Alabama Academy of Honor


Robert J. Bentley

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2011.



Robert J. Bentley grew up in Shelby County and graduated from Shelby County High School where he was on the state-champion debate team and president of the student body. He worked his way through college at The University of Alabama, majoring in chemistry and biology and graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in three years.

Following graduation, Bentley began his medical studies at The University of Alabama School of Medicine. During his first year of medical school, he met Dianne Jones of Montgomery. They were married in 1965. After receiving his medical degree in 1968, he began a one-year internship at Carraway Methodist Hospital in Birmingham.

In 1969 during the Vietnam conflict, Bentley joined the United States Air Force, where he was commissioned as a captain and served as a general medical officer. Stationed at Pope Air Force Base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he became Hospital Commander near the end of his tenure there. Following his military service, Bentley began a three-year residency in dermatology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. After completing his residency, the Bentleys made Tuscaloosa their home, and he opened his medical practice.

In Tuscaloosa, Bentley founded Alabama Dermatology Associates and managed its growth into one of the largest dermatology practices in the southeastern United States. He is a board-certified dermatologist and has served two terms as president of the Alabama Dermatology Society. He is also a member of the American Academy of Dermatology.

In 2002, Bentley ran for the Alabama House of Representatives from Tuscaloosa County and was elected by a substantial margin. He was re-elected in 2006 without opposition. In the House, he served on the Education Appropriations Committee, the Committee on Boards and Commissions, and the Agriculture and Forestry Committee.

After two terms in the legislature, Bentley decided to run for governor. He was elected in November 2010 and took office on January 17, 2011.

Bentley is a long-time, active member of the First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa, where he has served four different times as Chairman of the Board of Deacons.

Robert and Dianne Bentley have four sons and six granddaughters.