Dr. Howard B. Gundy
While Dr. Howard Gundy had a long and distinguished career at The University of Alabama, culminating in his service as acting president from 1980 to 1981, he was of particular service to the nursing profession and health care in West Alabama at an important time. After serving as the first dean of the University of Alabama School of Social Work from 1966 to 1971, he was named academic vice president in 1971. With the transfer of the University of Alabama School of Nursing to Birmingham in 1967, by the early 1970s, the nursing shortage in West Alabama had reached a critical level. With the imminent closing of the DCH School of Nursing, health care agencies turned to the University for help. Dr. Gundy directed that a feasibility study be initiated by the College of Community Health Sciences. He obtained funding for the study from a grant from the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, to determine the feasibility of establishing a baccalaureate program in nursing to “upgrade the quality of care focusing on the West Alabama area.” The sixteen-month study showed that the program was needed to meet the health care needs of the West Alabama area. With strong support from Dr. Gundy, the proposed program was approved by The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama and the Alabama Commission of Higher Education in November 1975. Funding was secured from the Alabama State Legislature that same month. Dr. Howard Gundy went on to found and serve as director of The University of Alabama’s Washington office from 1978 to 1979. Following his service as acting president of The University of Alabama, he was the governor’s special assistant for education and chancellor of post-secondary education for the State of Alabama.