The University of Alabama, the state of Alabama’s oldest public university, is a senior comprehensive doctoral-level institution. The University was established by constitutional provision under statutory mandates and authorizations. Its mission is to advance the intellectual and social condition of the people of the state through quality programs of teaching, research and service.
The University of the State of Alabama
In 1818, the federal government authorized Alabama Territory to set aside a township for the establishment of a "seminary of learning." President Monroe signed the enabling act for statehood on March 2, 1819 and Alabama was officially admitted to the Union on Dec. 14, 1819, and a second township added to the grant. On December 18, 1820, the seminary was established officially and named "The University of the State of Alabama."
The University Finds a Home
Tuscaloosa, then the state's capital, chosen as the University's home.
Inaugural ceremonies for the University were held on April 12, 1831. The first students were enrolled on April 18, 1831. By May 28, 52 students had enrolled. The campus consisted of seven buildings: two faculty houses, two dormitories, the laboratory, the hotel (now Gorgas House), and the Rotunda.
Engineering at UA
The University of Alabama becomes the first in the state to offer engineering classes. It was one of the first five in the nation to do so and one of the few to have maintained accreditation continuously since national accreditation began in 1936.
President's Mansion completed. Its first occupant: Basil Manly, University president from 1837 to 1855.
Total University enrollment: 63
Phi Beta Kappa
Alabama Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kappa established.
Total University enrollment: 126
Medical College branch of the University opened in Mobile.
UA Becomes Military School
The University of Alabama became a military school — martial departmental and disciplinary systems established.
Total University enrollment: 154
UA Burned by Union Troops
Union troops spared only seven of the buildings on the UA campus. Of the principal buildings remaining today, the President's Mansion and its outbuildings still serve as the president's on-campus residence. The other buildings have new uses. Gorgas House, at different times the dining hall, faculty residence, and campus hotel, now serves as a museum. The Roundhouse, then a sentry box for cadets, later a place for records storage, is a campus historical landmark. The Observatory, now Maxwell Hall, is home to the Computer-Based Honors Program.
The Medical College reopens in Mobile.
During the Reconstruction era, a reorganized University opened to students.
Total University enrollment: 107
UA Law School
The School of Law established.
Antecedents of the UA College of Engineering were established with the offering of a formal, two-year course of study in civil engineering under the aegis of applied mathematics in 1837. The College of Engineering was established in 1909 with the opening of B. B. Comer Hall.
Total University enrollment: 154
Total University enrollment: 167
First Football Team
The University's first football team assembled — the "Thin Red Line" that later became the "Crimson Tide."
The first women students enrolled for the fall semester at the University. This was due in large part to the successful lobbying of the UA board of trustees by Julia S. Tutwiler. Tutwiler, then president of the Livingston Normal College for Girls, was a lifelong advocate of the right of women to be self-supporting members of society.
The Crimson White
The student newspaper, the Crimson White, makes its first appearance.
In March, the Alabama Legislature decreed that, after thirty years of student protest, the military system of organization at the University be abandoned.
A summer school for teachers begun in response to a need for better public education in Alabama, becoming the School of Education in 1909. The College of Education was established in 1929.
Greater University Fund
At the University's diamond jubilee celebration, President John William Abercrombie presented to the board of trustees his plans for the Greater University fund-raising campaign, thus ensuring that the state legislature would no longer be the primary source for financing the University's growth.
College of Engineering and School of Education
To meet the demands for specific training in two professions, the College of Engineering and the School of Education were established. Formerly part of the liberal arts disciplines, these new offspring would function independently of the now-reorganized College of Arts and Sciences.
Alabama Museum of Natural History
The Alabama Museum of Natural History in Smith Hall dedicated. Smith Hall served as a geological museum for the University's growing collections and still houses the Museum today.
Dr. George Denny became University president; the campus consisted of 652 students and nine principal buildings. His presidency began an era of unprecedented physical and enrollment growth. When he retired in 1936, there were more than 5,000 students and 23 major buildings, which form the central core of the modern campus.
Introduction of doctoral programs authorized; first doctorates awarded in 1952.
Total University enrollment: 5,269
Autherine J. Lucy
UA's first African-American student, Autherine J. Lucy, was admitted. She was expelled three days later "for her own safety" in response to threats from a mob. In 1992 Autherine Lucy Foster graduated from the University with a master's degree in education. The same day, her daughter, Grazia Foster, graduated with a bachelor's degree in corporate finance.
The first sustained enrollment of African-American students at UA — Vivian J. Malone and James A. Hood — was achieved. Vivian Malone graduated in 1965. James Hood returned to campus in 1995 and received a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies in 1997.
The Computer-Based Honors Program, in which undergraduate students apply computer technology to research in a wide range of fields, was established.
Graduate School of Library Service Established
The Graduate School of Library Service established by act of the Alabama Legislature. It became the School of Library and Information Studies in 1989. The School merged with the College of Communication in 1997 to become the College of Communication and Information Sciences.
New College established to allow students to pursue individualized courses of study while maintaining the academic standards of the University.
The College of Community Health Sciences established.
Total University enrollment: 13.055
School of Communication
The School of Communication established. It became the College of Communication in 1988, and when it merged with the School of Information Sciences, was renamed the College of Communication and Information Sciences in 1997.
The College of Continuing Studies established to provide "learning opportunities that transcend the barriers of distance, time, and accessibility … (and) education in the technology-based formats that non-traditional learners need, offering courses by satellite, videotape, and the Internet." Its roots reach back to the Summer School for teachers in 1904, becoming the Extension Division in 1919. In the 1970s it was called Extended Services, then the Division of Continuing Education.
M.F.A Program in Book Arts
The M.F.A. Program in Book Arts, with specializations in printing and binding, is established within the School of Library and Information Studies. It is one of only three in the country to offer such an M.F.A. and the only one do so within the context of a library school.
University Honors Program established.
The University's computerized library card catalog, AMELIA, available for use.
Total University enrollment: 19,366
The Stallings Center opened as the new home of the RISE Program.
Five UA students Named to All-USA College Academic Team
Five UA students named to the 2005 USA Today All-USA College Academic Team, the most of any school in the nation. UA's three-year total of 14 also tops all other colleges and universities.
Paul R. Jones Collection
Renowned art collector Paul R. Jones donated a $4.8 million art collection to UA. The 1,700-piece collection includes one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of 20th century African American art in the world.
To improve crisis communications and enhance safety of the UA community, a new technological resource, UA Alerts, was installed. The system simultaneously sends alerts to cell phones, home and office phones, and emails and texts.
Total University enrollment: 28,807 total enrollment, an increase of 6.5 percent over 2008. Enrollment at UA increased 47 percent over 2002.
UA reached an agreement with the state Mental Health Commission to purchase the Bryce Hospital property.
Grant Activity up 18 Percent
The University’s contract and grant activity increased 18 percent from the previous year, totaling $76 million—a significant step in furthering UA’s commitment to advancing its position as one of the premier research universities in the nation.