History of the University of Alabama
The University of Alabama was founded in 1831, just twelve years after Alabama gained statehood. Most of the campus was burned to the ground by Union troops during the Civil War, but was quickly rebuilt and has grown into a major teaching, research, and service institution made up of seventeen colleges, divisions, and schools with more than 120 academic departments and 270 accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The nation's twelfth chapter of the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa was established at the University in 1851. It is the "Capstone" of a system that includes major extension campuses in Birmingham (medical and dental schools) and Huntsville (aerospace and engineering). Total student enrollment on the Tuscaloosa campus is about 19,000, of which about 3,000 are graduate students, representing all 50 states and more than 65 countries.
University faculty excel in teaching, research, and service. With a range of endowed chairs and professorships in fields ranging from creative writing to environmental geology to real estate, the University attracts internationally-known scholars. The amount of external support for faculty has steadily increased in recent years. Faculty receive national awards for teaching excellence and service to their fields every year.
The University of Alabama Libraries are one of the select 100 nationally holding membership in the Association of Research Libraries. Currently the library houses over two million volumes.
The 705 acre University of Alabama main campus (Interactive campus map) comprises a mixture of architectural styles, ranging from Greek Revival to modern, set among tree-lined streets and avenues, open-wooded spaces, and open fields. Several of the buildings on the "Old Quad" include bricks salvaged from the ruins of the antebellum campus.
The University has nationally renowned athletic programs in football, basketball, gymnastics, baseball, and swimming, and has outstanding intramural athletic facilities. The Student Recreation Center contains a 25-yard indoor/ outdoor pool, an elevated indoor running track, 5 regulation basketball courts, 13 racquetball/squash courts, 2 aerobics rooms, a free weight room, a wide variety of exercise equipment, and several saunas. The Aquatic Center contains an indoor 50-meter racing pool with a 10m diving tower, a 25-yard warmup pool, and a free weight room. The outdoor 25m Riverside Pool is open during the spring and summer. The University also maintains a 179 acre golf course and a 53 acre Arboretum.
The University offers a wealth of cultural events including theater, dance, and classical and contemporary music performances, art exhibits, and special lectures. The 1000-seat concert hall in the Frank Moody Music Building is the home of the famous Holtkamp Organ, with four manual (keyboard) divisions of over 5,000 pipes. University radio station WUAL-FM 91.5 is an award-winning National Public Radio affiliate that broadcasts news, jazz, and classical music programs. The University recently acquired a television station, WVUA channel 7, that serves the West Alabama area.