Gilbert Hall was established in 1943. It was originally called the Gilbert Memorial Infirmary and was intended to serve the University of Georgia students as an infirmary. However, before it opened to the campus, it was used by the Naval preflight school. Today, it houses the Departments of Romance Languages, Linguistics, and Women’s Studies.
Backstory and Context
The building is an example of neoclassical revival architecture. The exterior walls are of load-bearing brick on top of a reinforced concrete foundation. The interior has reinforced concrete columns and a reinforced concrete floor. There are also medical inscriptions located on the façade of the building, highlighting the buildings past use.
In 1940, Judge Gilbert wrote a letter to the Board of Regents about his offer to help fund a new infirmary. His requests were that the building be called Gilbert Memorial Infirmary, a plaque be displayed in the entranceway, and that care is provided for poorer patients. He then gave the University one hundred shares of Coca-Cola stock to fund the building. The shares sold at $779 a piece, amounting to $77,900. However, these initial funds were not enough to complete the entire plan in 1943, so in 1945 wings were added to both sides of the building. The building was erected during the years of World War II. In 1943, the building was used for the Naval preflight school. It did not become a medical facility for the college until after the War. The building was dedicated on Friday, June 4, 1943 at 11:00 a.m. Judge Gilbert, his wife, and his son, Price, all attended the dedication. Over 2,000 students came to its dedication. In 1950, the portrait of Judge Gilbert was unveiled.
Judge Stirling Price Gilbert, a Georgia Supreme Court Justice for almost 25 years, was the donor of the money that allowed for Gilbert Hall to be constructed. He was born in Stewart County, Georgia in 1862. He dedicated the building in honor of his father and his son. His father, Jasper Newton Gilbert, graduated from the Augusta Georgia Medical College and served the state as a physician. Francis Howard Gilbert, his son, graduated from the University of Georgia in 1927. The dedication can be seen on a bronze plaque that bears an inscription.
Reed, Thomas Walter. History of the University of Georgia. [Electronic Resource]. [Athens, Ga.] : Digital Library of Georgia, , 2002.
The Red & Black. Athens, Georgia.
The University of Georgia. Visitor Center Campus Tour.
“Through the Arch: an Illustrated Guide to the University of Georgia Campus.” Through the Arch: an Illustrated Guide to the University of Georgia Campus, by Larry B. Dendy, University of Georgia Press, 2013, p. 53.