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Alabama State University
Motto "When we teach class, the world takes note."
Established 1875
Type Public, HBCU
President Dr. William H. Harris
Vice-president John Knight
Provost Dr. Karyn Scissum-Gunn
Students 5,600
Undergraduates 4,600
Postgraduates 1,000
Location Montgomery, Alabama
United States
Campus Urban, 172-acres[1]
Sports football
and volleyball
Colors Black and Old Gold
Nickname Hornets and Lady Hornets
Athletics NCAA Division I FCS
Affiliations Southwestern Athletic Conference

Alabama State University, founded 1867, is a historically black university located in Montgomery, Alabama. ASU is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund.



Alabama State University founded in 1867 as the Lincoln Normal School of Marion in Marion, Alabama, a private institution for blacks, by nine former enslaved African-Americans. The founders and original trustees were Joey P. Pinch, Thomas Speed, Nicholas Dale, James Childs, Thomas Lee, John Freeman, Nathan Levert, David Harris and Alexander H. Curtis. The Lincoln School was incorporated on July 18, 1867 and opened November 13, 1867 with 113 students. In 1868, the Alabama State Board of Education designated the school a Normal School and it became known as Lincoln Normal School. In December 1873, the State Board accepted the transfer of title to the school after a legislative act was passed authorizing the state to fund a Normal School, and George N. Card was named President. Thus, in 1874, this predecessor of Alabama State University became America's first state-supported educational institution for blacks. This began ASU’s rich history as a “Teacher’s College.”

In 1878, the second president, William Paterson, was appointed. He is honored as a founder of Alabama State University and was the president for 37 of the first 48 years of its existence. Paterson was instrumental in the move from Marion to Montgomery in 1887. In 1887, the university opened in its new location in Montgomery but an Alabama State Supreme Court ruling forced the school to change its name; thus, the school was renamed the Normal School for Colored Students.

In the decades that followed Lincoln Normal School became a junior college and in 1928 became a full four-year institution. In 1929 it became State Teachers College, Alabama State College for Negroes in 1948 and Alabama State College in 1954. In 1969, the State Board of Education, then the governing body of the university, approved a name change; the institution became Alabama State University. The 1995 Knight vs. Alabama remedial decree transformed ASU into a comprehensive regional institution paving the way for two new undergraduate programs, four new graduate programs, diversity scholarship funding and endowment, funding to build a state-of-the art health sciences facility and a facility renewal allocation to refurbish three existing buildings.

WVAS-FM was launched on June 15, 1984, beaming 25,000 watts of power from the fifth floor of the Levi Watkins Learning Center for two years before moving to its current location at Thomas Kilby Hall. Today, WVAS has grown to 80,000 watts and enjoys a listenership that spans 18 counties, reaching a total population of more than 651,000. In recent years, the station has also begun streaming its broadcast via the Web, connecting a global audience to the university.

The early 1990s witnessed the beginning of WAPR-FM (Alabama Public Radio), which Alabama State University and Troy University, both of which already held station licenses of their own, cooperated with the University of Alabama in building and operating. WAPR-FM 88.3—Selma - The signal reaches the region known colloquially as the Black Belt, about 13 counties in the west central and central parts of Alabama, including the city of Montgomery.


Alabama State University has an enrollment of more than 5,000 students from more than 40 states and six countries. [2]

Alabama State University has eight degree-granting colleges or schools or divisions.

  • College of Business Administration
  • College of Education
  • College of Health Sciences
  • College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
  • College of Science, Mathematics & Technology
  • College of Visual & Performing Arts
  • Division of Aerospace Studies
  • Continuing Education

Alabama State offers 47 degree programs including 31 bachelors’, 11 masters’, two Education Specialist and three doctoral programs (Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law (EdD), Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT), Doctorate in Microbiology (PhD)).

Alabama State is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the National Association of Schools of Music, the National Association of Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy, the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the Council of Social Work Education.


ASU's urban, 172-acre campus has Georgian-style red-brick classroom buildings and architecturally contemporary structures.[1][3] ASU is home to the state-of-the-art 7,400-seat academic and sports facility the ASU Acadome; the Levi Watkins Learning Center; a five-story brick structure with more than 267,000 volumes, the state-of-the-art John L. Buskey Health Sciences Center; which is 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) facility which houses classrooms, offices, an interdisciplinary clinic, three therapeutic rehabilitation labs, state-of-the-art Gross Anatomy Lab, Laboratory for the Analysis of Human Motion (LAHM), a Women’s Health/Cardiopulmonary lab, and a health sciences computer lab, and WVAS-FM 90.7; the 80,000-watt, university operated public radio station.

Student life

More than 70 student organizations are chartered at Alabama State, including nine Greek-letter organizations, a full range of men’s and women’s intramural and intercollegiate sports, and 17 honors organizations. In addition to social, cultural and religious groups, there are musical opportunities, such as the marching and symphonic bands, the choir, and departmental organizations for most majors.


The Golden Ambassadors

The Golden Ambassadors are a select group of outstanding students who are the official greeting body for Alabama State University.

Student publications

The students are served by two media publications, The Hornet Tribune (student newspaper) and The HORNET (the student yearbook).


The Alabama State University Department of Athletics currently sponsors Men's Intercollegiate football, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, track and cheerleading along with Women's Intercollegiate basketball, soccer, softball, bowling, tennis, track, volleyball, golf and cheerleading. Sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (FCS - Football Championship Subdivision for football) in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), which it joined in 1982. The university's colors are black and old gold and their nickname is the Hornets. Currently in 2009, hornets Mens Basketball team have won 2 regular season and SWAC championships in the past two years.

Marching Hornets

The Marching Hornets have gained national recognition as a result of their participation in the halftime shows on NBC's national televised professional football games between the NY Jets vs. KC Chiefs on December 10, 1967, and CBS's nationally televised professional football game between the New Orleans Saints vs. the Green Bay Packers in 1969, the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints in October 1976 and 1977; and the pre-game and halftime for the Cincinnati Bengal vs. Houston Oilers at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, 1976. The band was twice televised on the Blue-Gray Football Classic, Montgomery, AL, in December 1976 and 1977.

In 1980, The Marching Hornets put together a halftime show saluting the late, great Joe Louis. In 1985, the Marching Hornets were invited to perform at the second annual Freedom Bowl classic in Fulton Stadium, Atlanta, GA, representing the SWAC Conference. They also performed for the Atlanta Falcon vs. Chicago Bears in 1986, were they presented a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and were the Exhibition Band for the South Central Marching Band Classic in Homewood, AL., November 1, 1986. The Marching Hornets also performed at other classics and games such as the 1991 Bronze Classic in Atlanta, the 1991 Motor City Classic in Pontiac Michigan, the 1991 Alma Heritage Bowl in Miami, the 1992 Circle City Classic of Indianapolis, the 2000 Battle of the Bands in Mobile, AL, the 2003 and 2004 Detroit Football Classic, and the 2006 Battle of the Bands in Atlanta, Ga. The band appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2007.


The Stingettes is the name of Alabama State University's dance line.

The Honey Bees

The Honey Bees are a dance team that dance during the football halftime performances.

The Bama State Collegians

The Bama State Collegians is a big band jazz orchestra sponsored by Alabama State University. In the 1930s, the ensemble was directed by noted jazz trumpeter, Erskine Hawkins, an inductee of both the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. After moving to New York City, the Collegians, directed by Hawkins, became the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra and produced a string of national hit records, including "Tuxedo Junction", "After Hours", "Tippin' In" and others. The song "Tuxedo Junction", with its recordings by Hawkins and by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, became one of the anthems of World War II in America.

Notable people

Notable faculty

Name Department Notability Reference
Tonea Stewart theatre actress, playwright, and Dean of Performing Arts [4]
Sheyann Webb-Christburg notable civil rights activist, author of Selma Lord Selma! and Dr. Martin Luther King's proclaimed "smallest freedom fighter".
Arthur D. Baylor first black police chief of Montgomery, Alabama
Alvin Holmes Alumnus and member of the Alabama State Legislature, representing the 78th District (Montgomery) [5]
Ralph J. Bryson English professor and Grand Historian of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity
Horace B. Lamar Music Professor and Former Dean of School of Music

Notable alumni

Name Class year Notability Reference
Lewis Jackson 1984 former NBA player, educator, ASU basketball coach
Rickey Smiley comedian/actor
Tarvaris Jackson quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings [6]
Africa Miranda singer [7]
Joe L. Reed civil rights pioneer
Reggie Barlow wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars & current head coach of ASU football
Jesse White 37th Secretary of State of Illinois
Dr. Yvonne Kennedy Former President of Bishop State Community College
Tangi Miller actress with The WB's Felicity
Darryl Lassiter Producer and Director
Dr. Fred Shuttlesworth clergy, civil rights legend
Fred Gray attorney who represented Rosa Parks during the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Erskine Hawkins noted jazz musician, composer of "Tuxedo Junction"
Ralph Simpson first African American to earn a Ph.D. (music) from Michigan State University; former Dean of the School of Music at Tennessee State University
Dionne Walters contestant on America's Next Top Model
London "Deelishis" Charles Winner of reality show Flavor of Love 2
Marcus Winn Linebacker for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League
Togo Coles former USTA Pro Circuits tennis player
Doug Williams 1995 Comedian/Actor
Ralph David Abernathy Civil Rights Leader
Eddie Robinson former American football linebacker who played 11 seasons in the NFL for the Houston Oilers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, and the Buffalo Bills. He started for the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV.
Eugene Sawyer Politician and businessman,former Mayor of Chicago from 1987-1989 [8]
Woody McCorvey 1972 Assistant Head Football Coach for The Mississippi State University Bulldogs [9]
James Daniels Tight Ends Coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Kefla Hare 2000 Actor, educator, motivational speaker; MTV Road Rules Down Under (season 6 cast member), Hip Hop Harry (Emmy nominated children series on TLC and Discovery Kids
Fred Wesley An American jazz and funk trombonist, best known for his work with James Brown in the 1960s and 1970s.
Clarence Carter 1960 American soul singer and musician. Best known for his hit "Strokin'" [10]
Jessie Tompkins 1998 a former nationally ranking American athlete in Track and Field and head coach for the East Montgomery Track Club, Tompkins was the first African America student to challenge the State of Alabama’s White-Only Race based scholarships. His story was featured in the Wall Street Journal and Aired on 60 Minutes with Morley Safer (vice versa). Double Reverse Scholarship program for whites becomes a test of preferences By June Kronholtz,The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 1997, [11]
CeCi Parker actress [12]

Additional reading

  • Bond, Horace Mann (1939 Reprint 1969). Negro Education i n Alabama: A Study in Cotton and Steel. New York: Octagon Books.  
  • Caver, Joseph (1982). A Twenty-Year History of Alabama State University, 1867-1887." Master's thesis. Alabama State University.  
  • Watkins, Levi (1987). Fighting Hard: The Alabama State University Experience. Detroit, Mich.: Harlo Press.  
  • Knight v. Alabama, 933 F.2D. 1991.  
  • United States v. Alabama, 828 F.2D 1532. 11th Cir.. 1987.  
  • Westhauser, Karl E.; Elaine M. Smith, and Jennifer A. Fremlin, eds (2005). Creating Community: Life and Learning at Montgomery's Black University. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.  


  1. ^ a b "Alabama State University". The Encyclopedia of Alabama. 2008-07-28.  
  2. ^ "Academic Offerings". Alabama State University. Retrieved 2009-10-21.  
  3. ^ "campus".  
  4. ^ "Bio of Stewart, Tonea". AEI Speakers Bureau. Retrieved 2009-07-18.  
  5. ^ "Alabama State Legislature: Alabama House of Representatives- Alvin Holmes". Alabama State Legislature. Retrieved 2009-07-18.  
  6. ^ "Tarvaris Jackson". Retrieved 2007-04-16.  
  7. ^ Scott Johnson. "Africa Miranda brings talents to ASU". Montgomery Advertiser]. Retrieved 2007-04-16.  
  8. ^ "MAN IN THE NEWS; A Calm Voice For Chicago: Eugene Sawyer Jr". New York Times. Retrieved 1987-12-03.  
  9. ^ "Woody McCorvey". Mississippi State University. Retrieved 2009-10-14.  
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links

Additional information


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