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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.

Postcard of buildings on University of Georgia at Athens. [ca.1930-1945] From Boston Public Library Print Department.

Postcard of buildings on University of Georgia at Athens. 

From Boston Public Library Print Department.

Established in 1943, Gilbert Hall first housed an infirmary after the Crawford W. Long Infirmary closed due to an increased attendance of students at the University of Georgia. The Gilbert Memorial Infirmary was built to accommodate more students with a generous amount of space. The infirmary held the most high-tech equipment of it's day, including multiple labs, an x-ray room, minor surgery equipment, and more. 

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.  

Roy E. Hitchcock was the architect who designed the plans for the Gilbert Infirmary. He was connected with the Agricultural Engineering Department of the University of Georgia. The G.M. Caskey Company of Athens built it under supervision of Professor R.H. Driftmier. The Anderson Plumbing Company was in charge of the heating and plumbing facilities. 

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. 

The bronze inscription on the plaque reads:
Gilbert Memorial Infirmary
In Memory of My Father
Jasper Newton Gilbert, M.D.
Augusta Medical College, 1855
And My Son
Francis Howard Gilbert, B.S.
University of Georgia 1927
A token of my great
Love and Devotion to 
My State and its great
University But only for
Infinitesimal Indication 
Of what I owe to the people
of Georgia.
Stirling Price Gilbert

The Gilbert Memorial Infirmary was used until 1997, when the new health center opened on East Campus. Today, Gilbert Hall houses the Departments of Romance Languages, Linguistics, and Women’s Studies.

Reed, Thomas Walter. History of the University of Georgia. [Electronic Resource]. [Athens, Ga.] : Digital Library of Georgia, [2002], 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.