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The Malone Hood Plaza

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.


  • 1818-1820
  • 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."

  • 1827
  • The University Finds a Home

    Tuscaloosa, then the state's capital, chosen as the University's home.

  • 1831
  • UA Opens

    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.

  • 1838
  • 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.

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  • 1841
  • President's Mansion

    President's Mansion completed. Its first occupant: Basil Manly, University president from 1837 to 1855.

  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 63

  • 1850
  • Phi Beta Kappa

    Alabama Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kappa established.

  • 1851
  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 126

  • 1859
  • Medical College

    Medical College branch of the University opened in Mobile.

  • 1860
  • UA Becomes Military School

    The University of Alabama became a military school — martial departmental and disciplinary systems established.

  • 1861
  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 154

  • 1865
  • 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.

  • 1868
  • Enrollment

    The Medical College reopens in Mobile.

  • 1871
  • UA Reopens

    During the Reconstruction era, a reorganized University opened to students.

  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 107

  • 1872
  • UA Law School

    The School of Law established.

  • 1881-82
  • Civil Engineering

    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.

  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 154

  • 1891
  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 167

  • 1892
  • First Football Team

    The University's first football team assembled — the "Thin Red Line" that later became the "Crimson Tide."

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  • 1893
  • First Female Students

    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.

  • 1894
  • The Crimson White

    The student newspaper, the Crimson White, makes its first appearance.

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  • 1901
  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 396

  • 1903
  • Military System Abandoned

    In March, the Alabama Legislature decreed that, after thirty years of student protest, the military system of organization at the University be abandoned.

  • 1904
  • Summer School

    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.

  • 1906
  • 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.

  • 1909
  • 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.

  • 1910
  • 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.

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  • 1911
  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 571

  • 1912
  • Dr. George Denny

    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.

  • 1914-15
  • University Band

    University band organized.

  • 1919
  • School of Commerce

    The School of Commerce founded. It became the College of Commerce and Business Administration in 1929. It was renamed the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration in 1997.

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  • 1920
  • Medical College Moves

    The Medical College moved from Mobile to Tuscaloosa.

  • 1921
  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 2134

  • 1924
  • Graduate School

    The Graduate School officially established.

  • 1929
  • Denny Chimes

    Denny Chimes dedicated. Named for Dr. George H. Denny, president of the University from 1912 to 1936.

  • 1931
  • School of Home Economics

    The School of Home Economics officially established. It became the College of Human Environmental Sciences in 1987.

  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 4,639

  • 1939
  • Moundville

    Moundville Archaeological Park and its museum opened to the public.

  • 1941
  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 4,921

  • 1945
  • Medical College Moves to Birmingham

    The Medical College moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham.

  • University Press

    The University Press was formed.

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  • 1948
  • Doctoral Programs

    Introduction of doctoral programs authorized; first doctorates awarded in 1952.

  • 1951
  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 5,269

  • 1956
  • 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.

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  • 1961
  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 8,257

  • 1963
  • Vivian Malone and James Hood

    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.

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  • 1965
  • School of Social Work

    The School of Social Work established.

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  • 1968
  • Computer-Based Honors Program

    The Computer-Based Honors Program, in which undergraduate students apply computer technology to research in a wide range of fields, was established.

  • 1969
  • 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.

  • 1971
  • New College

    New College established to allow students to pursue individualized courses of study while maintaining the academic standards of the University.

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  • College of Community Health Sciences

    The College of Community Health Sciences established.

  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 13.055

  • 1973
  • 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.

  • 1978
  • College of Nursing

    The Capstone College of Nursing established.

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  • 1981
  • Sesquicentennial

    The University celebrates its sesquicentennial.

  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 16,388

  • 1983
  • College of Continuing Studies

    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.

  • 1985
  • 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.

  • 1986
  • Honors Program

    University Honors Program established.


    The University's computerized library card catalog, AMELIA, available for use.

  • 1991
  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 19,366

  • 1994
  • RISE Program

    The Stallings Center opened as the new home of the RISE Program.

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  • 1996
  • Blount Undergraduate Initiative

    Blount Undergraduate Initiative established. (First freshman class accepted in 1999.)

  • 1998
  • Second Capital Campaign

    Second Capital Campaign concluded having raised a total amount $224 million in gifts and pledges.

  • International Honors Program

    International Honors Program established.

  • Rise of Dallas

    Modeled on UA's RISE Program, the RISE School of Dallas, Texas, opened.

  • Bryant-Denny Renovations

    Renovation of Bryant-Denny Stadium completed, increasing capacity to 82,000.

  • 1999
  • Student Services Center

    Student Services Center completed.

  • Sewell-Thomas Field

    Renovation of Sewell-Thomas Baseball Field to a capacity of 6,000 seats begun.

  • First Freshman Class in Blount Undergraduate Initiative

    First freshman class accepted in Blount Undergraduate Initiative. Parker Adams Hall serves as its temporary headquarters.

  • 2000
  • UA's 15th Rhodes Scholar

    English major Bradley Tuggle from Decatur, Ala., named UA's 15th Rhodes Scholar.

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  • Oliver-Barnard Hall Dedication

    Historic Barnard Hall rededicated as Oliver-Barnard Hall, the first of two Blount Undergraduate Initiative academic houses.

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  • UA Softball Complex

    Construction of 1,500-seat UA Softball Complex completed.

  • Blount Living-Center Opens

    Blount Living-Learning Center opens to its first resident class.

  • AIME

    Construction of Alabama Institute for Manufacturing Excellence (AIME) completed.

  • Morgan Auditorium Reopens

    Morgan Auditorium reopens after $1 million renovation, the first since its construction in 1911.

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  • 2001
  • UA Alumnus Pilots Shuttle

    UA alumnus Lieutenant Colonel Jim Kelly pilots a Discovery space shuttle mission.

  • Top Rankings for UA School of Law

    For the third consecutive year, the UA School of Law ranked among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

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  • Alabama-Auburn Alliance

    UA and Auburn University form the "Alabama-Auburn Alliance" to support fair funding of higher education.

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  • Tide Navigator

    Tide Navigator, a web-based registration system that is the first of its kind in the United States, debuts with incoming freshmen.

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  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 19,633

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  • 2002
  • FATE

    UA Alumni Association establishes FATE: Future Alumni for Tradition and Excellence.

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  • Crimson Tradition Fund

    Crimson Tradition Fund established with $10 million gift by Paul Bryant Jr.

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  • UA in Top Fifty

    UA named one of the top 50 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2003.

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  • First Honors Student of the Year

    UA student Kana Ellis of Northport, Ala., selected as as the first recipient of the Honors Student of the Year Award by the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC)

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  • College of Community Health Sciences Breaks Ground

    College of Community Health Sciences breaks ground for its $12.6 million facility, designed to consolidate all services and operations of the Tuscaloosa medical campus.

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  • 2003
  • Math Technology Learning Center

    Greensboro East High School, in collaboration with UA, became the first high school in Alabama to establish a state-of-the-art Math Technology Learning Center.

  • Five UA Students Named to the All-USA College Academic Team

    Five students from UA named to the 2003 USA Today All-USA College Academic Team. UA students garnered the most awards of any college or university, claiming five of 83 spots on the list.

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  • Opening Doors

    UA recognized 40 "pioneers" during three days of events to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Gov. George C. Wallace's "stand in the schoolhouse door."

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  • UA Named named in Top 50

    UA named one of the top 50 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2004.

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  • UA Student Selected as Portz Scholar

    UA senior Rob Davis selected as one of three 2003 Portz Scholars in the National Collegiate Honors Council's competition for outstanding undergraduate Honors papers.

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  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 20,333

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  • 2004
  • Four UA Students Named to the All-USA College Academic Team

    Four UA students named to the 2004 USA Today All-USA College Academic Team. UA came in second only to Harvard for 2004, and UA's two-year total of nine leads the nation.

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  • University Medical Center

    University Medical Center, UA's new multi-specialty clinic and home of the College of Community Health Sciences, opened on May 11.

  • Shelby Hall Dedication

    Shelby Hall, UA's new 200,000-plus square foot interdisciplinary transportation and science complex, dedicated on May 14.

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  • UA Named named in Top 50

    UA named one of the top 50 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2005.

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  • Enrollment

    Enrollment: 20,969

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  • 2005
  • 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.

  • 2008
  • 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.

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  • 2009
  • UA Alerts

    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.

  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 28,807 total enrollment, an increase of 6.5 percent over 2008. Enrollment at UA increased 47 percent over 2002.

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  • 2010
  • Bryce Hospital Agreement

    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.

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  • The Alabama Museum of Natural History Centennial

    The Alabama Museum of Natural History in Smith Hall celebrated its centennial.

  • 2011
  • Undergraduate Welcome Center

    Undergraduate Admissions opened a welcome center located on the Bryant Drive side of Bryant-Denny Stadium, under the south end zone.

  • Tornado Hits Tuscaloosa

    On April 27 a tornado ravaged parts of Tuscaloosa but missed the campus. Graduation was cancelled and the semester ended early.

  • UA Ranked in Top 50 Again

    UA was again ranked among the top 50 public universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

  • 2012
  • Robert Witt Named New Chancellor

    UA President Robert E. Witt was named chancellor of the University of Alabama system; Provost Judy Bonner became interim president.

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  • Dr. Guy Bailey Becomes UA President

    Dr. Guy Bailey accepted the presidency, but resigned the same year due to his wife’s illness.

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  • First Female President

    Dr. Judy Bonner became the first woman president of the Capstone.

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  • 2013
  • Through the Doors

    Through the Doors, a year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the Capstone, engaged all areas of the University.

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  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: 34,852, a record for total enrollment; 6,478 in the entering freshmen class, the largest in UA history.

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  • 2014
  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment tops 36,000.

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  • The Cyber Institute

    The Cyber Institute, which facilitates interdisciplinary research and educational programs related to cyber security and cyber-related technologies, was founded.

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  • 2015
  • UA Smoke-Free

    UA became a smoke-free campus.

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  • Bryce Renovation Begins

    Renovation and expansion began on the main buildings of the Peter Bryce campus.

  • 29th President Named

    Dr. Stuart Bell became the 29th president of the Capstone.

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  • 2016
  • National Champions

    The Crimson Tide defeated Clemson 45-40 to win its 16th national football championship.

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  • Strategic Plan

    The UA Strategic Plan: Advancing the Flagship was announced.

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  • Enrollment

    Fall 2016 enrollment reached a record 37,665, with 7,559 freshmen in the most academically talented class to date.

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  • 2017
  • Adapted Athletics Facility

    Groundbreaking for construction of first-of-its kind Adapted Athletics Facility.

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  • Enrollment

    Total University enrollment: Record-breaking 38,563.

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  • 2018
  • Championship

    UA earned another national football championship beating Georgia in overtime 26-23.

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  • Doctoral Universities

    Very High Research Activity status achieved.

  • 2019
  • Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Celebration

    Collaboration with the city of Tuscaloosa to celebrate its bicentennial, including presenting the city with a statue of Minerva, goddess of wisdom

  • 2020
  • Fulbright Scholars

    Recognized as Top Producing Institution for Fulbright U.S. Student Award for fourth time

  • 2021
  • Championship

    The Crimson Tide defeated Ohio State 52-24 to become national champions.