April 18, 1831
The University of Alabama opened as the state’s first public college with 4 faculty members and 94 students. The legislature established the school in 1820 and appointed a board of trustees, who selected the state’s capital, Tuscaloosa, as the university’s home. Designed by state architect William Nichols, the campus included 7 buildings: two faculty houses, two dormitories, the laboratory, the hotel (now Gorgas House), and the Rotunda. Slave labor sourced most of the materials for the buildings from university land, quarrying sandstone for bricks and cutting lumber from timber tracts. In 2016, the university boasted a total of 299 buildings and an enrollment of 37,665 students.