FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — The University of North Alabama (UNA) will celebrate its 193rd birthday Wednesday with “Purple Pride Day” — a celebration held across four major cities in the Shoals.

“Purple Pride Day” is a new tradition for the area. Residents from both Colbert and Lauderdale counties are encouraged to wear purple to celebrate UNA and its impact on the Shoals.

The mayors of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, and Sheffield will host a private reception on Tuesday, January 10 to kick off the event.

“The goal for Purple Pride Day is to install pride in our community,” said Olivia Bradford, director of public relations and leadership development with the Shoals Chamber of Commerce.

Bradford said the idea was created as part of the EMERGE leadership program in an effort to recognize UNA’s financial and cultural impact on the community.

“For our students at UNA, think about the impact for them,” Bradford told News 19. “If they go into a restaurant in downtown Florence to eat on Purple Pride Day, and everyone in there is wearing purple, all of a sudden they have an ownership in the Shoals that they [haven’t] experienced before.”

Michelle Eubanks, UNA’s director of public relations and a member of the Florence Town and Gown Task Force, said the event is a big step toward growing UNA and the Shoals as a whole.

“For every student we have on campus, for every faculty member that moves here, every staff member that lives here and buys a home, that translates into very real monetary support for the greater community,” she told News 19.

Bradford said the event is community-wide with businesses and schools across the Shoals participating.