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University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is a coeducational university located in Florence, Alabama, and the state's oldest four-year public university.



1 Harrison Plaza
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Mission Statement
Leo Iii, Una
Purple Gold
Gulf South

College History


The University of North Alabama first opened its doors as LaGrange College on January 11, 1830, in a mountain hamlet a few miles south of Leighton in northeast Franklin County, Alabama. LaGrange means "The Barn" in French. Twenty-one local college trustees were listed in Acts of Alabama, Eleventh Annual Session. The monument marking the site of LaGrange College. Today only a nine-ton stone monument silently guards the ghosts of the once bustling little town of LaGrange and its vibrant college, both of which were sacked and burned by Union troops in 1863. But by then, however, the college, as such, had moved north across the Tennessee River to Florence. The section of Franklin County containing LaGrange Mountain is now Colbert County. LaGrange College, which became Florence Wesleyan University in 1855, is now the University of North Alabama. LaGrange College arose from the idea offered at a November 28, 1826 meeting of the Tennessee Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church to establish a college which would not be "religious or theological." By January 1829, the selection of Lawrence Hill on LaGrange Mountain was made for the site of the school. A year later, LaGrange College opened to students of all denominations in two three-story brick buildings. The Kilby Laboratory School was constructed in 1922 and named in honor of then-Alabama Governor Thomas K. Kilby. The building still functions as a lecture hall. UNA has the only university-owned and operated elementary laboratory school. The Rev. Robert Paine was the first president. The North Carolina native was also the professor of moral science and belles lettres and taught geography and mineralogy. He was assisted by two other professors. The first board of trustees had a total of 50 members, including two Native Americans, a Choctaw politician and a Cherokee leader. In 1830, Turner Saunders, a native of Virginia, was the first President of the Board of Trustees. Saunders' mansion c1826 still stands in Lawrence County. Among the many distant trustees was John Coffee of Florence, friend of Andrew Jackson. Among the local trustees was Henry Stuart Foote of Tuscumbia, who would move to Mississippi and defeat Jefferson Davis in the 1850 Governor's race. J.D. Malone, of Limestone County, was the first graduate in 1833. In 1850, a grammar school was added to LaGrange College. (Today, UNA has the only university-owned and operated elementary laboratory school - Kilby Professional Laboratory School - in Alabama.) In 1858 the death of the school's president and the loss of most of its students to nearby Florence, the college was suspended and re-established as the LaGrange College and Military Academy, with James W. Robertson as superintendent. Under its new name, additional buildings were constructed and the school reached its highest prosperity. the state of Alabama made provision for two cadets from each county to be enrolled, and by 1861 47 of its 171 students were state cadets. The school suffered a loss of enrollment again when Alabama seceded, and in March 1862 Robertson received approval from the Alabama governor to enroll the 35th Alabama Infantry from faculty, cadets, and enlistees from surrounding counties. On April 28, 1863, the buildings were destroyed by Union soldiers of the 10th Missouri Cavalry, including a library of 4,000 volumes. Among LaGrange's alumni were several generals, Alabama governors Edward A. O'Neal and David P. Lewis, Alabama Supreme Court justice William M. Byrd and U.S. Senator Jeremiah Clemens, who wrote the first American Civil War novel and the first western novel.

College Specialty


As a regional, state-assisted institution of higher education, the University of North Alabama pursues its Mission of engaging in teaching, research, and service in order to provide educational opportunities for students, an environment for discovery and creative accomplishment, and a variety of outreach activities meeting the professional, civic, social, cultural, and economic development needs of our region in the context of a global community.



Urban, 130 Acres (0.526 Km�)