Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University

From Academic Kids

Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, also known as Alabama A&M University or AAMU, is an accredited (, public, coeducational land grant college established under the terms of the Morrill Act of 1890 located in Normal, Madison County, Alabama. It is also a Historically Black University[1] (

Alabama A&M University is the licensee for National Public Radio affiliate station WJAB 90.9 FM (, which operates 24/7 on the campus.

Alabama A&M's colors are crimson and white and their mascot is the Bulldog. Alabama A&M sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (I-AA for football) in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).



One of its most influential presidents and the longest serving was its fourth, Joseph Fanning Drake, who served from 1927 until 1962. Drake's appointment request by the legislature was made when he was previously Dean of the College at Alabama State College in Montgomery, Alabama.

The first library on the campus was built with funds from the Carnegie Foundation in 1904 for $12,000, and was named for its benefactor, Andrew Carnegie. In the 1940's it was remodeled at a cost of $70,000 and provided additional book stacks and reading rooms. The library was two stories tall, and with a little over 4000 square feet (370 m²), it served several purposes and housed the President, Business Manager and Treasurer, Home and Farm Demonstration Agents offices, the U.S. Post Office at Normal, and on the second floor, living quarters for male faculty.

In 1931, Miss Lucille A. Love, became the first professional librarian, and was a graduate of the Library School at Hampton Institute.

In 1947, the library was enlarged 5,000 square feet (460 m²), which reflected the college's growth. So rapid was the college's student growth that they even outgrew the nearly 10,000 square foot (930 m²) library, and in 1962 a new Reference Annex was added. In January 1968 a new 60,000 square foot (5,600 m²) library was completed and occupied and was named in honor of Dr. Drake. It was designed to house 300,000 volumes and 1,000 students.

In 1972, the Educational Media Center and the Library merged to form the Learning Resources Center which incorporates interactive and multi-media.

Historical milestones & events by year

1873-A bill was approved in the Alabama State Legislature for the establishment of the "Colored Normal School at Huntsville," a school to be devoted to the education of black teachers.

1875-Peyton Finley introduced twin bills in the State Board of Education for the establishment of four "normal" schools for whites and four for blacks. William Hooper Councill became founder of Alabama A&M University. On May 1, the school at Huntsville opened with a state appropriation of $1,000, 61 pupils and two teachers. The school's first location was on Clinton Street.

1878-The state appropriation increased to $2,000.

1881-Moved to first school-owned property on West Clinton Street (the land upon which Von Braun Civic Center is located) known as the "Dement Place."

1882-Shop courses were introduced into the curriculum in the fall (e.g., carpentry, printing, mattress-making, horticulture, sewing, etc.).

1883-Industrial training began.

1884-Property on West Clinton Street was deeded to the State of Alabama by trustees.

1885-Name changed to State Normal and Industrial School of Huntsville; state appropriation increased to $4,000; building erected for industrial training through $1,000 grant from the Slater Fund.

1890-Students numbered 300; teachers, 11. Designated as a Land-Grant College of Alabama. School site became known as Normal, Ala., and a post office was established. Students were called "Normalites."

1891-Designated a land-grant college through legislative enactment February 13. On September 30, the present site of 182.73 acres (739,000 m²) was purchased. The school expanded to include agriculture and home economics; Palmer (named for State Superintendent Solomon Palmer) and (Governor Thomas) Seay Halls were built with student labor.

1893-First night school was held. First alumni meeting held.

1894-Trade education diplomas authorized. First trade certificates were awarded (10).

1896-Name changed to The State Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes.

1897-Art Painting Department added to curriculum.

1901-First honorary degree awarded.

1903-Blues great W. C. Handy leaves as band director.

1909-School's motto, "Service is Sovereignty," introduced; Councill died at age 61. Walter Solomon Buchanan became president. Farmers Conference began.

1910-Football began.

1911-McCormick (Hospital) Hall and Councill Domestic Science Building erected.

1912-First baseball game.

1920-President Buchanan resigns, disillusioned with the state's stance toward the overall betterment of the institution. Theophilus Robert Parker became third president.

1927-Joseph Fanning Drake becomes fourth president and institutes a massive building program.

1929-Construction of Bibb Graves Hall.

1939-State Board of Education gives authority to offer course work on the senior college level.

1949-Name changed to Alabama A&M College.

1962-Richard David Morrison became the fifth president.

1963-AAMU becomes fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

1965-Intercollegiate soccer began.

1969-State Board of Education adopts a resolution changing the name of the institution to Alabama A&M University.

1970-Office of Alumni Affairs established. Phillip L. Redrick became first director.

1975-University observed Centennial. Elmore Health Sciences Building constructed.

1977-Volleyball for women began.

1981-Desegregation case began.

1984-Dr. Douglas Covington became AAMU's sixth president.

1985-AAMU signs memorandum of understanding with Kansas State University/USAID.

1986-Former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm addressed "Women's Week" activities. University announced approval of Ph.D. program in physics. Department of Mathematics received NASA research grant.

1987-Dr. Carl Harris Marbury was named interim president.

1989-Carl Harris Marbury becomes seventh president.

1990-The University holds its first Grand Reunion, initiated by Dr. Carl Harris Marbury and Georgia S. Valrie, Director of Alumni Affairs.

1991-Board of Trustees named Dr. Alan Lee Keyes Interim President.

1992-Dr. David Bernard Henson becomes eighth president. First AAMU Athletic Hall of Fame induction held.

1994-Mamie Labon Foster Student Living/Learning Complex erected. First African-American Ph.D. recipients in physics. University's SACS accreditation reaffirmed.

1995-Groundbreaking held for new School of Business facility; stadium and residence hall construction begins. Master of Social Work Program accepts first students. Dr. Virginia Caples, vice president for academic affairs, becomes the first woman to head (interim) the University in the school's 120-year history.

1996 - Dr. John T. Gibson named ninth president in July. AAMU launches Councill Challenge Campaign. Football returns to campus.

1997-Unified Cooperative Extension System unveils new logo. Patrick Grayson makes USA Today All-USA Academic First Team. Filmmaker Spike Lee visits. AAMU joins Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).

1998-Ryan Swain makes USA Today All-USA Academic First Team. Nobel Laureate series begins under coordination of AAMU physicist Ravi B. Lal.

1999-AAMU Research Institute started.

2000-AAMU observes its 125th anniversary celebration in January.

2001-AAMU’s fundraising efforts earn it the distinction of lead institution in the Tom Joyner Foundation/HBCU program. Accreditation announced and earth work begins on new School of Engineering and Technology; library renovations underway; athletic complex expands.

2002-Learning Resources Center renovations completed. Engineering and Technology building erected. Social Work re-accredited. Forestry gains national accreditation. Normal Hill renovations extensive. Councill Challenge Campaign goal reached.

2003 - New School of Engineering and Technology Building opens for classes in January. Mary Frances Berry addresses Commencement. Fourth doctoral program in Reading/Literacy announced. AAMU researchers study volcanic ash in Montserrat. HSCaRS hosts study on interaction between land surface and the atmosphere. AAMU offers training on multimillion dollar EDS software. Normalite Ruben Studdard named “American Idol.”

2004 - Councill Federal Credit Union celebrates 50th anniversary. Councill Memorial Statue unveiled in October. AAMU welcomes its 7th Nobel Laureate lecturer in physics.

Recent events & modern history

In 2002, a renovation added over 15,000 square feet (1,400 m²), an interactive Distance Learning Auditorium, conference, study and class rooms, lounges, computer lab and much more. The LRC provides services to a diverse clientele at numerous locations, to university members and the community.

On Saturday January 9, 2005 Trustees of Alabama A&M University met in session and executive committee to deal with questions of impropriety and character amidst issues of failure to meet contractual goals, obligations, and mismanagement of $2 million in funds from the bookstore, all which were accredited to the president, Dr. John Gibson's, oversight. However, the trustees declined to officially mention any of the university's problems as reasons for their request.

The trustees announced they would seek Dr. Gibson's retirement within 30 days, and that if he did not resign, would face a dismissal vote. His contract was valid until July 2007, and its full value including benefits and other compensation was $850,000. He was named AAMU's ninth president July 1996 and served nine years as president.

External links

[Alabama A & M University (]


Morrison, Richard David. History of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University : 1875-1992. Huntsville, Ala. : Liberal Arts Press, c1994.

AAMU Office of Information & Public Relations

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