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Auburn University

Auburn Tradition

Auburn Tradition | Auburn University

Auburn University has developed into one of the largest universities in the South, remaining in the educational forefront with its traditional blend of arts and applied science, and changing with the needs of today while living with a respect for the traditions and spirit that are Auburn.

Auburn was established in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College, 20 years after the city of Auburn's founding. In 1872, under the Morrill Act, the school became the first land-grant college in the South and was renamed the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. In 1899 the name again was changed, to the Alabama Polytechnic Institute. Finally, in 1960 the name of the school was changed to Auburn University, a title more in keeping with its location, and expressing the varied academic programs and larger curriculum of a major university.

Auburn University today is a comprehensive land, sea and space grant institution -- among the few that hold that distinction -- helping fulfill the dreams of more than 25,000 students. | AU History | Future Students | Alumni

Auburn's beautiful main campus -- graced by greenery and open spaces and highlighted by historic Samford Park -- is made up of 90 major academic buildings spread across 1,843 acres. Buildings in the main campus area are within walking distance of each other. Residence halls are only a short walk from classrooms, dining and athletics facilities. Auburn is located in the southeastern United States in east-central Alabama about 30 miles from the Georgia border.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Auburn among the top 50 public universities nationwide for 20 consecutive years. Princeton Review's "The Best 377 Colleges: 2013 Edition" ranked Auburn 9th for best quality of life.

Auburn invests in extensive national assessments to obtain quality, data-driven information for measuring and continually improving instruction and student preparation. Results from the Collegiate Learning Assessment show significant gains in the intellectual skills of Auburn students -- more than 100 points on SAT-equivalent tests -- from their freshman to senior years.

Auburn provides a $4.85 billion economic contribution to the state of Alabama, including a $1.7 billion impact on the economy -- a 7 to 1 return on the state's appropriation to Auburn -- and a $3.15 billion impact in "human capital."

Auburn's research expertise continues to be aligned with long-term national priorities in: cyber systems; energy and environment; health sciences and food systems; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and transportation. Auburn is the primary source of instruction and research for Alabama's aerospace, automotive, microelectronics, biotech, and wireless technology industries.

More than 95 percent of our alumni say that if they could start college over again, they would choose Auburn.

Auburn's Draughon Library is the largest library in the state. The Auburn University Libraries contains 3.2 million volumes and subscribes to 19,000 journals and 256 electronic databases. It also serves as an instructional resource for faculty and houses a new Learning Commons for students and one of two locations for the new Miller Writing Center.

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The university began as East Alabama Male College, which was chartered in 1856 and opened its doors in 1859 as a private liberal arts institution.

From 1861 to 1866 the college was closed because of the Civil War. The college had begun an affiliation with the Methodist Church before the war. Due to dire financial straits, the church transferred legal control of the institution to the state in 1872, making it the first land-grant college in the South to be established separate from the state university. It thus became the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama.

A land-grant college or university is an institution that has been designated by its state legislature or Congress to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. The original mission of these institutions, as set forth in the first Morrill Act, was to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanical arts as well as classical studies so that members of the working classes could obtain a liberal, practical education.

Women were admitted in 1892, making Auburn the oldest four-year, coeducational school in the state and the second-oldest in the Southeast.

In 1899, the name was again changed to the Alabama Polytechnic Institute. In 1960, the school officially acquired the name it has long been called and one more in keeping with its location, size, and mission -- Auburn University. The institution has experienced its greatest growth since World War II, and now has more than 250,000 graduates.

Auburn University at Montgomery was established as a separately accredited campus in 1967. The institution has developed rapidly, especially since moving to a 500-acre campus east of Montgomery in 1971. Current enrollment at AUM is about 5,200.

Chartered in 1856, Auburn University opened in 1859 and became affiliated with the Methodist Church.

Throughout the years, the institution has had four official names:

  • Auburn University (1960-present)
  • Alabama Polytechnic Institute (1899-1960)
  • Agricultural and Mechanical College (1872-99)
  • East Alabama Male College (1856-72)
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