University of Alabama

University of Alabama <p style="margin: 1em 0;"> University of Alabama Seal

Established 1831
School type Public University
President Robert Witt
Location Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Enrollment 20,969
Faculty 1,115
Campus Suburban
Nickname Crimson Tide
Athletics 15 Varsity Sports
16 Club Sports
Conference Southeastern
(NCAA Division I)

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The University of Alabama (also known as Alabama, UA, or colloquially as 'Bama) is a public coeducational university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Founded in 1831, UA is the flagship campus of the University of Alabama System. Within Alabama, it is sometimes called The Capstone.

Having been written into the Alabama Constitution, UA is the senior doctoral university in the state. Today, it is one of the state's three major research universities, along with academic and athletic rival Auburn University and the much younger University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Alabama offers programs of study in 12 academic divisions leading to Bachelor's, Master's, Education Specialist, and doctoral degrees. The only publicly-supported law school in the state is at UA. (The Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham is the state's only other ABA-accredited law school.) Other academic programs unavailable elsewhere in the state include doctoral programs in anthropology, library and information studies, music, Romance languages, and social work.

As of fall 2004, Alabama has an enrollment of more than 20,000 students and its president is Dr. Robert Witt.



Main article: History of the University of Alabama

In 1818, the Congress authorized the newly-created Alabama Territory to set aside a township for the establishment of a "seminary of learning." When Alabama was admitted to the Union on March 2, 1819, a second township was added to the grant. The General Assembly of Alabama established the seminary on December 18, 1820, and named it "The University of the State of Alabama." It was set up in Tuscaloosa, the then-capital of Alabama, in 1827 and opened its doors to students on April 18, 1831.

School president Landon Garland transformed the University into a military school in the late 1850s. As such, the school trained troops for the Confederacy during the Civil War. As a consequence of that role, Union troops burned down the campus in 1865 (though this was unrelated to Sherman's March to the Sea). Only seven buildings survived the burning, one of which was the President's Mansion.

The University reopened in 1871 and in 1880, Congress granted the University 40,000 acres (162 km²) of coal land in partial compensation for $250,000 in war damages. The military structure was dropped approximately a decade after the school was officially opened to women in 1892 after much lobbying by Julia Tutwiler to the Board of Trustees.

On June 11, 1963, then-Governor George Wallace made his infamous Stand at the Schoolhouse Door when he stood in the front entrance of Foster Auditorium in an attempt to stop the enrollment of two African-American students: Vivian Malone and James Hood. When confronted by federal marshals sent in by Attorney-General Robert F. Kennedy, Wallace stepped aside. Later in life, he apologized for his opposition at that time to racial integration.

Since those troubled times, University of Alabama officials have worked hard to right those wrongs, and the institution is now one of the top-ranked public universities in the United States. Published reports have ranked UA among the top four flagship universities in the Southeast and among the nation's top 25 public flagship universities in terms of minority enrollment. To salute the sacrifice and commitment of the courageous individuals who took a stand for racial change at a crucial time in its history, the University of Alabama hosted "Opening Doors," a three-day event in June 2003, the fortieth anniversary of integration at Alabama.

Academic divisions

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Shelby Hall, the home of the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences

The eight divisions of the University granting undergraduate degrees are:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration
  • College of Communication and Information Sciences
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Human Environmental Sciences
  • Capstone College of Nursing
  • School of Social Work

Degrees in those eight divisions at the Master's, Specialist, and doctoral level are awarded through the Graduate School.

The School of Law offers J.D. and LL.M. degree programs. The College of Community Health Sciences provides advanced studies in medicine and related disciplines and operates a family-practice residency program in association with the University of Alabama School of Medicine (though UASOM is in actuality a division of UAB). Finally, the College of Continuing Studies provides correspondence courses and other types of distance education opportunities for non-traditional students. It operates a distance education facility in Gadsden.


Missing image
Denny Chimes on the Quad
Missing image
Denny Chimes on the University of Alabama campus

UA is composed of a singular campus of approximately 1,000 acres (4.05 km²). The campus is notable for its abundance of buildings built in the Greek Revival style. Landmarks include the President's Mansion, the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, and Denny Chimes, a campanile equipped with a 25-bell carillon, all of which are located on or near the Quadrangle (Quad for short), the central green area on campus.

The campus is roughly centered around the Quad. To the east lie buildings housing most of the science and math departments, as well as the College of Nursing. Engineering Row, home of the departments of the College of Engineering, is located to the northeast, and the fine arts and humanities departments of the College of Arts and Sciences are oriented to the north and northwest of the Quad. To the west lie the buildings of the colleges of Commerce and Education. Finally, the College of Communication and Information Sciences, the College of Human Environmental Sciences, and the School of Social Work flank the Quad to the south.

Additionally, the facilities of the School of Law, the School of Music (a division of the College of Arts and Sciences), and the College of Community Health Sciences are located in the far eastern edge of campus. The College of Continuing Education is located in Parham Hall further south of the Quad.

Athletic facilities generally flank the far south edge of campus. Bryant-Denny Stadium is in the southwestern edge of the campus and Coleman Coliseum is in the southeastern edge of campus, near the law school.

On-campus cultural facilities include the Paul W. Bryant Museum, the Alabama Museum of Natural History, the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art, and the Frank M. Moody Music Building, which houses the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra [1] ( UA also maintains an arboretum in eastern Tuscaloosa and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab on Dauphin Island.

Click here ( for a campus map.


Of the 20,969 undergraduate, professional, and graduate students enrolled at UA:

  • 75% come from Alabama
  • 21% come from elsewhere in the United States
  • 4% are international students, who come from 79 countries
  • 47% are men
  • 53% are women


The University of Alabama was named a top 50 public university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2005.

In 2003, five students from the University were 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. Four students were named to the 2004 team and five students were named to the 2005 team.

UA graduates include fifteen Rhodes Scholars, fifteen Goldwater Scholars, nine Truman Scholars, and one Portz Scholar.

Student life

Greek life

Greek life began at the University in 1847 when two young Mobilians visiting from Yale University installed a chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon. When DKE members began holding secret meetings in the old state capitol building that year, the administration strongly voiced its disapproval. Over the next decade, three other fraternies appeared at Alabama: Phi Gamma Delta in 1855, Sigma Alpha Epsilon in 1856, and Kappa Sigma in 1857. Anti-fraternity laws were imposed in that year, but were lifted in 1890s. Eager to have a social organization of their own, women at the University founded the Zeta Chapter of Kappa Delta sorority in 1903. Alpha Delta Pi soon followed.

The University recognizes 48 social Greek organizations. Approximately 20 percent of the UA undergraduate student population is a member of a Greek organization. Fraternities and sororities are more than social clubs, however. A healthy spirit of competition among the different fraternities and sororities encourages members to excel in every aspect of college life. Greek individual and group grade point averages are regularly equal to or higher than those of the general student body. Additionally, Greek groups often engaged in extensive philanthropy and charitable activities. Three governing boards oversee the operations of the Greek organizations: the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Association, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).

For the most part, however, Alabama's fraternities and sororities are segregated, with the IFC and Panhellenic Association forming the "white Greek system" and the NPHC forming the "minority Greek system." Whether this segregation is "voluntary" or "forced" is a matter of debate. However, integration of the Greek system is slowly occurring. Gamma Phi Beta, a "white sorority" admitted its first black member in fall 2003.

Greek-Independent Relations and the SGA

Alabama is often described as a place where one can experience an "small college" atmosphere with "big university" amenities. And though the Alabama community is a peaceful and cohesive one for the most part, a thorn in the side of the University's pysche is the sometimes-tense relationship between the Greek community and non-Greek, "independent" community.

This divide most often flares up during the school's annual Student Government Association (SGA) elections. Historically, the SGA is been dominated the so-called "white Greek system." A purported secretive group called the Machine, supposedly the local chapter of the secret society Theta Nu Epsilon, which is similar to the infamous Skull and Bones at Yale University is said to control the SGA elections.

According to newspaper accounts and a documentary produced by the university shown on public television, the Machine has a long tradition at the university, dating back to its founding in 1914 by the late U.S. Senator Lister Hill, who also founded the Jasons Men's Senior Honorary and who served as the SGA's first president. Initially, only select fraternities were members; sororities were not offered membership until the 1970s. To this day, not all Greek letter organizations have been offered membership, and it is believed that over the years, some fraternities and sororities that were members have had their memberships revoked. It is believed that 90% of those who are put up for SGA office by the Machine go on to political careers in Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana. Alleged members include former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, current U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, former U.S. Senator Lister Hill, former U.S. Senator John Sparkman, former Lt. Gov. Bill Baxley and former State Democratic Chairman Bill Blount.

Furthermore, SGA elections have been marred by violent assaults and death threats in the past, resulting in an FBI investigation, and turnout among independents remains low because of apathy. A Machine candidate is guaranteed several thousand votes, thus ensuring victory. Machine-backed candidates have won all but seven races for the SGA presidency since 1914, including wins against former Alabama Gov. George Wallace (a non-Machine candidate).


Main article: University of Alabama Athletics

Alabama's athletic teams are known as the Crimson Tide. The school fields teams in the NCAA's Division I and is a member of the competitive Southeastern Conference (Western Division). The school's athletic teams compete at the highest level, often contending for conference and NCAA titles. Athletic facilities on campus include the 83,818-seat Bryant-Denny Stadium, named after legendary football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and former UA President George Denny, and the 15,043-seat Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama maintains athletic rivalries with Auburn University and the University of Tennessee. The rivalry with Auburn is especially heated as it encompasses all sports. The annual Alabama-Auburn game is nicknamed the Iron Bowl and is considered one of the most intense games in all of college football. The Alabama-Auburn basketball game is often called "Iron Ball."

While the rivalry with Tennessee is centered around football for the most part, there is no shortage of acrimony here, especially given the recent history between UT Coach Phil Fulmer and his relationship to the Tide's most recent NCAA probation. There are also rivalries with Louisiana State University (football), Mississippi State University (men's basketball), and the University of Georgia (women's gymnastics).

Notable alumni

Main article: List of University of Alabama people

External links

Template:Southeastern Conference


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