Celebrating 125 Years

In October 1896, the Alabama Girls’ Industrial School opened its doors to about 150 women from across Alabama. Since that day 125 years ago, the University of Montevallo has grown from its beginnings as an all-female industrial school focusing on preparing women to become telegraph operators, bookkeepers and artists into a thriving four-college University with tens of thousands of alumni. Milestones in the University’s first 125 years have built a foundation for UM to thrive well into the future.

1893 A bill passes the Alabama Legislature to establish “an industrial school for girls.”

1896 Alabama Girls’ Industrial School opens its doors to students Oct. 12, in what is now Reynolds Hall, with Henry Clay Reynolds as president. The school offered a new form of academic education for women.

1897 Construction on Main Hall (West Wing) begins.

1899 Dr. Francis Peterson becomes president.

1902 Purple and gold are adopted as the school’s colors.

1907 Dr. Thomas Palmer becomes president. The school’s first yearbook, the Chiaroscuro, is published. The Central Wing of Main Hall is completed.

1908 King House and its surrounding property are purchased, expanding the college’s campus footprint. The East Wing of Main Hall is completed.

1911 Alabama Girls’ Industrial School becomes Alabama Girls’ Technical Institute. The Tower is built on campus. The Chiaroscuro was renamed the Technala.

1913 The school’s Athletic Association is organized.

1914 Peterson Hall opens as an infirmary.

1915 Bloch Hall is the first building constructed specifically for the school. Jeter Hall is constructed as an elementary school.

1916 The Student Government Association is established.

1917 Calkins Hall is built as the University’s music building.

1918 The first swimming pool on campus opens.

1919 The first College Night is held.

1921 Purple vs. Gold College Night sides begin.

1922 Alabama Girls’ Technical Institute grants its first four-year degree at the 1922 commencement.

1923 Alabama Girls’ Technical Institute becomes Alabama College. Wills Hall is constructed to serve as the University’s library.

1924 Montevallo launches its first capital campaign, the “Million Dollar Drive.” The Van Guard, the first student newspaper, is published and renamed The Alabamian after two printings.

1925 Alabama College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Speech program and the Social Work program become the first of their kind in Alabama. Ramsay Hall is built as the second dormitory on campus.

1926 Dr. Oliver Carmichael becomes president. The “Hiding of the Crook” tradition begins during Founders’ Week. Flowerhill is constructed as the home for the president of the University.

1929 Alabama College celebrates its first radio broadcast (WAPI). Hanson Hall is constructed as a dorm for 200 students.

1930 Construction on Palmer Hall is completed.

1932 The student literary magazine, The Tower, is published for the first time.

1933 The first Senior Elite Night is held.

1935 Dr. Arthur Harman becomes president. Construction begins on Old Gym (previously Bibb Graves).

1940 The Technala is renamed the Montage. Tutwiler is built as a dorm for the senior class. Humanities Hall (previously Comer) is dedicated.

1947 Dr. John Caldwell becomes president.

1948 Students (with special permission) are allowed to have a car on campus.

1950 The Purple and Gold sides begin producing original musicals for College Night.

1951 McCall Pool is constructed.

1952 Dr. Franz Lund becomes president.

1954 Child Study Center is constructed.

1955 Montevallo’s graduate program is established.

1956 Alabama College becomes co-ed with two men enrolling in January. By September, there are 35 men enrolled.

1957 Dr. Howard Phillips becomes president. The college’s first intercollegiate athletic team — baseball — is formed. Napier Hall is built and dedicated during Founders’ Day.  The Trumbauer Drama Festival is established.

1958 The school’s first male SGA president is elected.

1959 UM’s athletic teams adopt the name Falcons. Anna Irvin Dining Hall and Brooke Hall are constructed.

1960 Men’s golf team is established.

1961 Fuller Hall is constructed. Men’s track and cross country teams are established.

1963 Dr. Delos Culp becomes president.

1964 The first fraternities are started on campus. Myrick Hall opens as the new gymnasium. Men’s basketball is established.

1965 Jeter Hall is transformed from the elementary school into the social sciences building. Farmer Hall is constructed.

1966 Men’s track and cross country programs discontinued.

1967 Hill House is constructed.

1968 Dr. Kermit Johnson becomes president. Carmichael Library is completed. The school is integrated peacefully as three Black female students enroll for the fall semester; they are followed the next fall by two Black male student-athletes. Harman Hall is completed.

1969 Alabama College becomes the University of Montevallo. Three colleges are established — the College of Business, the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts. Lund Hall is constructed.

1971 Chi Omega and Alpha Delta Pi sororities are established. Davis Hall is constructed.

1972 Phi Mu and Alpha Gamma Delta sororities are established. Alpha Tau Omega and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternities are established. Wallace Hall is built for the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology. Women’s basketball and volleyball programs are established.

1973 The College of Fine Arts is formed.

1976 Morgan Hall is constructed.

1977 Dr. James Vickrey Jr. becomes president. The Cafeteria (The Caf) is attached to the preexisting Anna Irvin Dining Hall. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is established.

1978 Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. are established. The University’s mission and goals are established.

1981 Peck Hall is constructed.

1984 Floyd Hall is constructed.

1989 Dr. John W. Stewart becomes president.

1990 The John W. Stewart Student Retreat is constructed. Delta Gamma sorority is established.

1991 The Mass Communication Building is completed.

1992 Dr. Robert McChesney becomes president.

1994 Men’s soccer program is established.

1995 Women’s soccer and golf programs are established. Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. are established.

1996 The University of Montevallo celebrates its centennial.

1998 Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is established.

1999 Bowers Colonnade is constructed.

2003 UM Professor of Art Ted Metz unveils the Becoming sculpture on the UM campus signifying the theme of learning through the student/teacher relationship.

2004 The Student Activity Center (now the Robert M. McChesney Student Activity Center) is dedicated. Women’s cross country program is established.

2006 Dr. Philip Williams becomes president.

2009 New Hall (residential college) opens.

2010 Dr. John W. Stewart III becomes president. Men’s cross country program is reinstated.

2013 University of Montevallo on Main (UMOM) opens to house Behavioral and Social Sciences and the University bookstore is relocated to Main Street. Women’s track program is established.

2014 Softball program is established. Phi Gamma Delta fraternity is established.

2015 3D Art Complex is built. Men’s track program is reinstated.

2016 Women’s lacrosse program is established.

2017 Mass Communication Building is renovated to become Strong Hall. Men’s tennis program is reinstated.

2018 Men’s lacrosse program is established. Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (VMA) is established.

2019 College Night celebrates its centennial. Men’s and women’s swimming teams are established.

2020 The newly constructed Center for the Arts opens. Allison and Michael Stephens Hall opens to serve students in the Stephens College of Business. UM celebrates its largest campaign in the University’s history — $36.5 million raised. Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. is established.

2021 The University celebrates its 125th anniversary (Quasquicentennial Celebration) during Founders’ Day.