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FLORENCE, Ala. — 150 years ago, the University of North Alabama made history as the first four-year university in the southeastern United States to admit women.

Then known as the State Normal School at Florence, it is also Alabama’s oldest four-year university.

To commemorate the anniversary, UNA’s communications and marketing director Michelle Eubanks and Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering Jeffrey Bibbee have announced Year of the UNA Woman, a 14-month-long celebration highlighting the achievements of women who have made an impact in the university’s history.

“It began last fall actually, with a very impromptu conversation with our provost sitting around a table,” Eubanks said. “We were discussing ways that we could integrate this anniversary—this very significant anniversary—into the fabric of the university. It became a conversation where Dr. Bibbee and I were tasked with being the co-chairs of the group that would then see this to fruition.”

Eubanks said the anniversary is significant as it highlights the university’s long history of having women as trailblazers.

Bibbee said it’s also setting the stage for the next 150 years.

“Currently, 60 percent of our student population is female, and we know that women are coming into higher education at record members, so what opportunities exist for them today, but more critically, what opportunities exist for them tomorrow,” Bibbee explained.

Special events are planned throughout the next year to celebrate Year of the UNA Woman including a launch party for the University of North Alabama Magazine on Tuesday, June 29.

To learn more about the year-long celebration, click here.