The University of Montevallo is one of Alabama's most cherished institutions. For more than a century it has served the state in a distinctive and distinguished role. For decades it was known as Alabama College, evolving from its founding in 1896 as a statewide educational institution for women into Alabama's coeducational public liberal arts university. The University has developed from its beginning as a girls' school with a curriculum covering high school subjects, special work in commercial courses, normal training, music and domestic arts to a university granting undergraduate and graduate degrees. Degree offerings include bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of business administration and bachelor of fine arts; and graduate degrees of master of arts, master of science, master of education, educational specialist and Class AA certification.
The University's mission, unique in higher education in Alabama, is "to provide to students from throughout the state an affordable, geographically accessible, 'small college' public higher educational experience of high quality, with a strong emphasis on undergraduate liberal studies and with professional programs supported by a broad base of arts and sciences, designed for their intellectual and personal growth in the pursuit of meaningful employment and responsible, informed citizenship. "Affirmed by the Board of Trustees in 1978 and again in 1989, the mission statement is incorporated into state statutes.