In 1818, one year before Alabama became a state, the Congress of the United States granted land in the territory to create a "seminary of learning." The state subsequently granted additional land and chartered The University of Alabama in 1820. The University received its first students in the spring of 1831. In the late 1850s, the University became a military school and furnished officers and men for the Confederacy. On April 4, 1865, Union cavalry destroyed all but a few campus buildings—including Maxwell Hall, the Gorgas House, the Round House, and the President's Mansion.
The construction of a new campus began in January 1867, and collegiate instruction resumed in April 1869. The University retained its military character for the remainder of the century. Women joined the approximately 400 men students in 1893, the year after football got its start at the University.
Under the leadership of George Hutcheson Denny (1912–36 and 1941), the University achieved its modern shape, reaching an enrollment of 4,000. The University did not extend its services to all Alabamians until June 11, 1963, when, following Governor George Wallace's "stand in the schoolhouse door," African Americans first successfully enrolled at the University.
As Alabama's first university, The University of Alabama is proud of its record of service to the state, the region, and the nation.