarter than I. The scholarship ties together and honors both of our pasts through the university that made a big impact on us. It seemed like the right thing to do.”

The Hollowell gift will make a difference in the lives of students who have need, said Dr. Alison Chapman, chair of the department of English at UAB.

“We have so many students who struggle financially, and the the Minal Hollowell gift will provide crucial help as they work toward their goal of a UAB undergraduate degree,” she said. “My colleagues and I are touched that, in a time of such deep loss, the Hollowell family has worked so generously to benefit students.”

Matt and Minal HollowellMatt met the then Minal Delwadia in 1995 when both were freshmen at UAB and living in Rast Hall, he on the fifth floor, and she on the sixth. He was in the marching band, she was a UAB Golden Girl. They became close friends and, by their senior year, were a couple. 

“We were able to successfully get an education with the support of many, many mentors along the way,” Matt said.

Matt earned his degree in English and Minal earned hers in psychology; after graduation, Minal went on to medical school at UAB and Matt joined AmeriCorps and eventually moved to North Carolina to work as a grant writer for Habitat for Humanity. He’d travel back and forth to Birmingham on weekends to see Minal, who was inundated in her studies. On December 31, 2000, the pair met in Atlanta for New Year’s Eve. The next day, Matt left to go back to work in North Carolina. As he drove east, he was thunderstruck: I’m going the wrong way, he thought. When he made it to North Carolina, he quit his job, broke his lease and moved back to Birmingham.

“And we were together ever since,” he said. “At the celebration of life for Minal, I said ‘We weren’t always on the same page, but we were always in the same chapter.’ For whatever reason, we fit really well together.”

Minal Hollowell, M.D.They married in 2003, in between Minal’s graduation from medical school and her first year of residency, which she spent in Birmingham before completing her residency in anesthesiology at the University of Virginia, where she served as Chief Medical Resident. During her final year of residency, Minal was pregnant with Lillian; after her graduation from UVA, the Hollowells moved to Nashville when Lillian was six months old, and they remain there today.

When Minal passed away, giving back to honor her legacy felt appropriate, Matt said. He and his two daughters sat down as a family and proverbially painted a picture of who their perfect scholarship recipient would be. The three decided that, in addition to the English and Honors College designations, it should go to someone who might not be able to attend UAB without it.

“The part about economic need was very important to them,” Matt said of his daughters. “That’s where Minal’s heart was. The girls were very interested in that part, helping who needs it. That’s the spirit of Minal living on. I hope that the recipient uses this scholarship in a way to positively impact their own families, to be able to better afford or better use the education UAB provides.”

It's the amalgamation of all three designations—English, the Honors College and financial need—that make the scholarship that bears her name feel so very much like Minal, Matt said.

“I would think she would say we nailed it,” he said. “She would love every bit of it.”

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