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FLORENCE, Ala. — In 1872, the State Normal School, now known as the University of North Alabama (UNA), became the first four-year institution in the state to open its doors to women.

For the next 14 months, UNA will observe the “Year of the UNA Woman,” a celebration of the university’s female alumni and students through events, history, and content for web and print, including a hardback book.

“As a campus community, this anniversary is a significant reminder of UNA’s history of firsts, from our opening in 1830 as Alabama’s first public four-year institution on LaGrange Mountain in Colbert County to our admittance of women in 1872,” said UNA President Dr. Ken Kitts. “Both as students and among our faculty and staff, women like Ann Berry and others have and continue to be vital to the ongoing success of UNA.”

Berry, a UNA alumna, is a 1978 graduate who now serves as the first African-American Secretary of the Senate. She is only the eighth woman to hold the title.

“It is wonderful for UNA to celebrate 150 years of admitting women to the University,” Berry said. “Our successes as women represent a powerful array of accomplishments, and we must remain committed to opening doors for others.”

To learn more about the Year of the UNA Woman, visit