Meet the 4 clinicians whose names grace the renovated Hilton’s meeting spaces

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After a multimillion renovation and rebranding, the new Hilton Birmingham at UAB is up and running, with a grand opening scheduled tomorrow.

Each of the 295 guest rooms underwent major changes — think UAB-green walls and vintage art from the UAB Archives — and public spaces feature handmade works from local artists. With the opening of the Lab Bar and Kitchen and the Lab Market Café on the hotel’s ground floor, the Hilton Birmingham at UAB is not just a destination for travelers, but for Birminghamians as well.

The hotel’s meeting rooms also were transformed into upscale, renovated spaces for conferences, galas, weddings and more. Three of those spaces were named especially for prominent figures in UAB’s history – Virginia Dare Hamilton, M.D., Herschell Lee Hamilton, M.D., Delois Skipwith Guy, DSN, and Jimmie Ethel Montgomery, M.D.

Click through the below slideshow to learn more about each room and its namesake.

  • Hamilton
  • Skipwith
  • Montgomery
  • The Hamilton Ballroom, a 7,200-square-foot space that can host up to 800 people, was named for two distinguished clinicians.

    At the first commencement ceremony for UAB’s predecessor, Birmingham’s University of Alabama School of Medicine, in October 1946, Virginia Dare Hamilton, M.D., (inset, right) was the first woman to receive its doctor of medicine degree. She was the only woman in her class. Twenty-one other students, including Homer W. Allgood (inset, left) received degrees, along with 14 paraprofessional graduates who received medical or radiology technology certificates.

    Known by spirited nicknames such as “The Battle Surgeon” and “The Dog-Bite Doctor” for his work as attending physician to many activists injured during the civil rights movement, Herschell Lee Hamilton, M.D., (inset) received a clinical appointment in the school’s Department of Surgery in 1968, becoming was the first black board-certified general surgeon in University Hospital. He treated well-known patients such as Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Martin Luther King Jr. in his office at the historic Ballard House on Seventh Avenue North.

    The Hamilton Ballroom can be divided into two separate spaces: A 4,800-square-foot ballroom that can accommodate up to 600 people, and a 2,300-square-foot space that can hold up to 250.

    Inset photos from UAB Archives
  • The Skipwith Ballroom is named for a true trailblazer.

    In 1969 — the first year UAB became an autonomous institution within the University of Alabama System — Delois Skipwith Guy, DSN, (inset) was hired as the new university’s first black tenure-track faculty. Her service in the UAB School of Nursing has spanned four decades; she is now professor emeritus of nursing and serves on the school’s National Advisory Council.

    When split in two separate spaces, the 2,300-plus-square-foot Skipwith Ballroom can hold up to 100 people in each section, or 150 when combined.

    Inset photo from UAB Archives
  • On May 26, 1925, Jimmie Ethel Montgomery, M.D., earned a bachelor’s degree in medicine from the two-year basic sciences program at the University of Alabama, becoming the first woman to graduate what would become UAB’s medical school.
    In 1928, she received a doctorate in medicine from the University of Minnesota and became a general practitioner in Bibb County, Alabama. She died in 1982.
    The Montgomery Room, at 567 square feet, can hold up to 60 people.

    Inset photo from UAB Archives