The University of Alabama, or ‘Bama, as it’s known to the students, was established in 1818 by an act of Congress that set aside land in the Alabama Territory for seminary education. The school officially opened in 1831 under the leadership of the Reverend Alva Woods, and for 29 years functioned as a seminary until then-president Landon Garland decided to turn it into a military academy. The school was largely destroyed by Union troops in 1865, and then reopened in 1871 and, in 1892, dropped the military structure and began admitting women.
The University of Alabama made history in 1963, with Governor George Wallace’s “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.” In order to stop the desegregation of the school, the governor stood at the entrance to the Foster Auditorium, attempting to block Vivian Malone and James Hood from enrolling. Wallace stepped down at the order of federal marshals, and Malone became the first African American student to graduate from UA (Hood dropped out after a few months, returning several years later). Governor Wallace subsequently issued a public apology for his actions on that day.
UA’s campus is arranged around a central quad that acts as a hub for students and connects the various sections of the campus. East of the central quad (where the famous Denny Chimes is located) are the math and science buildings. Engineering row, the fine arts, and humanities buildings all lie to the north.
The west section of campus houses the education and business buildings. To the south, students attend the Colleges of Communications and Information Sciences, of Social Work and of Human Environmental Sciences. The sorority buildings and the athletic facilities are at the southernmost edge of campus. All areas of the 1,000 acre campus are connected by the CrimsonRide shuttle busses.
Tuscaloosa, AL is the fifth largest city in the state. The small city’s economy and culture are defined by the university, and both students and residents benefit from the relationship. The city is home to a number of cultural events, plus restaurants and nightlife that make it a perfect college town.
Students can take in the String Quartet Society, or the Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre, or can go to any of the excellent bars and restaurants that the area has to offer. Locals relish University of Alabama football games and all that the school’s presence has to offer.
The Rammer Jammer Cheer ("Hey [opponent]! Hey [opponent]! We just beat the hell out of you! Rammer Jammer, yellow hammer, give ‘em hell, Alabama!") cannot be said until after an Alabama victory.
The campus’s war cry is "Roll Tide." Say "Roll Tide" at UA and students will respond "Roll Tide."
Mel Allen (1937) was a sportscaster best known as the play-by-play announcer for the New York Yankees.
Robert Horry (1992) is an NBA player currently with the San Antonio Spurs.
Bob Riley is the governor of Alabama and a former member of Congress.
Latrell Sprewell (1992) is an NBA All-Star who was reprimanded for choking his coach.
Gay Talese (1953) is a journalist and author. Joe Namath (1964) is a pro football hall of famer who played for the New York Jets and later the Los Angeles Rams.
Sela Ward (1977) is a two-time Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress.
Sports are a major part of life at UA - the Crimson Tide football team, started in 1892, attracts fans from all over the world. Currently coached by Nick Saban, the team has taken home 12 national championships and has launched the careers of a number of pro-footballers. Also gaining popularity of late is basketball, trailing only Kentucky in SEC wins.
UA has a number of athletic rivalries, but none so heated as their rivalry with Auburn University. The Iron Bowl (the annual UA v. Auburn match) is the highlight of the year, often scheduled as the last game in the season.
UA teams compete at the Division I level of the NCAA and in the southeastern conference. There are eight men’s and 11 women’s varsity teams, as well as popular intramural and club sports programs.
The Elephant Mascot was named Big Al in a campus-wide contest.
Much of the campus was destroyed by Union Troops during the Civil War. Only four buildings survived, and the campus had to be built up again around them.
Tutwiler is an all-female dorm with communal showers named for the woman who first made UA a co-ed campus. Since it’s located across the street from sorority row, girls interested in rushing often make this their home. However, the convenience of being close to the sorority houses is offset by the fact that it’s the furthest building from the center of campus, isolating it a bit.
Burke Hall is located on the south side of campus and is known for being a more open-door dorm. Students who live in Burke tend to know each other and to all get along. Students say that it’s the common space, with a widescreen TV and pool tables, and the board games that can be checked out at the front desk that make this dorm so friendly, but they caution that these things also make the dorm one of the loudest on campus. Parham, across the street from Burke, has many of these same amenities in addition to a common kitchen area.
The newest dorms, Lakeside and Riverside, are the most highly desired living spaces on campus.
A great perk for both is Lakeside Dining, which makes it pretty easy to catch a meal on the way to class. Also it is only a five-minute walk to Ferguson, the student center, and since the building is new, it is hard to find a room that is not in good shape. Although rather far from classes, the Crimson shuttle stops across the street.
In each of the major dorms on campus, there are common areas on the first floor where students chill throughout the entire day. It’s not uncommon, at 2:00 AM, to see students playing cards, pool, or ping pong in these common areas. Most dorms also have games that can be checked out like Sorry, Monopoly, and Scrabble to spark some fun. One of the best things about the common areas is that there are big screen televisions, where students have Grey’s Anatomy nights, watch playoff games together, or even hook up DVD players to watch movies. A lot of students take these opportunities to meet more students and make new friends.