Year of the UNA Woman

During 2021-2022, the University of North Alabama observed the sesquicentennial of the admittance of women to the institution, the first in the southeast to do so. Through events, stories, and celebrations, we marked this significant milestone in our campus history.

A special version of the UNA logo featuring our beloved Una was created for use during the Year of the UNA Woman.


150 Years of Progress

In 1872, the State Normal School at Florence, now the University of North Alabama, opened its doors to women – making Alabama’s oldest four-year university the first state-supported co-educational institution south of the Ohio River and the oldest co-educational teacher’s college in the USA.

One hundred and fifty years later, we proudly observe this sesquicentennial. We welcome to our historic campus courageous women who are trailblazers, tireless advocates, unparalleled champions, and the next generation of leaders who through inspirational stories, events, and celebrations, will mark this milestone in our campus history and help us chart a path of progressive innovation for the next one hundred and fifty years.

UNA Magazine

  • Calendar of Events

  • JUNE 2021: Launch of the Year of the UNA Woman with the publication of the UNA Magazine and the hanging of the banners on campus at Collier Library.
  • JULY 2021: UNA Night at the W.C. Handy Music Festival was July 27 from 7-9 p.m. at the North Court Median in downtown Florence.
  • AUGUST 2021: Welcome back, students, with some Welcome Week activities sponsored by the Center for Women’s Studies. Fall Convocation. Women’s Equality Day is Aug. 26, and the Center for Women’s Studies will sponsor a Voter Registration drive.
  • September 8, 2021 | 5:30 pm: Women of Action: Gabriela Snell (co-sponsored by Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion, Community Service & Outreach, Center for Women's Studies) The George Lindsey Film Festival is back! Enjoy some independent films made by women. The Center for Women’s Studies had White Ribbon Days.
  • September 24, 2021: - I2E2 Conference sponsored by SOTA at the Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion- GUC
  • OCTOBER 2021: Alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and students are invited to campus for Homecoming on Oct. 16. Enjoy a special half-time show featuring all women composers, and all of the alumni award winners to be honored will be women. The Center for Women’s Studies will have Purple Ribbon Days and a celebration of the International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11. The Center will also have the Clothesline Project.
  • October 13, 2021 | 5:30 pm: Women of Action: Randa Hovater (co-sponsored by Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion, Community Service & Outreach, Center for Women's Studies)
  • October 19, 2021 | 11am-12:15pm in the GUC Loft: The Lynne Burris Butler Visiting Poet Series presents a reading and creative writing workshop from Jenifer Park, author of Autobiography of Horse, winner of the Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize.
  • October 21-26, 2021 - "Men on Boats " sponsored by the Department of Cinematic Arts and Theatre - Lindsey Theatre.
  • October 22, 2021 | 10am in the McKinney Center: Women's Entrepreneurship Week Event in the Demo Kitchen will feature speaker Ashley Morrow and time for networking.
  • NOVEMBER 2021: The Center for Women’s Studies will have a Student Chapter of AAUW Meeting and a Women’s and Gender Studies Association Meeting.
  • November 9, 2021 | 6pm-7pm, virtual: A reading and conversation with Ashley M. Jones, the inaugural Writers’ Series/One Book Virtual Writer-in-Residence and the 2022-2026 Poet Laureate of the State of Alabama.
  • November 10, 2021 | 5:30 pm: Women of Action: Trinda Owens (co-sponsored by Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion, Community Service & Outreach, Center for Women's Studies)
  • DECEMBER 2021: Fall Commencement.
  • January 11, 2022 | 3:00 pm: Unveiling new Year of the UNA Woman mural at Collier Library to celebrate Founder's Day
  • March 8, 2022 | 11am-12:15 in the GUC Performance Center: The Writers’ Series presents a reading and conversation with award-winning and New York Times best-selling author Maria Dahvana Headley, whose recent publications include Beowulf: A New Translation and The Mere Wife, a contemporary adaptation of Beowulf.

UNA Women's History Timeline

  • LaGrange College was founded in Franklin County, Alabama

    LaGrange College

  • Nicholas and Caroline Hentz opened and operated Locust Dell Academy near the current site of Willingham Hall
  • The Florence Synodical Female College absorbed Locust Dell Academy
  • University became the first state teachers college south of the Ohio River
  • First female instructors started teaching at Florence Normal School; 31 female students attended school
  • First graduating class, 3 of 4 students were women
  • O’Neal Hall, named for former Alabama governor and alumnus, opened as the first women’s dormitory

    O'Neal Hall

  • First woman editor of the Flor-Ala, Martha Spain Gaskins
  • Willingham Hall constructed by Works Projects Administration in 1939 as a women’s dormitory.

    Willingham Hall

  • The first “Daisy Mae” majorettes for the university’s band were Edith Ann Davis, Bobbi McKee, Dorothy Ann Pitts, Kathryn Gibson Sandlin, and Cris Young
  • Lady Lions’ basketball program began as a part of an extramural program in the Physical Education Department (known as Florence State University at this time)
  • UNA Lady Lions’ volleyball program began much like the basketball program did
  • Mary Ella Potts becomes President pro tempore of the UNA board of Trustees, the first woman to serve in this capacity

    Mary Ella Potts

  • Basketball team entered the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) with Susan Phillips as head coach (coached from 1975-1977)
  • Lillian Goodlow became first female athletic scholarship recipient
  • First fast-pitch softball team won the GSC championship with a 16-10 season

    Fast Pitch Softball

  • Kristy Holdbrooks from UNA was named an All-American softball player
  • Basketball team reaches the Final Four in NCAA II tournament

    Basketball team reaches the Final Four in NCAA II tournament

  • Lady Lions’ soccer team began as a club sport and moved quickly into the Gulf South Conference (GSC) in 1997
  • Ronda Price from UNA became an All-American volleyball player, and she was an Academic All-American honors
  • Lady Lions Volleyball wins 2 national championships back-to-back years

    Lady Lions Volleyball wins 2 national championships back-to-back years

  • Softball team wins national championship

    Ashley Cozart brought softball team to its 1st national title game and won it.

Year of the UNA Woman

  • Sponsors

  • Office of the President
  • Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • College of Business
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Education and Human Sciences
  • Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions
  • Athletics
  • Student Affairs
  • Advancement

Task Force

Amber Fite-Morgan
Barbie Terry
Bishop Alexander
Catherine White
Cynthia Burkhead
Ellen McDonald / Aliyah McCary
Erin Gillespie
Jana Beaver
Jeffrey Bibbee
Jocelyn Barnes
Julie Taylor
Lee Renfroe
Lilia Alexander
Lynne Rieff
Mary Leigh Gillespie
Megan Dye
Melissa DeFoor
Michelle Eubanks
Tosha-Paige Whitten
Volodymyr Chumachenko