University of Montevallo is more than historic

Published 10:55 am Tuesday, March 15, 2011

UM’s president’s home, Flower Hill. (Contributed)

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

There is no doubt that the University of Montevallo is rich in history, being listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It is an architectural marvel.

It was designed by the same brothers who designed the grounds of the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and New York City’s Central Park.

Its campus sits in the geographical center of the state and has the oldest college tradition in America – College Night.

With cobblestone streets, magnolia blooms, the first house in Alabama with window panes, a tower with chimes every hour and huge, beautiful trees, it is has a Southern charm and an heir of distinction about it.

I was blessed and fortunate to receive my undergraduate degree from the University of Montevallo, and it is was there that I met my husband of 23 years and many life-long friends. It is where I thrived and grew up both academically and socially. It is where the seeds of leadership were planted, nurtured and grown to make me the person I am today. UM was the fertile soil of my success.

Roots run deep at UM with opportunities of knowledge and life lessons, growth and academic prosperity. The harvest is ripe with talent and potential, opportunities and successes.

Being a native of Alabama, people often ask me which school’s football team is the best, Alabama or Auburn. My answer is always the same, “Neither.  I went to the University of Montevallo,and we never lost a football game the whole four years I was there.”

While other schools have their sports and traditions, Montevallo has a world-class charm like no other. It is an institution of higher education that was way before its time, yet its time has not stood still. It is a quaint, small town within itself and a sacred ground of learning where dreams come true for those who study there.

It was honored by U.S. News and World Report as a Tier One Master’s-level Institution. It has been the highest-ranked public Master’s level university in Alabama, 15th best public university and second in the South in its division in Greatest Schools with Greatest Prices.

UM is indeed historic, but let there be no doubt that it is so much more.

Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident and writes a weekly column for the Shelby County Reporter. You can reach her at