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Alabama State University, A Time Line

1866: May 15 Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry, president of Howard College, issued a call to local Baptist and Presbyterian church pastors for mass meeting at which time the organization of a school for Negroes was discussed. This meeting resulted in the start of a small school for Negroes in Marion, Ala.

1868: The building and grounds of the school were leased to the American Missionary Association for 10 years in exchange for AMA financing and operating the school.

1869: April 11- New school building was dedicated at Marion at a cost of $4,200, “twenty-eight hundred of which was appropriated by the Freeman’s Bureau and the remained contribution by the colored people and the American Missionary Association, whose teachers are employed for the school here”. Three hundred twenty-nine dollars were received by American Missionary Association, for Freedman, to be used in the school at Marion.

1870: Lincoln Normal School received $486 in state assistance during the year. Joseph H. Speed, the Perry County Superintendent, complimented six teachers trained at the school.   

1871: The school plant was appraised at $5,000. The faculty consisted of seven teachers. The student enrollment was 250. November 28-Peyton Finley, Negro member of the State Board of Education, introduced a bill to establish a university for “color people”.
December 20- An act was passed appropriating $1,250 to support a Normal School at Marion.    

1873: December 5- An act “To Establish s State Normal School and University at Marion in the event that the president and trustees of Lincoln (Normal) School at Marion would place their school building at the disposal of the state educational authorities for this purpose. Professor George N. Card of Lincoln Normal School was designed administrative head of the school.

1874: December 15- An amended bill increased the annual appropriation from $2,000 to $ 4,000. In its initial visit to the school, the board trustees organized a faculty of three with Professor George N. Card as president.

1878: William Burns Paterson was chosen president of “The State Normal School and University and University for the Education of Colored Teachers and Students located at Marion.”

1880: First class of six persons (three men and three women) was graduated from the normal department with as six being employed thereafter in the schools of Alabama.

1882: John William Beverly graduated from the Lincoln Normal School. He later became the third president of the institution.

1887: Mass meeting held at “Old Ship “A.M.E. Zion Church by President Paterson to present plans for relocation of school on Montgomery. February 25 – A legislative act authorized established of Alabama Colored Peoples University and discontinuance of the State Normal School and University at Marion, provided that a suitable place, acceptable to the (white) people, could be located. The State Legislature appropriated $10,000 to be used to build and erect suitable buildings, and $7,500 annually to be paid in installments and used for the support of the university Colored citizens of Montgomery made secured pledge of $5,000 in land and money and secured temporary buildings for the use of Alabama Colored People University. October 3- University opened in Montgomery in the Beulah Baptist Church with faculty of nine. Registration was held in the basement of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

1888: Supreme Court declared certain section of the Act of 1887 unconstitutional (since money could not legally be drawn from the Public School Fund to operate a University) The State Legislative passed an act which changed the name from the Alabama Colored People’s University, removed all unconstitutional matters, and established the Normal School of Colored Students with the same appropriation as allocated in 1887.

1889: First meeting of the board of trustees for the State Normal School of Colored Students was held. The $3,000 in money and land, which is the present original campus, was conveyed to the board as pledge by the colored people of Montgomery. Two buildings were erected on the new site bounded by Tuscaloosa, Jacckson, Thurman and Seay Streets and four houses on South Ripley were added for classrooms. Model School (Primary Department was established with five teachers. Student received their training as teachers at the Model School.

1890: First graduation class consisted of eight persons. The baccalaureate sermon was held at the First Baptist Church and the commencement exercise at Old Ship A.M.E. Zion Church. Diplomas were to be delivered one year later provided the students made satisfactory records as teachers and in their conduct. Original frame building, Tullibody Hall, was completed at a cost of $13,992.80.

1901: February 9- First Founder’s Day observance was held - started as an observed was held- started as an observance of the birthday of President Paterson. Originally suggested by Miss Joan Stewart (the last of the early white teachers at State Normal) and conducted by the 6th grade class of Miss Mary Frances Terrell.

1904: Original Tullibody Hall destroyed by fire.

1906: First year in which the entire faculty was composed of Negroes.Tullibody Hall, the first black structure on campus, was completed and occupied.

1915: March 14- President William Burns Paterson died. John William Beverly, the first Negro teacher of State Normal School, was named President.

1916: State Normal was organized as a four-year teacher training high school.  

1918: U.S. Bureau of Education study group recommended additional land and dormitories be provided for State Normal School. “Old Poor House Property” was purchased foe expansion of campus and 80 acres of farm land was purchased.

1919: The Legislative appropriated $20,000 to match a $30,000 grant from the General Education Board for the purpose of building the first permanent dormitory and dining hall. 

1920: George Washington Trenholm became acting president succeeding John William Beverly. First high school class was graduated. Two-year Junior College was started.

1921: George Washington Trenholm was appointed president. General Library was organized with Mrs. Annie W. Doak as first librarian.

1922: Campus dining facility, Thomas Irby Kiby Hall was open. Jackson Davis Hall was occupied as girls’ dormitory. James Hardy Dillard Dormitory was remodeled for classrooms purposes. President’s residence, Friendship Manor, was occupied.

1923: First junior college class graduated.

1924: Institution celebrated its semi-centennial. February 8 – Governor William Woodward Brandon addressed the semi-centennial assembly in Tullibody Hall. Joan Stewart Hall, and academic building, and James Hardy Dillard Hall were remodeled.

1925: August – 3 George Washington Trenholm died and was succeeded as president by his son Harper Councilll Trenholm.

1927: Branch summer schools were started in Mobile and Birmingham. Legislative funds were granted to expand the campus south of Thurman Street, to build Bill Graves Hall, a women’s residence, and William Burns Paterson Hall, an academic building.

1928: Alabama State Normal School was renamed State Teachers College and expanded to a senior college with authority to grant baccalaureate degree in education. The college laboratory high school was accredited by the State Department of Education, the first Negro high school to be so accredited in Alabama. Bibb Graves Hall and William Burns Paterson Hall were dedicated.

1931: State Teachers College has its first summer quarter graduates.

1935: State Teachers College was accredited “Class B” by the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

1936: Junior college branch of State Teacher College was graduated at a Mobile branch.

1939: John William Beverly Science building and George Hubert Lockhart Gymnasium were erected.

1940: Authorization to award degree of Bachelor of Science in selected fields was granted by the State Board of Education.

1941:   Elizabeth Brown Deramus Hall, temporary structure for music classes, was built. Two-story frame building was purchased without the state appropriation for the expansion of the Mobile branch campus. State Teachers College Mobile Branch classrooms buildings were purchased.

1942: Hornet Stadium was constructed.

1943: First degree of Master of Education was conferred.

1944: Mary Frances Terrell Hall, a temporary music facility, was completed. James Hardy Dillard Hall was remodeled for dormitory for men students.

1946: Beta Kappa Chi National Honor Society established ASU chapter.

1948: First Bachelor of Science degree outside the education field was conferred. George Washington Trenholm Library and John W. Abercrombie Hall, a women’s residence were occupied. Name was changed from State Teachers College to Alabama State College for Negroes.

1949: Elizabeth Ross Haynes Faculty Apartments were erected.

1950: North Hall, University Center food service facility was opened.

1953: Swimming pool was completed. Fredrick Douglas Adair Hall, temporary music building was constructed.     

1954: The name was changed from Alabama State College for Negroes to Alabama State College.

1955: William Hopper Councill Administration Building was erected.

1956: The Charles Johnson Dunn Sports Arena was opened.

1959: Temporary campus center building destroyed by fire.

1961: Separated and conditional credit approval ended when Southern Association of Colleges and Schools discontinued “Approved List” for Negro Institutions. December 31 – President Harper Councill Trenholm was granted one-year sick leave.

1962: Robert Clinton Hatch, Dean of Graduated Fifth Year Program, assumed Acting Presidency during President Trenholm sick leave. October 1 – State Board of Education accepted Robert Clinton Hatch’s resignation for Acting Presidency and reaffirmed his appointment as Dean of Graduate Fifth Year Program. October 1 – Levi Watkins was appointed president and was directed to complete the period of President Trenholm’s sick leave.

1963: George N. Card Hall men’s residence was completed and occupied. George Washington Trenholm Memorial Library Annex was completed.

1964: Construction was begun on new building at Mobile Center. Montgomery campus building programs was launched. Mobile branch was established as in independent branch junior college.

1966: Willease Rose Simpson Hall, women’s residence was occupied. Cynthia Drake Alexander Faculty Apartments were erected. New University Center facility was completed. James Hardy Dillard Hall, faculty men’s residence was destroyed by fire. College was granted accreditation and membership by the Southern Association of College and Schools.

1967: Harper Councill Trenholm Science Hall was erected. Edwards McGhee Hall was dedicated. The Alabama State University foundation was incorporated.

1968: Authorization to award Degree of Master of Science in selected fields was granted. November 28 - Edmonia Thompson Benson Lounge was dedicated.

1969: June 26 – The State Board Elevated the college to “University status” and changed its name to Alabama State University. John Williams Beverly Hall, social science facility, was renovated. Former headquarters building of Alabama Teachers Association was acquired. The Laboratory High School was discontinued.

1970: The University House, guest house and president’s residence, was completed. William H.Benson Hall a men’s residence, was occupied. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaffirmed university accreditation. The university was recognized to include the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, Education, The School of Graduate Studies and the Division of Continuing Education.

1971: Laboratory Elementary School was discontinued. The Zelda Stephens Early Childhood Education as recognizing into the School of Continuing Education and Community Services. Air Force Reserve Offices Training Course programs was inaugurated. Extension Center was opened in Birmingham. Second-year graduate program leading to Alabama Class AA teacher’s certificate was begun. Bibb Graves was renovated.

1972: South Hall, dining facility of University Center, was completed. Division music was accredited by National Association for Schools of Music. Bessie Wilson Benson Hall, women’s residence, was occupied.

1973: September 17, 1973 – June 15, 1974 proclaimed Alabama State University Centennial Year. Phi Delta Kappa National Honor Society established ASU chapter. Kappa Delta Pi National Honor Society established ASU chapter.

1974: Tullibody Music Hal, Phase 1 of the Fine Arts complex, was completed. May 15- Tullibody Music Hall was dedicated.

1975: Administrative control of the university was changed from the state board of education to a legislatively created board of trustees.

1976: Associated Degree and the Educational Specialist degree were authorized. First Educational Specialist degree awarded.

1978: April 16 – Levi Watkins Learning Center was dedicated.
NCATE reaffirmed accreditation for the professional education programs of the College of Education for an 80-year period.

1979: The first Associate of Science degree was conferred. Hornet basketball team named “Number 1 “on NAIA ratings; received 2nd Place in NAIN Playoffs in Kansas City.

1981: President Levi Watkins retired (1963-1981). Robert L. Randolph appointed president.

1982: April 17, first formal Presidential Inauguration held. Willetta McGinty Apartments were completed.

1983: Phase II of Tullibody Fine Art Center began. Robert L. Randolph resigned. Leon Howard appointed interim president. Alabama State University’s newsletter, “ASU Today,” first published. Academic Retention program with Early Warning System initiated. Center for the improvement of the Instruction and Learning opened.

1984: WVSA-FM radio station began operating. Leon Howard appointed president of Alabama State University. Dedication of Phase II of Tullibody Fine Arts Center.

1985: Renovation of Kilby Hall began. June 29, President Howard’s inauguration’ second inauguration in history of institution. University’s First Flag flown during inauguration. University Mace carried by University Marshal during 237th Commencement (Summer 1985).

1986: Accreditation of the School of Music by the National Association of Schools of Music reaffirmed. Phi Eta Sigma National Freshman Honor Society charted. Endowment for Excellence campaign launched. University Center dedicated to John Garrick Hardy. ASU’s image-enhancement proposal, which incorporates the theme “Alabama State University – A proud tradition . . . . . the promise of a bright future” adopted.  

1988: Pepsi-Cola /NAFEO Marketing Excellence in Education citation.

1989: Social work program accredited by Council on Social Work Education. Women’s Basketball Team became Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Tournament Champions. Ground breaking for males and females dormitories held – named Martin Luther King Jr. Hall and Bessie Sears Estell Hall.`   

1990: Ground breaking for Joe L. Reed Acadome held. Accreditation of Teacher Education programs reaffirmed by the Alabama State Department of Education. Reaffirmation of accreditation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Construction of Martin Luther King Jr. Hall and Bessie Sears Estell Hall completed.

1991: Leon Howard resigned as president. C.C.Baker appointed interim president. ASU’s football team won the SWAC and Alamo Heritage Bowl Championships.

1992: Social work programs were re-accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Joe L. Reed Acadome was completed.

1993: College of Business Administration was accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs.

1994: Williams H. Harris was appointed president of Alabama State University. Charles Johnson Dunn Towers and Olean Black Underwood Tennis Center were completed. ASU President Emeritus Levi Watkins dies at 83. ASU’s Biomedical Research and Training Programs receive $531,735 grant to establish a Health Careers Opportunity Program. ASU Athletic Hall of Fame established. Alabama Minority Students Summer Bridges program for math, science, computer science and engineering major debuts at ASU. ASU board of trustees adopts new mission statement, drop open – door policy and sets higher standards for entering students.

1995: Alabama State University: The First 114 years 1867-1981, by former President Levi Watkins Sr., publish. President’s Award for Teaching Excellence established. Minority and international students’ director’s position created to serve ASU’s growing minority population. April 28 – William H. Harris inaugurated at ASU’s 10th president. Frank Lewis, the first student – athlete to earn letters in four sports in four years, and Jesse White, a star basketball and baseball player inducted into the Southwestern Athletic Association Hall of Fame. Lady’s Hornet’s tennis team wins Southwestern Athletic Conference Women’s Championship and also posts the highest grade point average of any sport on campus. Knight vs. Alabama remedial decree expands ASU’s mission, programs and funding. Freshman elected Jeremy Alphord as ASU’s first white freshman president. 

1996: ASU Trust Fund for Education Excellence fund-raising campaign initiated. ASU joins Troy State University and the University of Alabama as owners of radio station WAPR FM-88.3 ASU unveil historical markets at the corner of Jackson and Tuscaloosa streets, Paterson, ASU’s second president. ASU’s testing center becomes the Alabama site for administration of the state’s social work certification test. University’s expanded scope as a comprehensive regional university. Lady Hornet tennis team captures Southwestern Athletic Conference crown.

1997:  ASU’s ranked No. 1 produce form African American baccalaureate education degrees in the nation. ASU’s Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Bowl team wins first – place trophy and a $50,000 grant, beating out 63 historically black college and university teams from across the nation. ASU’s biomedical research team discovers antibodies against food poising bacteria.

1998:  Dr. K.H. Kim, distinguish professor of mathematics and Dr. Fred W. Rosh, professor of mathematics, prove the falsity of the Williams Conjecture. Minority enrollment leaps from 1.2 percent in 1992 to 10.5. ASU maintains ranking as No. 1 producer of African American baccalaureate education degrees in the nation. ASU Trust for Educational Excellence reaches $1 million in goal. ASU’s first Honors Scholar graduates. Two allied health programs introduced- a bachelor’s degree in health information management and occupational therapy. School of Business adds master of accountancy degree program. School of music accreditation reaffirmed.

1999:  Enrollment reaches all – time record 5,640 students. Ational Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African- American culture at Alabama State University established. Board of Trustees approves establishment of ASU Center for Leadership   and Public Policy. Lady Hornet tennis team captures Southwestern Athletic Conference Crown.