Robert Miller Guillot (born January 2, 1922 in Headland, Henry County; died November 15, 2000) was the second Mayor of Vestavia Hills, serving from 1960 to 1972 and 22nd president of Florence State University (now the University of North Alabama), from 1972 to 1989.
Guillot was the son of Clarence Miller and Ruth Lindsay Guillot of Henry County. He attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) and graduated with bachelor of science in 1943. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Guillot married the former Patty Shirley on September 1, 1947. He completed a juris doctorate at the University of Alabama School of Law in 1948, and passed the Alabama Bar that same year. He worked as a sole practitioner in Dothan for three years.
In 1952 Guillot moved to Birmingham to take a position as senior vice president with the Vulcan Life & Accident Insurance Company. In 1966 he was named chairman of the board of the American Educators Life Insurance Company.
Guillot was elected Mayor of Vestavia Hills in 1960 and took office on October 3 of that year and served for three four-year terms. During his years as mayor, Guillot worked with the Vestavia Hills City Council to formalize the order and procedures for Council meetings and legislation, passed as Vestavia Hills Ordinance No. 69. Vestavia Hills annexed the town of Mountain Woods as well as several unincorporated parcels and expanded the city's police and fire protection and other services over the rapidly-growing jurisdiction.
Also during his administration, the city purchased the 32-acre tract that became Wald Park. The Vestavia Hills Park and Recreation Board was created to manage the facilities, and the Vestavia Hills Civic Center, Vestavia Hills Swimming Pool were all built there while he was in office.
Guillot also saw completion of the first Vestavia Hills Post Office, the Vestavia Hills Public Library, and the expansion of Vestavia Hills Elementary School. During his term the Vestavia Hills Board of Education was created, separating the elementary school from the Jefferson County School System. Guillot became one of the leaders of suburban opposition to the "One Great City" plan to merge a number of small municipalities into the City of Birmingham. In his last year in office, Guillot served as president of the Alabama League of Municipalities.
In 1972 Governor George Wallace appointed Guillot to succeed E. B. Norton as president of Florence State University. He oversaw a period of exceptional growth of the college from 3,000 to 5,000 students and was serving when the institution's name was changed to the University of North Alabama in 1974. He added a masters of business administration to the graduate curriculum and oversaw construction of the Education and Nursing Building (now Stevens Hall), additions to Collier Library, Flowers Hall, and the Student Union Building (later renamed Guillot University Center), as well as renovations to the Braly Municipal Stadium.
Guillot was active in promoting campus life. He invited national Greek-letter organizations to establish chapters at UNA and promoted intercollegiate athletics with increased funding, improvements to sports facilities. He purchased a lion cub, named "Leo", in 1974 and housed it in an exhibit near the president's house to serve as a live mascot for the Lions.
Guillot stepped down in 1989. He served as chairman of the board of Colonial Bank Northwest in Florence from 1990 until his death ten years later. He was survived by his wife, Patty, and three children: Patricia Ann, Robert Miller Jr and Shirley Lynne. He was buried at Florence Cemetery. After his death the University of North Alabama and Colonial Bank established an endowed scholarship in his name.
|Mayor of Vestavia Hills
E. B. Norton
|President of the University of North Alabama
Robert L. Potts
- Robert Guillot at Findagrave.com