Jump to content

Some lesser-known Alabama colleges & universities


Recommended Posts

For a small, poor state, Alabama has a large number of colleges. Here's a map including most of them : http://www.ache.state.al.us/Institutional%...ry/AlHighEd.htm

As there are several dozen public and private 2- and 4-year colleges and universities in the state, here are just a few:

The University of West Alabama is the smallest independent public 4-year university in Alabama & traces its history to 1835. The rural campus is located in the small town of Livingston and used to be known as Livingston U. It's about 55 miles SW of Tuscaloosa and 35 miles NE of Meridian,MS near I-20/59. Enrollment is on the rise at UWA, breaking its record in 2002 with 2,002 students, then surging to 2,372 in 2003. UWA is the only college in the state with offering competitive rodeo.


The University of South Alabama is Mobile's largest university. With an enrollment of just under 13,300 this year and a projected budget in excess of $500 M (including the hospitals), USA is one of the state's major research institutions.


As this aerial shows, the 1,200-acre campus is suburban in style:


USA also maintains a very small branch in the town of Fairhope.

Marion, the erstwhile "Eton of the South," is a very small, very poor town in the middle of nowhere in Alabama's Black Belt region. Before the Civil War, though, it was a thriving community. Alabama State University (Montgomery) and Samford University (Birmingham area) both trace their roots to the area.

The only two colleges left in the town are old, but very small.

Judson College is a 165-year-old 4-year Baptist-affiliated college for women with an enrollment of about 300, and an art instructor there designed the Confederate uniform and flag.


Marion Military Institute claims to be the nation's oldest military junior college.

The enrollment is very small, probably 100-150.


In the town of Athens, about 25 miles or so NW of Huntsville, is Athens State University, which claims to be the state's oldest college dating from 1822, is unusual in that it is the only senior college operating under the umbrella of the state's junior college system, offering classes for juniors and seniors.


In the town of Jacksonville in eastern AL, east of Anniston and Gadsden, is Jacksonville State University. With just over 9,000 students, JSU has the 5th largest enrollment of Alabama universities, larger than any college in Montgomery or Huntsville.



One of the most attractive campuses in northern Alabama is the University of North Alabama, located in Florence:




The auditorium at UNA is named after my mother's uncle, who was president at the school for many years :


Troy State University, though not very big, maintains multiple campuses including special arrangements with the U.S. military worldwide, and even a division I-A football program.

Troy State main campus is in the small town of Troy, about 50 miles SE of Montgomery and 50 miles NW of Dothan. One of their main points of pride is the new Movie Gallery Stadium, which holds up to 30,000 people for football.

The first game in the expanded stadium was played two days ago.

The stadium will also host the nationally televised Blue-Gray All-Star Classic annual college football event on Christmas day.


Troy State-Montgomery:

Possibly the most potential of the TSU campuses, because of the strategic location in the downtown of the state's capital city, TSUM includes features like the Rosa Parks Museum :


Troy State at Dothan is one of the largest TSU campuses:


Troy State at Dothan at Ft. Rucker :


Troy State at Phenix City is very small. Phenix City is just over the state line from Columbus, GA. library.gif

Calhoun Community College is the largest 2-year college in the state, with most of its 8,700 students at its main campus in Decatur, with the remainder at branches in Huntsville. ATC.jpg

Stillman College is a Presbyterian-affiliated, liberal arts HBCU in Tuscaloosa. Enrollment is about 1,500, but the "2010 Plan" on the school's web site outlines a goal of 2,000 students by 2010, and upgrading to "Stillman University."

This is the school's first year competing in NCAA Div II football.


Huntingdon College in Montgomery is Methodist-affiliated and has about 600 students. This is the school's inaugural year in NCAA Div III football.

My grandmother graduated from Huntingdon many decades ago.


Birmingham Southern is also Methodist-affiliated & has over 1,500 students.

The attractive campus traces its roots to the town of Greensboro, which is in metro Tuscaloosa, but located at its present Birmingham location thanks to a donation by my great-grandmother's sister's husband.



Spring Hill College in Mobile is one of the state's most beautiful campuses.

The 450-acre "Jesuit College of the South" dates back to 1830 & has about 1,500 students.



The United States Sports Academy in Daphne (across the bay from Mobile) is an unusual school specializing in graduate degree programs related to sports (sports medicine, etc):


Among Birmingham's offerings are "career colleges."

Birmingham is the HQ of Virginia College, which also has branches in Huntsville, Mobile, MS, FL, and TX. The most promoted component of Virginia College in Birmingham is Culinard, a cooking school.


Here's the Huntsville Virginia College :


ITT-Tech is another "career college" with a presence in B'ham :


The modern Shelton State Community College is basically a consolidation of at least five once-distinct entities : Shelton State, Brewer State at Tuscaloosa, Fredd State (HBCU), the Alabama Fire College (which also includes first responder training and the Alabama Poison Control center), and Theatre Tuscaloosa/Alabama Junior College for the Arts. The modern (2000), main campus of Shelton State is the southernmost point in Tuscaloosa's city limits. Because it's so far away from everything else in town, a lot of locals don't know that it's officially in the city. Although they have 170 acres to work with, most everything is in one building.

Shelton State is one of the largest two-year colleges in the state (current enrollment 7,096):


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 11
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Hey thanks for the work in putting this together along with the commentary. Great information. "Black Belt" region almost sounds as if everyone there is doing Kung Foo fighting. LOL, but I know what you mean.

Actually, "Black Belt" refers to a region across central Alabama with black soil (a big contrast to the red clay found in many other areas of the state) that was especially conducive to growing cotton which caused this area to prosper more than other areas of the south prior to the Civil War (evidenced by the abundance of antebellum mansions/plantations in the Black Belt from Demopolis to Selma to Montgomery to Eufaula).

Another large community college in Alabama is Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham with 2 campuses (in Birmingham's northeastern and southern suburbs) and a total enrollment of 7,114. Here are a few photos from their website:

Northeast Campus







South Campus


Wallace State Community College in Hanceville (45 minutes north of Birmingham) is yet another large community college with an enrollment around 7,000.



I'm surprised you didn't say more about Samford University unless you believe it isn't one of the "lesser-known" universities in the South. It is the largest private college in the state with an enrollment of 4.377. Chartered in 1841 and opening the following year, Samford began as Howard College in Marion, Alabama. In 1887, Howard College moved to Birmingham. Its first local campus was located in East Lake (northeast of Downtown), and in 1957, the college was again relocated to a larger campus in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood and became Samford University in 1965.











The University of Montevallo, located in the remote Birmingham suburb of Montevallo, is also worth mentioning. Founded in 1896, the university has an enrollment of approximately 3,000.














More photos of Birmingham-Southern College:




And more photos of University of North Alabama:




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the additional photos/info.

Speaking of Montevallo, they're building their first major new building in over a decade :


"I'm surprised you didn't say more about Samford University..."

I really should've, because it's a magnificent campus with a great location.

Another neat feature of the Black Belt region is the "Selma chalk formation." In some areas of towns like Selma, Demopolis, and Epes, there is white sand that looks like the beach.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That photo is pretty different looking, all right. Wallace State Community College is in the town of Hanceville, north of Birmingham by 30 minutes or so by car, and they've been trying for years to get approval to become a full four-year university, but have met pretty stiff opposition because of the state's already large number of public four-year institutions.

Also, here's UAH (Huntsville), the smallest of the three University of Alabama System campuses :


Although they have just 7,000 or so students, the school is growing at a strong pace & has a solid amount of research related to Huntsville's engineering/aerospace/military focus, as well as the only college hockey team in the state.

Speaking of "old Southern architecture," I'll add that the UofAlabama campus was originally designed by William Nichols, who also designed several buildings in NC, MS, and LA: http://www.mdah.state.ms.us/museum/architect.html

The Gorgas House (1829) is the only one of Nichols' original buildings at UofA that's still in existence & is the oldest building on campus:


I mentioned the white sand area within the Black Belt region. Here's a couple of photos of the white cliffs of Epes, a little place 50 miles or so SW of Tuscaloosa:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all of the Photos/Info on AL colleges. I'm currently attending Wallace State-Hanceville, and will be graduating this December. I'll possibly be transferring to Athens State. My Dad went to Gadsden State and Jacksonville State. And my cousin went to UofA. I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them right now.

The photos of Samford University look really nice.

People around here (Cullman Co) were pretty frustrated/angered by Wallace not being able to merge with UNA & become a 4 year college, but Athens State has already started offering some classes there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.