UNA Facts

Who are we? (And who were we?)


The University of North Alabama may have had nine names since 1830, but our reputation as an institution of higher education has been consistently excellent.


LaGrange College – 1830

Florence Wesleyan University – 1855

State Normal School at Florence – 1872

State Normal College – 1889

State Normal School – 1913

Florence State Teachers College – 1929

Florence State College – 1957

Florence State University – 1968

University of North Alabama - 1974


At the helm


Nineteen gentlemen have served as President of the University (one of them twice!)


The Reverend Mr. Robert Paine (1830 – 1846)

Dr. Edward Wadsworth (1846 – 1852)

Dr. James Ward Hardy (1852 – 1853)

Dr. Smith W. Moore (acting, 1853 – 1854)

Dr. Richard Henderson Rivers (1854 – 1861)

Dr. Robert A. Young (1862 – 1865)

Dr. William Henry Anderson (1868 – 1871)

Dr. Septimus Primus Rice (1873 – 1881)

Dr. Hardie A. Brown (1881 – 1885)

Dr. James Abram Heard (1885 – 1886)

Dr. James Knox Powers (1887 – 1897)

Mr. Marshall Clark Wilson (1897 – 1911)

Dr. James Knox Powers (1911 – 1913)

Dr. Henry J. Willingham (1913 – 1937)

Dr. James Albert Keller (1937 – 1948)

Dr. Ethelbert Brinkley Norton (1948 – 1972)

Dr. Robert Miller Guillot (1972 – 1989)

Mr. Robert L. Potts (1990 – 2004)

Dr. William G. Cale, Jr. (2005 – 2014)

Dr. Kenneth D. Kitts (2015 – present)


Where did we start? Where are we going?


The original site of LaGrange College (the first state-chartered school in Alabama) was LaGrange Mountain in Leighton, Colbert County. Tuition in 1830 was $10 per session, and the college opened with 70 students and three faculty members. The main building had dormitory rooms, a chapel, the president’s office, and two lecture halls.


In 1855 the college moved to its current main campus in Florence, at least upon the completion of Wesleyan Hall in 1856. (Classes were held briefly in the Masonic Hall downtown until Wesleyan was ready.) LaGrange College in Florence became Florence Wesleyan University.


Since 1855, many buildings have been added and additional spaces have been acquired including off campus sites such as the East Campus (located at 1640 Tune Avenue, the former Powell Elementary School); the Human Sciences, Hospitality, and Design Building (formerly the Keystone Building in downtown Florence), home of the Connie D. McKinney Department of Human Sciences, Hospitality, and Design; the Generator (at 204 East Tuscaloosa Street), home of the College of Business’s student innovation incubator; and the Entertainment Industry Center (at 122 West Tombigbee).


On the main campus, the Science and Technology Building opened in 2015, and Laura M. Harrison Hall opened in 2021, which houses the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions.


The University offers more than 140 majors and serves more than 7,000 students each semester.



The Big Cats


Leo III, is the only live lion mascot living on a campus in the country. His sister Una lived on campus with him from 2003 until 2020, (Una’s name is pronounced “yoo-nah.”), in the George H. Carroll Lion Habitat, a 12,764-square-foot facility. They were born November 18, 2002, but their birthday is traditionally celebrated in April, to commemorate the birthday of the original lion mascot Leo I.


Leos I and II (an African and an Asian lion, respectively) were on campus from 1974 to 1988 (Leo I) and from 1988 to 2000 (Leo II).


Traditionally speaking


The Victory Flame, located in the Victory Garden between 601 Cramer Way and the Memorial Amphitheatre, is lit following every Lion victory or other significant event at the University.


School colors are purple and gold.


Pride Rock, which stands behind the north end zone of all UNA home games, is touched by football players are they file past on their way to the field. The 60-pound engraved granite stone has a paw print of Leo II.


Spirit Hill is the site of pregame tailgating in an area adjacent to Braly Municipal Stadium. The Lion Walk is a pregame parade down Royal Avenue next to Spirit Hill held before every home game and includes athletes, cheerleaders, and the Marching Pride of North Alabama Marching Band.


Sing Along!


The Alma Mater was written by Bess Mary Crider, an alumna who was a member of the English faculty from 1927 to 1930. The tune is a traditional

melody used by many schools and universities (known as either “Far Above Cayuga’s Waters” or “Annie Lisle”).


In the sunny heart of Dixie,
On the Tennessee,
Stands the school we owe all honor,
Love and loyalty.

Happy days within thy portals
Bless our memory;
Friendships dear and truths immortal,
We have found in thee.

Through the future generations
Honored by thy name;
May thy sons and daughters bring thee
Everlasting fame.

Alma Mater, Alma Mater;
Bring we homage due;
Pledge we here our heart’s devotion
To our colors true


The UNA Fight Song was published in the 1960s and band members in the late 1970s chose the lyrics.


Go, Fight for U-N-A

We are behind you all the way

Go! Fight! Win Old U-N-A

The Purple and Gold is here to stay

We’ll roar on to victory

We’ll send that team back on their way

Go! Fight! U-N-A

We are behind you all the way




Go! Fight! U-N-A

Go! Fight! U-N-A

Go! Fight! U-N-A

Go! Fight! Lions!


For more information about the University, see https://www.una.edu/about/index.html.