TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - For Dr. Ron Henderson, all it took was one defining moment.
Last November, while attending ceremonies at the Paul W. Bryant Hall Academic Center, where one of the two guest suites had been named in honor of his childhood friend Joe Chambliss, Henderson asked University of Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore in whose honor the second suite was named. “Mal told me that the naming opportunity was available for it,” Henderson said. “So I told him, right then, that I wanted to make that happen.”
Make it happen, he did. Henderson matched Chambliss’ $250,000 gift to the Crimson Tide Foundation, and Friday afternoon the Dr. Ronald E. Henderson Family Guest Suite was dedicated at the Bryant Hall Academic Center. Each of the two guest suites is approximately 1,900 square feet and is used primarily by the University for overnight stays for dignitaries and special guests.
“I had heard Dr. (Robert) Witt speak at the Birmingham Downtown Rotary Club about the University going after the best and brightest and increasing the GPA of all students, including our student-athletes,” said Henderson, a Prattville native. “My wife, Beth, and I had been looking for a way to give back to the University for all it had given us through the years. After hearing Dr. Witt and his vision for our campus, we wanted to help in any way we could. Then, seeing how my friend Joe Chambliss was able to help the athletic department convinced me to do the same thing.”
Henderson has been a medical leader and entrepreneur for three and a half decades, as well as living a distinguished career as a teacher, author, and leader in numerous state and national organizations. He received a bachelor of science degree from the University in 1959 and a degree from the Medical College of Alabama in 1962. An OB-GYN specialist, he was the founder of Henderson & Walton Women’s Center in Birmingham and of a health maintenance organization. He served on the governing board of, and played a major role in helping reorganize, the Alabama Department of Public Health. Currently, Henderson is teaching at the University’s School of Medicine in Birmingham.
The Hendersons have two daughters, Dr. Rhonda H. Powell and Ellen H. Dover; one son, William E. Henderson; and four grandchildren.
The naming of the Bryant Hall Guest Suite is one of 125 naming opportunities available through gifts to the Crimson Tradition Fund, the athletic department’s $120 million facilities improvement campaign that began in March 2002.