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Traditions & University Events

Founders' Day

Each year, on the second Thursday of October, the establishment of the University is celebrated on campus at Founders’ Day convocation.

Originally founded on Oct. 12, 1896, as the Alabama Girls’ Industrial School, UM has developed over the course of a century into the state’s premier public liberal arts institution.

The annual ceremony begins at 11 a.m. with UM faculty, clad in their processional regalia, leading graduating seniors into Palmer Hall. For seniors, Founders’ Day marks their first opportunity to officially don their black graduation robes with the Investiture of the Senior Class.

Investiture of the Senior Class

Each year, the seniors march across Main Quad into the ceremony in Palmer Auditorium with graduation gowns in hand. Toward the end of the Founders’ Day convocation, the senior students rise as one and slip on their robes while family, friends, alumni, faculty and staff applaud in approval. This symbolizes the achievements each student has made in their academic endeavors to reach the point of graduation.

2019 Founders’ Day

Join the University on Oct. 10 for the celebration of 123 years as an institution of higher learning and 50 years since the name change from Alabama College to the University of Montevallo. The theme, “A great institution is born of its time” was inspired by the preface of Alabama College, 1896-1969 written by Lucille Griffith:

“A great institution is born of its time. There must be a need, a demand, that brings it forth. If that institution lasts, it must change with the times; otherwise, a changing society moves on and the institution is left to wither away, unnecessary, unwanted, unsupported. Adaptation becomes the key to life and growth.”

For the 2019 Founders’ Day, we pay tribute to the many changes the University has seen and continues to see. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. when the University faculty and senior class march into Palmer Auditorium. The convocation will include a celebration of the founding of UM, the robing of the seniors and the honoring of outstanding faculty, staff and alumni.

Educator, Dr. Lonnie Edwards Sr. will deliver the keynote address. Edwards is one of the most important figures in UM athletic history. In a time when segregation was still visible on college campuses, Edwards joined Hansell Gunn as one of the first two African American athletes at the University.

Following the ceremony, lunch will be served in Anna Irvin Dining Hall. All participants, guests and family members are invited. The Founders’ Day Committee will also have a special gift for attendees at the dining hall as a memento of the University’s 123rd year.