Auburn University (AU or Auburn) is a public university located in Auburn, Alabama, United States. With more than 20,000 undergraduate students, and a total of over 25,000 students and 1,200 faculty members, it is one of the largest universities in the state.
Auburn University was chartered on February 7, 1856, as the East Alabama Male College, a private liberal arts school affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1872, the college became the state’s first public land-grant university under the Morrill Act and was renamed the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. In 1892, the college became the first four-year coeducational school in the state. The curriculum at the university originally focused on arts and agriculture. This trend changed under the guidance of Dr. William Leroy Broun, who taught classics and sciences and believed both disciplines were important in the overall growth of the university and the individual. The college was renamed the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) in 1899, largely because of Dr. Broun’s influence. The college continued expanding, and in 1960 its name was officially changed to Auburn University to acknowledge the varied academic programs and larger curriculum of a major university. It had been popularly known as “Auburn” for many years. In 1964, under Federal Court mandate AU admitted its first African American student. Auburn University is among the few American universities designated as a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research center.
Auburn University’s initial Campus Master plan was designed byFrederick Law Olmsted. For most of the early history of Auburn, boarding houses and barracks made up most of the student housing. Even into the 1970s, boarding houses were still available in the community. It wasn’t until the Great Depression that Auburn began to construct the first buildings on campus that were residence halls in the modern sense. As the university gradually shifted away from agricultural and military instruction to more of an academic institution, more and more dorms began to replace the barracks and boarding houses.
Auburn University’s first dorms were hardly luxurious. Magnolia Dormitory, built in the 1950s and demolished in 1987, was once used by the State of Alabama in its defense against a lawsuit brought by state prison inmates. The inmates claimed that housing two men in a cell of particularly small dimensions constituted “cruel and unusual punishment.” The state argued in court that students at Auburn actually paid to live in even smaller living spaces — at Magnolia Dorm. The inmates lost the case. Similarly constructed Noble Hall, Magnolia Dorm’s twin building inhabited exclusively by women, was condemned during its final year of habitation and demolished in 2005.
In the 1980s, the City of Auburn began to experience rapid growth in the number of apartment complexes constructed. Most Auburn University students today live off-campus in the apartment complexes and condos, which surround the immediate area around the university. Only 19 percent of all undergraduate students at Auburn live on campus.
Auburn University’s on-campus student housing consists of four complexes located at various locations over campus – The Quad, The Hill, The Village, and South Donahue.
- The Quad is the oldest of the four housing complexes, dating to the Great Depression projects begun by the Works Progress Administration and located in Central Campus. Comprising ten buildings split into the Upper and Lower Quads, the Quad houses undergraduate students. Eight of the buildings are coed by floor, the remaining two are female-only. The Upper Quad comprises four Honors College dorms.
- The Hill consists of 12 buildings and is located in South Campus. The Hill houses mostly undergraduates. There are two high-rise, 6-story dormitories (Boyd and Sasnett), and all dorms are coed (but have gender-separated floors) with the exception of Leischuck and Hall M, which are female only. All of the Hill dormitories were previously used to house sororities until 2009. The sororities are now housed in the newer Village complex.
- The Village was constructed in 2009 and includes eight 4-story buildings to accommodate 1,700 residents. This complex houses undergraduates and sororities.
- South Donahue opened in 2013 and is a single residence hall located on the corner of South Donahue and West Samford, right next to the baseball stadium. These are luxury suites consisting of two bedrooms with a shared common area. Each bedroom has a double-sized bed, and each suite comes fit with a mounted flat-screen TV and its own washer and dryer units.
Greek associated students make up roughly 24 percent of undergraduate men and 34 percent of women at Auburn University.
Male Greeks in Auburn University are roughly divided into two separate areas: “Old Row” and “New Row”. “Old Row” traditionally was made up of the fraternities whose houses were located along Magnolia Avenue on the north side of campus. “New Row” is made up of fraternities whose houses were located along Lem Morrison Drive southwest of campus. However, being an “Old Row” or “New Row” fraternity does not really depend on where the house is located but on the age of the fraternity. Therefore, there are some “Old Row” fraternities with houses on “New Row” Lem Morrison Drive because they moved there. Today’s “Old Row” on and around Magnolia Avenue was once the “New Row”, as the first generation of fraternity houses at Auburn were on or near College Street. Most of these houses were demolished by the end of the 1970s, and only the Phi Gamma Delta and Chi Phi fraternities remain. Some fraternities are not located on either “New Row” or “Old Row”.
There are seventeen social sororities represented at Auburn University. Sorority recruitment is a week-long process held by the Panhellenic Council in August every year. Sororities are located not in individual houses like Auburn University fraternities, but in the designated dorms located in The Village. This has the unintended side effect of keeping dues for these sororities among the lowest in the nation. Each dorm has a sorority “chapter” room within it for the sorority designated to that dorm.
Auburn University’s sports teams are known as the Tigers, and they participate in Division I-A of the NCAA and in the Western Division of the 14-member Southeastern Conference (SEC). War Eagle is the battle cry and greeting used by the Auburn University Family (students, alumni, and fans). Auburn University has won a total of 19 intercollegiate national championships (including 17 NCAA Championships), which includes 2 football (1957, 2010), 8 men’s swimming and diving (1997, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009), 5 women’s swimming and diving (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007), 2 equestrian (2008, 2011), and 1women’s outdoor track and field (2006) titles. Auburn University has also won a total of 70 Southeastern Conference championships, including 51 men’s titles and 19 women’s titles. Auburn’s colors of burnt orange and navy blue were chosen by Dr. George Petrie, Auburn’s first football coach, based on those of his alma mater, the University of Virginia.
Auburn University named Gus Malzahn as the new football head coach on December 4, 2012. Other past coaches include Gene Chizik,George Petrie, John Heisman, Mike Donahue, Jack Meagher, Ralph “Shug” Jordan, Pat Dye, Terry Bowden and Tommy Tuberville.
Auburn played its first game in 1892 against the University of Georgia at Piedmont Park in Atlanta starting what is currently the oldest college football rivalry in the Deep South. Auburn’s first perfect season came in 1913, when the Tigers went 8-0, claiming a second SIAA conference championship and the first national championship in school history. The Tigers’ first bowl appearance was in 1937 in the sixth Bacardi Bowl played in Havana, Cuba. AU football has won seven SEC Conference Championships, and since the division of the conference in 1992, seven western division championships and four trips to the SEC Championship game. Auburn plays arch-rival Alabama each year in a game known as the Iron Bowl.
In 1957, Auburn was coached by “Shug” Jordan to a 10–0 record and was awarded the AP National Championship. Ohio State University was first in the UPI coaches’ poll. Auburn was ineligible for a bowl game, however, having been placed on probation by the Southeastern Conference.
Three Auburn players, Pat Sullivan in 1971, Bo Jackson in 1985, and Cam Newton in 2010 have won the Heisman Trophy. The Trophy’s namesake, John Heisman, coached at Auburn from 1895 until 1899. Auburn is the only school where Heisman coached (among others, Georgia Tech and Clemson) that has produced a Heisman Trophy winner. Auburn’s Jordan–Hare Stadium has a capacity of 87,451 ranking as the ninth-largest on-campus stadium in the NCAA as of September 2006.
Auburn went 11–0 under Terry Bowden in 1993, but was on probation and not allowed to play in the SEC Championship game. Auburn completed the 2004 football season with a 13–0 record winning the SEC championship, the school’s first conference title since 1989 and the first outright title since 1987. The 2004 team was led by quarterback Jason Campbell, running backs Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, and cornerback Carlos Rogers, all subsequently drafted in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft. The team’s new offensive coordinator, Al Borges, led the team to use the west coast style offensewhich maximized the use of both star running backs. However, the Tigers were ranked behind two other undefeated teams,Southern California and Oklahoma, that played in the BCS championship game.
Prior to the 2008 season, Tony Franklin was hired as offensive coordinator to put Auburn into the spread offense. He was fired, however, following the sixth game of the season that ended in a loss to Vanderbilt. Tommy Tuberville then resigned as head coach after the season. On December 13, 2008, it was reported that Gene Chizik had been hired as Auburn’s new head coach. Coach Gene Chizik then hired Gus Malzahn as the Tigers’ new Offensive Coordinator.
In 2010, Auburn defeated Oregon 22–19 in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game to secure the school’s second national championship. The Tigers finished the season with a 14–0 record, including comeback wins over Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. The Tigers trailed the Tide 24–0 in Tuscaloosa, but managed a 28–27 comeback victory in the 75th edition of the Iron Bowl. Auburn would again defeat South Carolina 56–17 in the 2010 SEC Championship Game, claiming the school’s eleventh conference championship. The Tigers were led by head coach Gene Chizik, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, and defensive tackle and Lombardi Award winner Nick Fairley. In Malzahn’s first season as head coach (2013), Auburn had two miraculous comebacks in the final minute against Georgia and Alabama to win the SEC West. They went on to win the 2013 SEC Championship Game over Missouri and fell short in the 2014 BCS National Championship Game to the Florida State Seminoles 34-31 in Pasadena, California.
In addition to the 1913, 1957, and 2010 championships, Auburn University’s 1914, 1958, 1983, 1993, and 2004 teams have also been recognized as national champions by various ranking organizations.