Troy University History

From its roots as a state normal school providing teacher training, to its current role as a global provider of higher education, Troy University’s first 130 years have been marked by growth and progress. In addition to the following history, the interactive timeline located on this page provides more insight into TROY’s unique story.

About Troy University

Troy University’s tradition of teaching excellence dates to its founding on February 26, 1887, when an act of the Alabama Legislature established State Normal School Troy as an institution to train teachers for Alabama’s schools. Joseph Macon Dill was the institution’s first president. In 1893, the school was renamed Troy State Normal College.

The Normal College offered extension courses for teachers and granted teaching certificates until 1929 when the State Board of Education changed the charter of the institution and renamed it Troy State Teachers College. That same year, the College moved to its present site and the first two buildings were dedicated: Shackelford Hall, named for Edward Madison Shackelford, president of the school from 1899-1936, and Bibb Graves, Alabama’s “education governor.” Graves is also remembered for commissioning the Olmsted Brothers architectural firm of Brookline, Massachusetts, to design the campus landscape plan.

Like many American universities, Troy State Teachers College enjoyed one of its most prosperous periods of growth in the years following World War II when returning veterans took advantage of the GI Bill. Under the presidency of Dr. C.B. Smith, enrollment of the College more than doubled, and this growth led to the introduction of degree programs in disciplines other than education, most notably in business. In 1957, the State Board of Education recognized this expanded role and dropped “Teachers” from Troy State College’s name.

The decade of the 1950s also marked the University’s long relationship with the United States military, as extension courses were offered on nearby bases, first at Fort Rucker, near Dothan and later at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. A separate Troy State College teaching center was established at Fort Rucker in 1961, which evolved into the modern Dothan Campus.

A similar center, begun at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1965, led to the creation of the present day Montgomery Campus. These programs were the forerunners of the modern University College division of Troy University, which operates all TROY teaching sites outside of Alabama at no cost to Alabama taxpayers.

In 1967, Gov. Lurleen B. Wallace appointed eight members to the newly established Troy State College Board of Trustees, removing the institution from the control of the State Board of Education. One of the first acts of the new board was to recommend the change of the name to Troy State University. The new name became official on Dec. 14, 1967, following an announcement by President Ralph W. Adams.

In 1975, the Phenix City Campus was opened as a branch campus.

In 1982, the Troy State University System was formed, as the campuses in Dothan and Montgomery were granted independent accreditation status by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

In 2000, the Board of Trustees and Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor, discussed the unification of the Troy State University System through the process of removing independent academic accreditation of Troy State University Dothan and Troy State University Montgomery. This led to a five-year strategic plan to consolidate the campuses into one university. The administrative leadership and the Board of Trustees decided that unification of the Troy State University System was necessary to achieve the following goals:

  • improve service to students by removing barriers to academic transfer;
  • implement shared academic standards, policies and procedures at all Troy University campuses;
  • Promote a worldwide brand identity for Troy University.

That process was a team effort with more than 350 faculty and staff members serving on committees and work groups that handled the detail work of unification. The official unification of the University took place Aug. 1, 2005. This date also marked the official changing of the University’s name from Troy State University to Troy University. The Board of Trustees approved the name change in April 2004, to better reflect the worldwide mission of the University.

Today, Troy University serves students not only on four Alabama campuses, but at teaching sites around the globe. The University extends its mission through providing award-winning distance education via TROY Online. There are more than 145,000 alumni worldwide.

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