University of Montevallo

University of Montevallo
University of Montevallo
Motto Alabama's Public Liberal Arts University®
Established 1896
Type Public Liberal Arts University
President John W. Stewart III, Ph.D.
Provost Terry G. Roberson, Ed.D.
Academic staff 200
Admin. staff 175
Students 2,885 (Spring 2011)
Undergraduates 2,346
Postgraduates 539
Location Montevallo, Alabama, USA
33°06′14″N 86°51′54″W / 33.10378°N 86.86497°W / 33.10378; -86.86497Coordinates: 33°06′14″N 86°51′54″W / 33.10378°N 86.86497°W / 33.10378; -86.86497
Campus Rural
Colors Purple and Gold            
Nickname UM
Mascot Falcons
Affiliations NCAA Division II; PBC

The University of Montevallo is a four-year public university located in Montevallo, Alabama, USA. Founded in 1896, it is Alabama's only public liberal arts college and a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Programs are offered through the Michael E. Stephens College of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, College of Fine Arts, and graduate studies in Business, Education, English and Speech-Language Pathology. Its current president, John W. Stewart III, was formerly Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. Dr. Stewart succeeded Philip C. Williams, who left after four years of service to the university.

The University of Montevallo continues to ascend the rankings of “America’s Best Colleges,” published by U.S. News & World Report. According to rankings for the 2012 edition, released Sept. 13, UM is once again ranked as the No. 1 public master’s-level university in Alabama, a distinction it has held each year since 2008. For 2012, Montevallo is listed as the 11th best public university in the South in its division, climbing three positions from last year’s rank of 14th.

Overall in the South, UM ranked 36th, up four positions from 40th last year and 23 positions from its 2007 ranking of 59th. Schools in 12 states make up the South geographic region.

Montevallo earned high marks for academic reputation, freshman retention rate, graduation rate, entering freshmen test scores and class rank, small class sizes and low student-faculty ratio.[1]



Alabama Girls' Industrial School
Main Hall
University of Montevallo is located in Alabama
Location: Bounded by Middle Campus Dr., Oak, Bloch and Middle Sts., Montevallo, Alabama
Coordinates: 33°6′10″N 86°51′57″W / 33.10278°N 86.86583°W / 33.10278; -86.86583Coordinates: 33°6′10″N 86°51′57″W / 33.10278°N 86.86583°W / 33.10278; -86.86583
Area: 25.7 acres (10.4 ha)
Built: 1851
Architectural style: Colonial Revival, Greek Revival, Federal
Governing body: Local
NRHP Reference#: 78000509[2]
Added to NRHP: December 11, 1978

The University of Montevallo opened in October 1896 as the Alabama Girls’ Industrial School (AGIS), a women-only technical school that also offered high school-level courses. AGIS became the Alabama Girls’ Technical Institute in 1911, further adding "and College for Women" in 1919. The school gradually phased into being a traditional degree-granting institution, becoming Alabama College, State College for Women in 1923.

The school's supporters lobbied the Alabama Legislature which passed a bill on January 15, 1956 that dropped the designation "State College for Women", effectively making the school coeducational ( though its student body still maintains a 7:5 ratio of women to men). The first men entered the school that same month. In 1965, the board of trustees authorized President D. P. Culp to sign the Certificates of Assurance of Compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[3] In the fall of 1968, three African American women, Carolyn Buprop, Ruby Kennbrew, and Dorothy (Lilly) Turner, enrolled in the university.[3] On September 1, 1969, Alabama College was renamed the University of Montevallo.

Montevallo is located in the geographic center of the state of Alabama in an area rich with Civil War history. With slightly over 3,000 students, the university generates a significant economic impact on the surrounding communities in Shelby County.

Many of the buildings on campus predate the founding of the college, including King House and Reynolds Hall. The King House is reserved for special guests of the campus, and Reynolds Hall is still used by the Theater Department and alumni relations. King House was reportedly the first home in Alabama to receive pane glass windows.

Montevallo's campus is considered an architectural jewel. Its appearance is more in line with private, elite institutions. The central part of campus is a National Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The main portion of the campus was designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm, who also designed the Biltmore House grounds in North Carolina. Frederick Law Olmsted designed Central Park in New York.

Courses of study

College of Arts and Sciences

Michael E. Stephens College of Business

College of Education

  • Early Childhood - BA, BS
  • Elementary - BA, BS
  • Family & Consumer Sciences - BA, BS
    • Concentration in Child & Family Studies
    • Concentration in Dietetics
    • Concentration in Family & Consumer Sciences Education
    • Concentration in Interior Design
    • Concentration in Retail Merchandising
  • Kinesiology - BS

College of Fine Arts

The Graduate School

Campus resources

The James Wylie Shepherd Observatory

The James Wylie Shepherd Observatory at the University of Montevallo had its first light ceremony in November, 2009. It comprises a 20 inch telescope in a 20 foot dome located 3 miles from campus.[4]

Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve

The University of Montevallo’s Ebenezer Swamp consists of approximately 60 acres (240,000 m2) of wooded wetlands, and is located on near the headwaters of Spring Creek, approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) northeast of the University in central Alabama. Spring Creek and Ebenezer Swamp form a portion of the headwaters for the ecologically diverse and environmentally sensitive Cahaba River Watershed. The Cahaba is the longest remaining free-flowing river, has more species of fish per mile than any river in North America, and is one of eight river biodiversity hotspots in the U.S.

UM is creating the Ebenezer Swamp Wetlands Interpretive and Research Center (ESWIRC) to focus greater research on wetland ecology and to increase educational opportunities for high school and middle school students from across the state of Alabama. Research goals center on: establishing and maintaining an inventory of plant, animal, and fungal species; monitoring water quality, rainfall, and stream flow rates, and future studies of wetland ecological processes and the effects of encroachment along the swamp margin. Education goals center on raising the profile of the ecologic importance of wetlands to high school and middle school students, while simultaneously providing them with a sound introduction to the underlying principles of biology.

Greek Life

Interfraternity Council

Alpha Kappa Lambda (Gamma Delta, 1995)

Alpha Tau Omega (Eta Omega, 1972)

Delta Chi (Montevallo, 1972)

Lambda Chi Alpha (Sigma-Epsilon, 1972)

Pi Kappa Alpha (Theta Beta, 1974)

Panhellenic Council

Alpha Delta Pi (Zeta Delta, 1971)

Alpha Gamma Delta (Gamma Upsilon, 1972)

Chi Omega (Tau Kappa, 1971)

Delta Gamma (Zeta Nu, 1991)

Phi Mu (Kappa Chi, 1972)

National Pan-Hellenic Council

Alpha Kappa Alpha (Mu Mu, 1978)

Alpha Phi Alpha (Nu Tau, 1978)

Delta Sigma Theta (Nu Omicron, 1977)

Kappa Alpha Psi (Xi Upsilon, 1995)

Zeta Phi Beta (Tau Pi, 1998)


The University of Montevallo fields 10 NCAA Division II athletic teams[5] that currently compete in the Peach Belt Conference. Men's athletics include: baseball, basketball, soccer, golf and cross-country. Women's athletics include: basketball, soccer, golf, cross-country, tennis and volleyball.

Men's basketball

  • 2004 GSC Champion
  • 2005 GSC Champion
  • 2006 NCAA South Region Champions
  • 2006 NCAA Elite Eight Quarterfinalists
  • 2007 GSC Champion
  • 2007 NCAA South Region Champions
  • 2007 NCAA Elite Eight Quarterfinalists

Men's baseball

  • 2006 NCAA South Central Region Champions
  • 2006 NCAA National Semifinalist

Men's soccer

  • 1999 GSC Champions
  • 2004 GSC Champions
  • 2007 NCAA South Region Champions
  • 2007 Final Four
  • 2010 PBC Champions

Notable faculty and staff

  • Eugene Bondurant Sledge, PhD, recounted his experiences in the Pacific theater of World War II in the book With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa. He is portrayed in the HBO miniseries "The Pacific". He was a professor of biology and a specialist in ornithology at the university until his death in 2001.
  • Eva Olivia Golson, PhD, a longtime professor of English, was one of the first female graduates of the University of Chicago, earning a doctorate in literature. An annual scholarship named in her memory is awarded to an outstanding rising senior majoring in English.
  • Garnie W. McGinty, a Louisiana historian taught briefly at UM prior to his longtime association with Louisiana Tech University
  • Julia Tutwiler, 19th-century champion of equal educational opportunities for Alabama women, secured the funding that enabled AGIS to open in 1896. She also served as the first president of Alabama Normal College (now the University of West Alabama) and wrote a poem, "Alabama," that was later adapted as the official state song.
  • William Sledge Cobb, the university's writer-in-residence for 13 years, is a critically acclaimed novelist and short-story writer whose works include Coming of Age at the Y, A Walk through Fire (nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize), Harry Reunited, and A Spring of Souls. He is the 2007 recipient of the Alabama Writers' Forum's Harper Lee Award for a Distinguished Alabama Writer.

Notable alumni

  • Slade Blackwell, Republican member of the Alabama Senate.
  • Louise Fletcher, noted film actress
  • Rusty Greer, former Major League Baseball player for the Texas Rangers.
  • Polly Holliday, American actress best known for the character of Flo from the hit television show Alice
  • Gerald January, Current basketball player for the Tromso Storm (Norway).
  • Marcus Kennedy, Current basteball player for Residence Walferdange (Luxembourg)[6]. For the 2010-2011 Season he led the team in Minutes Played Per Game (38.5), Points Per Game (25.6), Free Throws Made (82.7%)and Total Rebounds Per Game (11.8). In 2010 he was named GSC Conference Player of the Decade (2000–2009).
  • Jo Kittinger, Children's book author, speaker, and President of SCBWI
  • Rebecca Luker, American musical theatre actress and soprano who has appeared in several prominent Broadway productions.
  • Margaret E. Simpson, Noted Lawyer
  • Jon Maloney, Current English football player for Harrogate Railway Athletic FC[7]. All-time lead scorer for Montevallo Men's Soccer team and the only three-time Gulf South Conference Player of the Year.
  • Ray Reach, noted jazz pianist, vocalist, arranger, composer and educator, formerly (1998–2005) director of the UAB Jazz Ensemble, and currently Director of Student Jazz Programs at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.
  • Doug Sisson, Major League Baseball coach
  • Rodger Smitherman, Former President Pro Tempore of the Alabama State Senate.


The school mascot is a Falcon, and the colors are purple and gold.

Crook Week/Senior March

Traditionally, Crook Week was a week in late October when the senior class women would hide the "crook" -a staff shaped roughly like a shepherd's crook- and give obscure clues for the underclass women who were to find it. At the end of Crook Week was Senior March. When the chimes struck thirteen, if the underclass women did not find the crook, the seniors march on them, getting them out of their rooms and onto Main Quad where they would have a shaving cream and water balloon battle. If the underclass women found the crook, they were safe that year. This tradition ended in the 1990s because the administration considered it hazing despite that fact that participation on either side was purely optional.

Today, Crook Week occurs the week before Founder's Day. The administration hides the crook and leaves clues as to where it can be found. The finder of the crook gets recognized at Founder's Day with a small cash prize.

College Night

The oldest tradition at Montevallo is called College Night, an intramural competition between the Purple Side and the Gold Side. The tradition officially began on March 3, 1919, in honor of the school adding the name "college" to its title.

The homecoming competition consists of sports events, management of the side finances and spirit. While these are key to the game of College Night, the primary focus is two student written, produced, and performed musicals—one for each competing side. For a small University in which the student-to-faculty ratio is only about 16-to-1, participation is key. A noticeable number of people participate in bringing the tradition together; at least 400 actually participate in the activities, but it is a tremendous success that draws those who do participate back after many years of being out of college. Each year, the school's Palmer Auditorium—a stately building boasting a large stage, orchestra pit and seating for 1200—is standing room only as alumni and spectators gather to witness the unique tradition that is College Night.

College Night originated as a liberal arts school's response to its lack of a "proper Homecoming" - meaning an American football game. The campus is split into two teams, the Purple Side and the Gold Side. The two colors of the school, purple and gold, compete for the title of either "PV" (purple victory) or "GV" (gold victory). The student involvement is all-inclusive: there are athletic intramurals that count for points toward victory, cheerleading competitions, signs designed and painted by students to be judged and even community efforts and fund raising drives to gain points toward a victory.

College Night has been cited by some as the longest running homecoming tradition in the United States. The fact that College Night is the oldest college homecoming tradition in the U.S. has been recorded for posterity by Alex Trebek - it has been a question (or rather, answer) on Jeopardy! two times.[citation needed]

Current Events

UAB's request to offer classes in Hoover, AL

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) provides a college/university priority rights to offer classes in defined geographic areas. The provision states that if a college/university wants to offer classes in the geographic area of another college/university, it must seek the permission of that college/university.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) desired the ability to offer classes in Hoover at Jefferson State Community College. Although Hoover is a Birmingham suburb, it is located in Shelby County, which is under Montevallo's territory. Former president Williams agreed to allow UAB to offer the classes, in return for UAB's support for the University of Montevallo to begin a Master of Business Administration program.[8]

During the meeting of the Board of Trustees on September 9, 2009, students gathered at Reynolds Hall to support Dr. Williams and protested the board's actions.


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