Alabama State University

Education in the United States in: Universities » Alabama

Alabama State University
Alabama State University
915 S Jackson Street
Montgomery, AL 36101-0271
Phone: (334) 229-4400

About ASU
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Alabama State University was founded in 1867, in Marion, Ala., as a school for African-Americans. The school started as the Lincoln Normal School with $500 raised by nine freed slaves now known as the Marion Nine, making ASU one of the nation’s oldest institutions of higher education founded for black Americans.

Today, Alabama State University, located in Montgomery, Ala., is a widely respected, world-class institution of higher learning which welcomes students of all races. We offer nearly 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, from our historic teacher education program to our new, high-demand programs in health sciences, new Ph.D. in microbiology and minor in international business.

The more than 5,600 students who attend ASU are as diverse as our academic offerings, with students from more than 40 states and various countries seeking a top-notch education that extends far beyond the walls of a classroom. With a 20 to1 student-faculty ratio, students receive the personal attention, mentoring, encouragement and knowledge needed to achieve their dreams.

At ASU, we know that what happens outside the classroom is an essential part of the college experience. Our students enjoy a vibrant campus community where they’ll build life-long friendships and find a wide variety of social, cultural and sporting events. We have more than 70 clubs and organizations, including fraternities and sororities, and 18 intercollegiate sports.

Our location in Montgomery, the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement, offers students the unique opportunity to live, learn and grow in a city rich with culture and history. In fact, some of the most notable figures of the civil rights era – including the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, attorney Fred Gray and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth – are counted among ASU’s many distinguished alumni.

Our 142-year history is a legacy of perseverance, progress and promise. We’re proud of our legacy, and we welcome students to dream, to share their unique gifts and talents, and to take pride in knowing they are part of a rich tradition.

History & Tradition
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Alabama State University’s 142-year history is a legacy of perseverance, progress and promise. The ASU movement began with the impetus to establish a school for black Alabamians. The Civil War resulted in not only the end of slavery, but also in the opportunity for blacks to have the right to education. With the Northern victory, black Southerners, with the assistance of Northern white missionaries and the leaders of African-American churches, set out to establish educational institutions for the freedmen. ASU was born in that movement.

ASU is the global entity it is today because of the fortitude of nine freed slaves from Marion, Ala., who sought to build a school for African-Americans previously denied the right to an education. The foresight of these men, now remembered as the “Marion Nine,” created what is now known as Alabama State University.

The Marion Nine included Joey P. Pinch, Thomas Speed, Nicholas Dale, James Childs, Thomas Lee, John Freeman, Nathan Levert, David Harris and Alexander H. Curtis. These co-founders and original trustees, with assistance from Marion community members, raised $500 for land, and on July 18, 1867, filed incorporation papers to establish the Lincoln Normal School at Marion.

The Lincoln School opened its doors on November 13, 1867, with 113 students. In 1873, this predecessor of Alabama State University became the nation’s first state-sponsored liberal arts institution for the higher education of blacks, beginning ASU’s rich history as a “Teacher’s College.”

The ASU Legacy: Perseverance, Progress and Promise
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ASU’s 140-year history is a legacy of perseverance, progress and promise. The ASU movement began with the impetus to establish a school for black Alabamians. The Civil War resulted not only in the end of slavery but also in the opportunity for blacks to have the right to education. With the Northern victory, black Southerners with the assistance of Northern white missionaries and the leaders of African-American churches set out to establish educational institutions for the freedmen. ASU was born in that movement.

Blacks in the Black Belt of Alabama, the heart of the Confederacy, founded Lincoln Normal School at Marion in 1867. As a descendent of that school, ASU is one of the oldest institutions of higher education founded for black Americans. The men who comprised the Board of Trustees were Joey Pinch, Thomas Speed, Nickolas Dale, James Childs, Thomas Lee, John Freeman, Nathan Levert, David Harris, and Alexander H. Curtis. Under the leadership of this group, the blacks of Marion raised $500 and purchased a suitable building site on which a school building was constructed.

Until the new school was built, the American Missionary Association leased a building and operated and financed the school. In 1869, the AMA, with the support of $2,800 from the Freedmen’s Bureau of the federal government and support from the “colored people of Alabama,” raised $4,200 to construct a new building. In 1870, while the AMA provided the teachers, the Legislature appropriated $486 for the school’s use. The state’s support rose to $1,250 the next year.

In 1871, Peyton Finley petitioned the Legislature to establish a “university for colored people,” but his request was denied. He persisted and in 1873 the Alabama Legislature established a “State Normal School and University for the Education of Colored Teachers and Students.” That act included the provision that Lincoln School’s assets would become part of the new school. The trustees agreed, and in 1874 the first president George N. Card led the effort in re-organizing Lincoln Normal School in Marion as America’s first state-supported liberal arts educational institution for blacks.

Black leaders continued to press for a more prominently supported school for black youths. In 1887 the State of Alabama authorized the establishment of the Alabama Colored People’s University. The land and building allocations were put with pledges of $5,000 from black citizens who wanted the university in Montgomery. Thus, the university offered its first class in Montgomery in 1887.

Although university president William Paterson and others had overcome initial opposition to locating the school in Montgomery, opponents of state support of education for blacks remained hostile to the new university. Such opponents filed suit in state court and won a ruling 1887 from the Alabama Supreme Court that declared unconstitutional certain sections of the legislation that established the university for African-Americans. Thus, the school operated for two years solely on tuition fees, voluntary service and donations until, by act of the Legislature in 1889, the state resumed its support. The new law changed the name of the school from university to Normal School for Colored Students, thus skirting the Supreme Court’s finding and re-established the $7,500 state appropriation.

Despite having to face tremendous obstacles, the ASU family continued to make significant contributions to the history of the state and nation, especially with the involvement of students and employees in the Civil Rights Movement. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, the first direct action campaign of the modern Civil Rights Movement, awakened a new consciousness within the university and the community responded to the call for participants. Even though officials, in a state committed to segregation, retaliated against the school with a decrease in funding, ASU continued to persevere and flourish so that today it is a model of diversity and equal opportunity for all. At the same time, ASU is a beacon in the legacy of black leadership and the preservation and celebration of African-American culture.

142 Years of Leadership
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Peyton Finley and George N. Card
ASU is a direct descendent of Lincoln Normal School at Marion established in Perry County, Alabama, in 1867. Although many people worked to establish Lincoln Normal School, Peyton Finley – the first elected black member of the State Board of Education--contributed most in the early years to make the institution permanent. Through his efforts and with the assistance of the institution’s first president George N. Card, the school became a state-supported educational institution in 1874.

William Burns Paterson
In 1887 the Legislature authorized the establishment of a university, allocated $10,000 for a land purchase and building construction, and set aside $7,500 annually for operating expenses. Montgomery citizens pledged $5,000 in cash and land and donated the use of some temporary buildings. Under the leadership of President William Paterson, the university opened in Montgomery at Beulah Baptist Church with a faculty of nine members. Eight months after the enabling legislation, the university taught its first class on October 3, 1887.

1889 was a pivotal year in the university’s development when $3,000 pledged to the state was given to authorities along with land for development of a permanent campus at the university’s current location between Decatur and Hall streets. The university erected Tullibody Hall the next year as its first permanent building. That building burned in 1904 and was rebuilt in 1906 as the university’s first brick structure, which also was named Tullibody Hall.

John William Beverly and George Washington Trenholm
Paterson, who had guided the university through the early years, and who is generally considered the founder because of his 37 years of service, died in 1915. During the following decade, presidents John William Beverly and George Washington Trenholm organized the institution as a four-year teacher training high school and added a junior college department. In the early 1920s the university began operating on the four-quarter system and added the departments of home economics and commerce. This decade of growth and change also saw the purchase of additional land, including an 80-acre farm which constitutes the bulk of the university’s current holdings. The state also appropriated $50,000 for the construction of dormitories and dining facilities.

Harper Councill Trenholm
In 1925 G. W. Trenholm died and was succeeded by his 25-year-old son, Harper Councill Trenholm—who served as president for 37 years. He oversaw the change from a junior college to a full four-year institution, a process completed in 1928 which enabled the college to confer its first baccalaureate degree in teacher education in 1931. In 1940 Trenholm initiated a graduate degree program, and State Teachers College awarded its first master’s degree in
1943. The school also established branch campuses in Mobile and Birmingham.

Trenholm was eager for the institution to develop and gain recognition. Thus, he worked to improve the physical facilities in concert with advances in the quality of academic programs. During the economic expansion that followed the end of the Great Depression, the university constructed eight permanent brick buildings, a swimming pool, and a stadium. To reflect changes in its programs, the Legislature authorized the institution to change its name to State Teachers College in 1929, Alabama State College for Negroes in 1948, and Alabama State College in 1954. In 1935 the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the college’s programs.

Levi Watkins
In 1962, after Trenholm’s illness an interim president, Levi Watkins, became president. In 1969, the State Board of Education, then the governing board of the college, approved a name change and the institution became Alabama State University. During these years, the university began a path of steady growth and development in its current role as a comprehensive university. In 1975, the Legislature established an independent board of trustees for the university.

Robert Lee Randolph
In 1981, Robert Lee Randolph was appointed president, a position he held until 1983. During his tenure, Title III received its largest federal government funding. WVAS-FM was planned, construction began on the Tullibody Fine Arts Center, and the University Apartments were constructed.

Leon Howard
After serving 10 months as interim president, Leon Howard was appointed president in 1984, a position he held until 1991. During his presidency, ASU saw dramatic increases in student enrollment, an aggressive student retention program was started, and the social work program received national accreditation. The largest capital campaign, the Endowment for Excellence, raised $1.5 million. Two new dormitories were completed.

C.C. Baker
C.C. Baker, a 1954 alumnus, served as president from 1991 to 1994. During his tenure, the enrollment reached an all-time high of 5,600 students; programs were reaccredited; athletic programs flourished; the Olean Black Underwood Tennis Center and C. Johnson Dunn Tower were opened in January 1994; and the Acadome was dedicated in 1992.

William H. Harris
When William H. Harris became president in 1994, his commitment was to transform ASU into a comprehensive regional university through excellence and diversity. Significant investments were made in technology, the student body became more diverse, and community outreach was emphasized through partnerships with K-12, civic and community organizations. The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture, Business and Technology Center, and Center for Leadership and Public Policy were established. Degree programs in health information management and occupational therapy and graduate programs in accountancy and physical therapy were created. Improvements in the living and learning environment were made, including renovation to Paterson Hall and the $4.2 million restoration of historic George Lockhart Hall.

Joe A. Lee
Dr. Joe A. Lee became president in 2001 and served until 2008. His vision focused on a students-first philosophy, which emphasized development of a comprehensive student retention program, renovation/construction of a student union building, and completion of the John L. Buskey Health Sciences Center. Accreditation for the university and for academic programs was reaffirmed; and educational leadership, policy and law became the first doctoral degree program offered at ASU. A transitional doctorate in physical therapy was introduced, the university experienced a record enrollment, and the women’s basketball team earned national recognition.

William H. Harris
In 2008 Dr. William Harris returned to ASU as president. His vision focuses on transforming Alabama State University through excellence in teaching, research, service and a diverse population.

Mission Statement
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Alabama State University is a student-centered, nurturing, comprehensive and diverse public historically black University committed to achieving excellence in teaching, research and public service. The University fulfills its mission through fostering critical thought, artistic creativity, professional competence and responsible citizenship in its students; by adding to the body of knowledge to enhance the quality of life through research and discovery; and by helping to advance the state and nation through thoughtful public service. Offering baccalaureate through doctorate degrees, the University maintains a scholarly and creative faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and a living atmosphere in which all members of the campus community can work and learn in pleasant and rewarding surroundings. Consistent with its assurance that neither race, gender nor economic status inhibits intelligence, creativity or achievement, ASU offers a bridge to success for those who commit to pursuing the building blocks of development, focus, persistence and reward.

Alabama State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACS).

Institutional Research
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Welcome to the website for the Office of Institutional Research. This office is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating institutional data and information for academic and non-academic programs, particularly in areas of planning and management support. In the Institutional Data section, you will find semester fact sheets.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please email us. You can also request data via our Information Request Form.

Institutional Research has the primary mission of conducting research within the university to provide information that supports institutional planning, policy formation and decision making. The unit plays a very important role in the university's program evaluation and outcomes assessment activities. In this regard, it may conduct surveys of graduates and former students; and it may conduct needs assessment studies designed to guide the development of new programs.

This unit works closely with ASU's office of Management Information Systems and ASU's Academic Computing department in the design of data files to serve faculty, staff and student information needs.

By virtue of its responsibilities for data and information about the university, institutional research is assigned responsibilities that need not be considered university research. The following are illustrative:
The Office of Institutional Research has responsibility for the university's responses to national statistical surveys, such as the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) of the National Center for Education Statistics.
Similarly, data forms must also be completed for the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE).
The Office of Institutional Research also serves as the continuing point of contact for ACHE on matters relating to institutional data.
Institutional Research staff may be asked to serve on agency committees where a central concern is institutional data.
A related responsibility assigned to the Office of Institutional Research is that of responding to external and internal questionnaires and other non-routine requests for data or information.

Stats & Facts
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Alabama State University was founded as the Lincoln Normal School in 1867 in Marion, Ala.
ASU has the only accredited social work program in the Montgomery area.
ASU has an enrollment of more than 5,600 students from 42 states and 7 countries.
The new $30 million 250,000 square-foot Ralph David Abernathy Hall is the second largest construction project in the history of ASU
According to studies published by Black Issues in Higher Learning, ASU has ranked as high as first in the nation in awarding educational degrees to African-American students.
Nearly 50 percent of ASU’s total undergraduate students and 80 percent of its graduate students are enrolled in education.
Following the Dec. 1, 1955, arrest of Rosa Parks, ASU English teacher Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, along with two ASU students, stayed up all night mimeographing 35,000 leaflets to alert black citizens to boycott Montgomery’s buses.
ASU conveyed its first baccalaureate degrees in education in June 1931.
On June 30, 1880, the first six students graduated from the Lincoln Normal School in Marion. They were: Sarah H. Baptist (Loyton), Henrrietta H. Curtis (Porter), Emory A. Deyampert, Abner C. Loyton, Clara A. Watson (Shaw) and Joshua F. Washington.
In 1873 ASU, then known as Lincoln Normal School, began receiving state support (funding), thus becoming the oldest state-supported institution in America for the function of educating black teachers and offering a liberal arts curriculum.
In 1925, ASU’s fourth president, George Washington Trenholm, died five years after being in office and was succeeded by his 25-year-old son, Harper Council Trenholm.
Dr. William H. Harris, ASU’s 12th president also served as ASU’s 10th president from 1994-2000.
ASU’s longest serving president was William Burns Paterson, who served for 37 years.
Alabama State University has conferred some 100 associate degrees, 30,163 baccalaureate degrees and 9,295 graduate degrees, as of spring 2008.

The Campus
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Alabama State University is located in historic Montgomery, Ala., on a beautiful 135-acre campus featuring lush landscaping, historic landmarks and both modern and traditional facilities that pay homage to the University’s proud past and bright future.

The campus is located only a short walk from the state capital, the state government complex and downtown Montgomery, making the downtown business and entertainment district, art galleries, state archives, museums and historical sites readily accessible to students.

ASU has experienced tremendous growth during the past few years, with the addition of a number of new campus buildings to accommodate increased enrollment and exciting new academic programs. The most recent construction includes an expansive 134,000 square-foot facility to house the College of Education and a state-of-the-art, five-floor, 86,000-square-foot new building to house the University’s groundbreaking biological sciences programs.

In addition to these recently opened facilities, other exciting projects are on the horizon, including the construction of a new student services center scheduled to open in December 2011, and a renovation and 46,000-square-foot- addition to the University’s Library and Media facility.

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Alabama State University (ASU) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions (SACS) to award bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist and doctorate degrees.

The university also is accredited by the following organizations and associations:
The Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)
National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program (CAAHEP)

ASU is approved by the Alabama State Department of Education and its programs and credits are accepted for teacher certification.

In addition, ASU is approved by the Veterans Administration to provide educational programs authorized by Congress under several federal acts and those authorized by the State of Alabama under the Alabama G.I. and Dependents Benefit Act.

Education USA - For Students: Alabama State University