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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.