On this day in Alabama history: Pivotal UA President George Denny was born

On this day in Alabama history: Pivotal UA President George Denny was born
George Denny (1870-1955) served as president of the University of Alabama for 25 years, overseeing a major expansion of the institution's facilities, student body and curriculum. He is also known as the leading force in raising the profile of the school's football program. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama Libraries)

Dec. 3, 1870

His name later memorialized in Tuscaloosa landmarks like Denny Chimes and Bryant-Denny Stadium, George Denny was born on this day in 1870. He assumed leadership of the University of Alabama campus in 1912. At the time, the school was in poor financial condition, with just 400 students and no reliable funding. By soliciting foundation grants and creative lease agreements, Denny was able to sell enough people on the future of the Capstone to grow student fees and out-of-state enrollment. His investments into athletics put the university on the map, highlighted in the 1920s with Alabama’s newfound prominence in football and Rose Bowl appearances. He was responsible for hiring legendary coaches Wallace Wade and Frank Thomas. Denny retired as university president in 1936 but returned in 1941 when his successor suddenly died. He served another five years before his final retirement, and died in 1955.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama. 

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

Related Stories