Auburn University (AU or Auburn) is a state university located in Auburn, Alabama, U.S. With more than 24,100 students and 1,200 faculty, it is one of the largest universities in the state. Auburn was chartered on February 1, 1856, as the East Alabama Male College, a private liberal arts school affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The college was donated to the state of Alabama in 1872, when it became the state's public land-grant university under the Morrill Act and was renamed the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. In 1892, the college became the first four-year coeducational school in the state. The college was renamed the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) in 1899. In 1960, its name was officially changed to Auburn University; it had been popularly known as "Auburn" for many years. Auburn is one of only 13 American universities designated as a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research center.
Auburn University was chartered by the Alabama Legislature as the East Alabama Male College on May 6, 1856, coming under the guidance of the Methodist Church in 1859. The first president of the institution was Reverend William J. Sasnett, and the school opened its doors in 1859 to a student body of eighty and a faculty of ten. The early history of Auburn is inextricably linked with the Civil War and the Reconstruction-era South. Classes were held in "Old Main" until the college was closed due to the Civil War, when most of the students and faculty left to enlist. The campus was used as a training ground for the Confederate Army, and "Old Main" served as a hospital for Confederate wounded.
To commemorate Auburn's contribution to the Civil War, a cannon lathe used for the manufacture of cannons for the Confederate Army and recovered from Selma, Alabama, was presented to Auburn in 1952 by brothers of Delta Chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. It sits today on the lawn next to Samford Hall.
Under the provisions of this act, land-grant institutions were also supposed to teach military tactics and train officers for the United States military. In the late 1800s, most students at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama were enrolled in the cadet program, learning military tactics and training to become future officers. Each county in the state was allowed to nominate two cadets to attend the college free of charge.
In 1892, two historic events occurred: women were first admitted to the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, and football was first played as a school sport. Eventually, football replaced polo as the main sport on campus. In 1899, the school name was again changed, this time to Alabama Polytechnic Institute.
On October 1, 1918, nearly all of Alabama Polytechnic Institute's able-bodied male students 18 or older voluntarily joined the United States Army for short-lived military careers on campus. The student-soldiers numbered 878, according to API President Charles Thach, and formed the academic section of the Student Army Training Corps. The vocational section was composed of enlisted men sent to Auburn for training in radio and mechanics. The students received honorable discharges two months later following the Armistice that ended World War I. API struggled through the great depression, having scrapped an extensive expansion program by then-President Bradford Knapp. Faculty salaries were cut drastically, and enrollment decreased along with state appropriations to the college.
During World War II, API again found its place training officers for the U.S. Military on campus; Auburn produced over 32,000 troops for the war effort. Following the end of World War II, API, like many colleges around the country, experienced a period of massive growth caused by returning soldiers taking advantage of their GI Bill offer of free education. In the five-year period following the end of the war, enrollment at API more than doubled.
Recognizing the school had moved beyond its agricultural and mechanical roots, it was granted university status by the Alabama Legislature in 1960 and officially renamed Auburn University, a name that better expressed the varied academic programs and expanded curriculum that the school had been offering for years. However, it had been popularly called "Auburn" for many years even before the official name change.
Like most universities in the American South, Auburn was racially segregated prior to 1963, with only white students being admitted. Compared to the images of George Wallace standing in the door of the University of Alabama, integration went smoothly at Auburn, with the first African-American student being admitted in 1964, and the first doctoral degree being granted to an African-American in 1967.
Today, Auburn has grown since its founding in 1856 to have the largest on-campus enrollment in the state of Alabama, with over 23,000 students and a faculty of almost 1,200 at the main campus in Auburn. Additionally, there are over 6,000 students at the Auburn University Montgomery satellite campus established in 1967.
Auburn has traditionally been rated highly by academic ranking services, and has been listed as one of the top 50 public universities for 15 consecutive years. According to 2008 edition of US News and World Report Best Colleges publication U.S. News & World Report, Auburn is 4th among public universities in the SEC (behind the University of Florida, University of Georgia, and University of Alabama). Auburn held the number one ranking in the state for 12 of the past 16 years, and was ranked below the University of Alabama in the 2006 and the 2008 edition, and tied with UA in the 2007 edition of US News and World Report Best Colleges publication. The university was ranked 96th in the USNews World Report 2009 list of top national universities. Auburn was the only college or university in Alabama included in the inaugural edition (1981) of the widely respected Peterson's Guides to America's 296 Most Competitive Colleges.
Auburn is a charter member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), which is currently composed of 11 of the largest Southern public universities in the US and one private university, Vanderbilt. Among the other 10 peer public universities, three are ranked ahead of Auburn by U.S. News & World Report. This high ranking and reputation for academic quality is in spite of the fact that Auburn's $378.6 million endowment is currently the second smallest of the 12 SEC universities. An attempt to increase the endowment by $500 million began in 2005 with the "It Begins at Auburn" campaign. As of August 2006, the campaign had raised $523 million dollars, making it the largest campaign in university history.
The university currently consists of thirteen schools and colleges. Programs in architecture, pharmacy, veterinary science, engineering, and business have been ranked among the best in the country.
The architecture profession’s publication Design Intelligence "2007 America's Best Architecture and Design Schools," ranked Auburn's architecture program sixth nationally, and a survey of the Deans of architecture schools ranked Auburn as the second most admired program, behind Harvard University. Design-Intelligence recently ranked Auburn's College of Architecture as the No. 1 school in the South for preparing its graduates for the professional field. In addition, the school was ranked No. 6 Nationally, with a 9th place National ranking for the Interior Architecture program. Auburn University's College of Architecture pioneered the joining of Architecture and Interior Design curriculum with the Nations first Interior Architecture Degree Program. The Dual Degree Architecture & Interior Architecture degree was the first in the nation as well. Auburn University's College of Architecture, Design, and Construction also pioneered the nations first Design Build Master's Degree program, hence capitalizing on The College of Architecture, Design and Construction's "Building Science" program with Auburn's "Rural Studio" program where Architectural students build highly creative and ingenuitive homes for some of the poorest regions of Alabama. These homes and efforts have been publicized by People Magazine, Time, featured on Oprah Winfrey, numerous Architectural and Construction periodicals as well. Of critical mention here is the School's Rural Studio program, founded by the late Samuel Mockbee.
The Ginn College of Engineering has a 134-year tradition of engineering education, consistently ranking in the nation's top 20 engineering programs in terms of numbers of engineers graduating annually. The college has a combined enrollment of close to 4,000. Auburn's College of Engineering offers majors in civil, mechanical, electrical, industrial, polymer and fiber engineering, aerospace, agricultural, biosystems, materials, chemical engineering, computer science, and software engineering, and--more recently--began a program in wireless engineering after receiving a donation from alumnus Samuel L. Ginn. In 2001, Ginn, a noted US pioneer in wireless communication, made a $25 million gift to the college and announced plans to spearhead an additional $150 million in support. This gave Auburn the first Bachelor of Wireless Engineering degree program in the United States. Auburn University was the first university in the Southeast to offer the bachelor of software engineering degree and the master of software engineering degree.
Auburn has historically placed much of its emphasis on the education of engineers at the undergraduate level, and in recent years has been ranked as high as the 10th largest undergraduate engineering program in the US in terms of the number of undergraduate degrees awarded on annual basis. The Ginn College of Engineering is now focused on growing the graduate programs, and recent rankings demonstrate the increasing profile of graduate engineering education at Auburn. The Ginn College of Engineering was recently ranked 60th nationally overall and 35th among public universities that offer doctoral programs in engineering by U.S. News and World Report. Last year, the College ranked 67th among all engineering programs and 40th among such programs at public universities. "America's Best Graduate Schools 2006" ranks the Ginn College of Engineering's graduate program in the Top 100 graduate engineering programs in the US. Auburn's Industrial and Systems Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering were all ranked in the top 100.
Auburn also boasts strong programs in veterinary medicine, mathematics, science, agriculture, and journalism. The university's core curriculum has likewise been recognized as one of the best in the nation.
Auburn's Economics Department, in the College of Business, was ranked 123rd in the world in 1999 by the Journal of Applied Econometrics. Auburn was rated ahead of such international powerhouses as INSEAD in France (141st) and the London Business School (146th). Auburn's MBA Program in the College of Business has annually been ranked by U.S. News and World Report magazine in the top ten percent of the nation's more than 750 MBA Programs.
Nationally recognized ROTC programs are available in three branches of service: Air Force, Army, and Navy/Marine Corps, the latter being the only one of its kind in Alabama. Each of these three ROTC units is ranked among the top ten in the nation. Over 100 officers that attended Auburn have reached flag rank (general or admiral), including one, Carl Epting Mundy Jr., who served as Commandant of the US Marine Corps. Auburn is one of only seven universities in the Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program, and has historically been one of the top ROTC producers of Navy nuclear submarine officers.
In addition to the many outstanding ROTC graduates commissioned through Auburn, two masters degree alumni from Auburn, four-star generals Hugh Shelton and Richard Myers, served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the last decade. Both officers received their commissions elsewhere, and attended Auburn for an M.S. (Shelton) and M.B.A. (Myers).
Auburn has graduated six astronauts (including T.K. Mattingly of Apollo 13 fame) and one current and one former director of the Kennedy Space Center. 1972 Auburn Aerospace Engineering graduate Jim Kennedy, currently director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, was previously deputy director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Several hundred Auburn graduates, primarily engineers and scientists, currently work directly for NASA or NASA contractors. Hundreds of Auburn engineers worked for NASA at MSFC during the peak years of the "space race" in the 1960s, when the Saturn and Apollo moon programs were in full development.
Auburn University owns and operates the Auburn-Opelika Robert G. Pitts Airport, providing flight education and fuel, maintenance, and airplane storage. The Auburn University Aviation Department is fully certified by the FAA as an Air Agency with examining authority for private, commercial, instrument, and multiengine courses. The College of Business's Department of Aviation Management and Supply Chain Management is the only program in the country to hold dual accreditation by both the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). Created over 65 years ago, Auburn's flight program is also the second oldest university flight program in the United States.
Auburn University has been recognized as having some of the best agriculture, fisheries, and poultry science programs in the South. The Old Rotation on campus is the oldest continuous agricultural experiment in the Southeast, and third oldest in the United States, dating from 1896. In addition, the work of Dr. David Bransby on the use of switchgrass as a biofuel was the source of its mention in the 2006 State of the Union Address. Modern Healthcare ranked Auburn University’s Physicians Executive M.B.A. (PEMBA) program in the College of Business ninth in the nation among all degree programs for physician executives, according to the Journal’s May 2006 issue. Among M.B.A. programs tailored specifically for physicians, AU’s program is ranked second.
Several erratic build spurts from the 1950s on have resulted in some exceptions to the subject clusters as described above. Growing interaction issues between pedestrians and vehicles led to the closure of a significant portion of Thach Avenue to vehicular traffic in 2004. A similarly sized portion of Roosevelt Drive was also closed to vehicles in 2005. In an effort to make a more appealing walkway, these two sections have be converted from asphalt to concrete. The general movement towards a pedestrian only campus is ongoing, but is often limited by the requirements for emergency and maintenance vehicular access.
The current period of ongoing construction began around the year 2000. All recently constructed buildings have used a more traditional architectural style that is similar to the style of Samford Hall, Mary Martin Hall, and the Quad dorms. The Science Center complex was completed in 2005. This complex contains chemistry labs, traditional classrooms, and a large lecture hall. A new medical clinic opened behind the Hill dorm area. Taking the place of the old medical clinic and a few other older buildings, is the Shelby Center for Engineering Technology. Phase I of the Shelby Center opened in the Spring of 2008, with regular classes being held starting with the Summer 2008 term. A new Student Center opened in 2008.
Auburn's first dorms were hardly luxurious. Magnolia Dormitory, built in the 1950s and demolished in 1987, was once used by the state of Alabama in its defense against a lawsuit brought by state prison inmates. The inmates claimed that housing two men in a cell of particularly small dimensions constituted 'cruel and unusual punishment.' The state argued in court that students at Auburn actually paid to live in even smaller living spaces—at Magnolia Dorm. The inmates lost the case. Its "twin", Noble Hall, used as a women's residence, was demolished only in 2005 and was condemned during at least the final year in which it was inhabited.
In the last twenty years, the city of Auburn has experienced a rapid growth in the number of apartment complexes constructed. Most Auburn students today live off-campus in the apartment complexes and condos, which surround the immediate area around the university. Less than 25 percent of Auburn students live on campus.
Auburn's on-campus student housing consists of four complexes located at various locations over campus -- "The Quad", "The Village", "The Hill", and "The Extension". "The Quad" is the oldest of the four, dating to the Great Depression projects begun by the Works Progress Administration and located in Central Campus. Made up of eleven buildings, the Quad houses undergraduate students. Nine of the buildings are coed by floor, the remaining two are female-only.
"The Hill" is made up of 14 buildings and is located in South Campus. The Hill houses mostly undergraduate women with the exception of the two high-rise dormitories (Boyd and Sasnett), which are coed by floor. All of the Hill dormitories house at least one sorority with their chapter rooms in the basement.
"The Extension" is a block of six buildings (labeled A, B, C, D, E, and F), each consisting of two-bedroom apartments, housing undergraduates.
"The Village," formerly known as married student housing, recently housed a variety of students, to include undergraduates, graduates, and married students. In May 2006, this housing complex was closed to students and was demolished during the summer and early fall of 2006; however, it will be rebuilt in 8, 4-story buildings to accommodate 1,700 residents. The new Village is scheduled for completion in 2009.
Male Greeks in Auburn are roughly divided into two separate areas: Old Row and New Row. "Old Row" traditionally was made up of the fraternities whose houses were located along Magnolia Avenue on the north side of campus. "New Row" is made up of fraternities whose houses were located along Lem Morrison Drive southwest of campus. However, being an "Old Row" or "New Row" fraternity doesn't really depend on where the house is located but on the age of the fraternity. Therefore, there are some "Old Row" fraternities with houses on "New Row" Lem Morrison Drive because they moved there. Today's "Old Row" on and around Magnolia Avenue was once the "New Row," as the first generation of fraternity houses at Auburn were on or near College Street. Most of these houses were demolished by the end of the 1970s, and only two fraternity houses remain on College today.
There are sixteen sororities represented at Auburn University. Sorority recruitment is a week-long process held by the Panhellenic Council in August every year. Sororities are located not in individual houses like Auburn fraternities, but in the designated dorms located on the Hill. This has had the unintended side effect of keeping dues for these sororities among the lowest in the nation. Each dorm has a sorority "chapter" room within it for the sorority designated to that dorm.
Auburn University's sports teams are known as the Tigers, and they participate in Division I-A of the NCAA and in the Western Division of the 12-member Southeastern Conference (SEC). Auburn routinely fields nationally competitive teams in football, men's and women's swimming and diving, baseball, women's basketball, and women's golf. Auburn's colors of burnt orange and navy blue were chosen by Dr. George Petrie, Auburn's first football coach, based on those of his alma mater, the University of Virginia.
Auburn claims a share of the 1957 national title. In 1957, Auburn was coached by "Shug" Jordan to a 10-0 record and was awarded the AP National Championship. Auburn's 1913, 1914, 1958, 1983, 1993, and 2004 teams have also been recognized as national champions by various ranking organizations.
Two Auburn players, Pat Sullivan in 1971 and Bo Jackson in 1985, have won the Heisman Trophy. The Trophy's namesake, John Heisman, coached at Auburn from 1895 until 1899. Auburn is the only school where Heisman coached (among others, Georgia Tech and Clemson) that has produced a Heisman Trophy winner. Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium has a capacity of 87,451 ranking as the ninth-largest on-campus stadium in the NCAA as of September 2006.
Auburn played its first game in 1892 against the University of Georgia at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia starting what is currently the oldest college football rivalry in the Deep South. The Tigers' first bowl appearance was in 1937 in the sixth Bacardi Bowl played in Havana, Cuba. As of 2005, AU football has won six SEC Conference Championships, and since the division of the conference in 1992, six western division championships and three trips to the SEC Championship game. Auburn plays archrival Alabama each year in a game known as the Iron Bowl.
Auburn went 11-0 under Terry Bowden in 1993, but was on probation and not allowed to play in the SEC Championship game. Auburn completed the 2004 football season with a 13–0 record winning the SEC championship, the school's first conference title since 1989 and the first outright title since 1987. However, the Tigers were left out of the BCS championship game in deference to two other undefeated, higher ranked teams, USC and Oklahoma.
The 2004 team was led by quarterback Jason Campbell, running backs Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, and cornerback Carlos Rogers, all subsequently drafted in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft. The team gained a new offensive coordinator, Al Borges, who led the team to use the west coast style offense which maximized the use of both star running backs.
Since 1996, the team has been headed by Coach Kim Evans, a 1981 alumna, who has turned the program into one of the most competitive in the nation. Coach Evans has helped develop All-Americans, SEC Players of the Year as well as three SEC Freshman of the Year. She has led the Tigers to eight-straight NCAA appearances. She is by far the winningest Coach in Auburn Golf History, having over 1100 wins and winning five of Auburn's six total SEC Titles. Evans was named National Coach of the Year in 2003 and has coached 8 individual All-Americans while at Auburn.
Auburn's men's team finished second at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Championships and at the 1978, 1997 and 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships. The women's team finished 14th (2002, 2003) at the Outdoor Championships and seventh (2003) at the Indoor Championships.