On this day in Alabama history: UAH gets its first president

On this day in Alabama history: UAH gets its first president
Aerial view of the University of Alabama in Huntsville campus. (Getty Images)

March 16, 1970

Benjamin Graves was named the first president of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, taking office amid a period of dramatic growth for the institution. The university, now recognized as a top research and technology hub, began in 1950 as a two-year transitional program called University Center. Expansion followed along with the rise of the nearby Marshall Flight Center, and by the late 1960s it was clear the university, part of the University of Alabama System, should have an independent president. Graves, who was president of Millsaps College in Mississippi, was named to the new position and began an eight-year tenure. He presided over construction of the university’s first athletic facility and campus housing. UAH also launched a nursing program as well as doctoral programs in engineering and physics. The school saw its number of graduates per year grow from 159 in 1969 to 589 in 1979.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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