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Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) is a 4-year, private liberal arts college in Birmingham, Alabama, United Statesmarker. Founded in 1856, it is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. As of 2005 approximately 1500 students from 30 states and 23 foreign countries were enrolled at the college.


Birmingham-Southern College is the result of a merger of Southern University, founded in Greensboro, Alabama, in 1856, with Birmingham College, opened in 1898 in Birmingham, Alabama. These two institutions were consolidated on May 30, 1918, under the name of Birmingham-Southern College.

In 1824, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church recommended that each conference establish a seminary of learning under its regulation and patronage. Not until 1854 did the Alabama Conference undertake to carry out this recommendation of the superior body. In that year, a committee was appointed to select a site for the proposed college and to procure funds for its establishment and maintenance. The charter was granted by the State of Alabama on January 25, 1856, and the first meeting of the Board of Trustees was held on March 17, 1856; January 25 is therefore known as Charter Day for the College, and March 17 has been designated as Founder’s Day.

After the State was divided into two Methodist conferences, the North Alabama Conference, in 1883, joined with the Alabama Conference in the support of Southern University.

At the session of the North Alabama Conference held at Tuscaloosa in November 1896, work was begun toward establishing a college within the bounds of this conference. In the fall of 1897, the foundation for the first building was laid in Birmingham. In April 1898, a president was elected and a faculty was chosen and organized. The Conference then surrendered its interest in Southern University and, in September 1898, the North Alabama Conference College (later named Birmingham College) opened its doors to students.

For twenty years the two colleges were maintained by the Methodists of Alabama. Finally, on May 30, 1918, through their appointed commissioners, the two conferences consolidated these institutions under the name of Birmingham-Southern College. With no loss of time from the regular work at either place, the consolidation was effected, and the new institution opened its doors in Birmingham on September 11, 1918. Since that time, Birmingham-Southern College has grown rapidly and is now a fully accredited institution in every way.

Birmingham-Southern has consistently sought academic distinction. In 1937, its standards were recognized by the nation’s leading academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, which granted the College a charter to establish Alabama Beta.


The wooded 192 acre (780,000 m²) campus is located in Ensleymarker three miles (5 km) northwest of downtown Birminghammarker. There are 45 buildings in all, and 25 of them have been renovated since 1976. There are many new facilities since 1998 including the Striplin Fitness Center, Norton Campus Center, the Elton B. Stephens Science Center of 100,000 square feet (9,000 m²), and the new fraternity row. The new Admissions House was completed for the beginning of the 2007-08 academic year and the lake was completed at the end of September 2009 also known as, The Falls, on the far western end of campus. The United Methodist Center (located behind the soccer field) was completed in 2004 and holds the offices of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church.


Birmingham-Southern has often been ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in the United States and was profiled in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives.

Beginning in September 2001 Birmingham-Southern introduced a "Foundations" curriculum which aims to integrate academic disciplines around common methodologies and a common body of knowledge.

Courses of study

Birmingham-Southern offers disciplinary majors in Accounting, Art, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Computer Science, Dance, Economics, Education, Engineering (3-2 Program), English, Environmental Studies, French, German, History, Mathematics, Music, Nursing (3-2 Program), Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Sociology, Spanish, and Theatre Arts.

In addition, the school offers multi-disciplinary majors in Asian Studies; Biology & Psychology; Computer Science & Mathematics; English & Theatre Arts; History & Political Science; International Studies; Musical Theatre; Philosophy, Politics & Economics; Religion & Philosophy; Sociology & Political Science; and Sociology & Psychology

Birmingham-Southern offers numerous academic minors, including Art History, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Creative Writing, Computer Science, Dance, Economics, English Literature, French, German, History, Journalism, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Sociology, Spanish, Studio Art, and Theatre Arts as well as multi-disciplinary minors in Asian Studies, Environmental Studies and Latin American Studies.

Academic calendar

There are two semesters and an interim term in January. Unique to BSC, interim is an opportunity for internships, hands-on research, leadership studies, study abroad, or any other unique experience.

National Honor Societies

Birmingham-Southern is a sheltering institution for a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and is home to 20 other honorary or professional societies in various academic areas. The college established a new chapter of the business honorary Beta Gamma Sigma in 2003, joining 375 other schools, all accredited in business through AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, that honor top students by inducting them into lifetime membership in the society. Birmingham-Southern is one of only six baccalaureate-liberal arts institutions in the country to hold both AACSB International accreditation and the designation of Phi Beta Kappa and one of only six to hold Phi Beta Kappa and house a Beta Gamma Sigma chapter.

College Social Traditions

SOCO weekendis the college's traditional campus wide spring band party. BSC has seen bands such as Umphrey's McGee, and Blues Traveler, North Mississippi Allstars, O.A.R., Naughty by Nature, Galactic, Perpetual Groove.

E Fest weekendis the college's traditional campus wide fall band party.BSC has seen bands such as Ben Folds, Pat Green, and Drive-By Truckers, Ying Yang Twins.

Interfraternity Block Partyis an all day party on fraternity row to recognize the new members of the Greek system. All fraternity houses are open all day for the celebration, and most houses host a band party at night open to all students.

Greek Life

The majority of students entering BSC join a fraternity or sorority during their first year. While certain aspects of these groups are exclusive to members only, there are many social activities sponsored for all students, Greek or non-Greek. Initiation into a fraternity or sorority follows certain traditions closely, and involves getting acquainted with the different aspects of the sororities or fraternities. New students are then selected by the officers of the group to be initiated. First year members are know as “pledges” and go through processes of recruitment and initiation. Many students enjoy Greek life because it creates a sense of “brotherhood” or “sisterhood” within the members, while establishing a firm social network of potential friends. The main functions of fraternities and sororities are organizing social events and service projects, and members often meet in their group houses, called “Fraternity houses” and “Sorority townhouses”.




The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) and its member institutions are committed to maintaining high academic standards. The member institutions are committed to the principle that a quality college athletics program is beneficial to the well-being of an institution in that it benefits the entire campus community as well as the student-athletes.

Construction for Birmingham-Southern's new athletic complex began in February 2007, and Panther Stadium hosted its first home game on 8 November 2008. The stadium features state-of-the-art artificial turf with an eight lane regulation track surrounding the field. An athletic building has been constructed that includes a press box, coach’s offices, meeting rooms, an athletic training room, officials' dressing room and locker rooms for football, lacrosse, track and field, and cross country.

Notable alumni

Alumni Notability
Robert Aderholt United States Congressman from Alabamamarker (1997- )
Dr. Harvie Branscomb Chancellor, Vanderbilt Universitymarker
Howard Cruse Cartoonist
Charles Gaines Author, journalist, screenwriter, editor; Cine Gold Eagle Awards, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Award
Richard D. deShazo Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Chair of the Department of Medicine, and Director of the Division of Allergy/Immunology, University of Mississippi School of Medicine; President, Association of Professors of MedicinePresident, Southern Society for Clinical Investigation
Alexander Gelman Theatre Director
Rebecca Gilman Americanmarker Playwright
Dr. Donald C. Harrison Senior Vice President and Provost for Health Affairs, University of Cincinnatimarker Medical CenterPresident, American Heart Association; Co-Director, Falk Cardiovascular Research Center at Stanford University School of Medicine
Dr. Thomas K. Hearn, Jr. President, Wake Forest Universitymarker
Howell Heflin U.S. Senator, 1978-1997
Mr. Richard I. Kirkland Managing Editor, Fortune Magazine
Brooke LaBarbera Cast member of MTV's The Real World: Denver
Hugh Martin Distinguished Broadway and film composer and arranger, wrote music for the movie musical Meet Me In St. Louis, starring Judy Garland.
Dr. Rachel Mathes Distinguished operatic soprano, currently Professor of Music in the UAB Department of Music.
The Rt. Rev. Robert O. Miller Former Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Alabama
Carol Newsom Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament, Emory Universitymarker; Scholar, Author, Editor
James G. O'Quinn, D.Min., CSOTP Ordained United Methodist Minister, Forensic Counselor, Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider, Certified Domestic Violence Counselor
Frank C. Osment Executive Vice President and Director, Amoco; Vice President, Standard Oil; Director, Harris Bancorp and McGraw-Edison Corporation
Nancy Huddleston Packer Professor of English, Stanford Universitymarker; Dinkelspiel Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education, Stanford University, 1977; Author; Commonwealth Club of California Book Award, 1976; O. Henry Awards: Prize Stories, 1969, 1981
Howell Raines Executive Editor, The New York Times; Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, 1992
Ray Reach Noted jazz pianist, vocalist, arranger, composer, producer and educator. Formerly (1998-2005) director of the UAB Jazz Ensemble and music instructor at UAB. Currently Director of Student Jazz Programs at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Famemarker. Winner of ASCAP's Raymond Hubbell Musical Scholarship, for his contributions to jazz and popular music in America.

C. Dowd Ritter CEO of Regions Bank
Dr. Richard L. Rowan Professor of Industry, Co-Director, Center For Human Resources, and Chairman, Labor Relations Council, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvaniamarker; Member, Committee on International Investment, U.marker S.marker State Departmentmarker
Luther Leonidas Terry Surgeon General of the United States (1961 – 1965)
Larry Striplin, Jr. C.E.O. of Nelson Brantley Glass Contractors, Inc, and C.E.O. of American Fine Wire
Herbert B. West President, The New York Community Trust Foundation
Dr. Frederick Palmer Whiddon President, University of South Alabamamarker, 1963-1998
Dr. John H. Yardley Professor of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Frank B. Yeilding Chairman, Jefferson Federal Savings & Loan Association, Birmingham; President, U. S. Savings & Loan League

Notable faculty


Birmingham-Southern has a 12:1 student to faculty ratio, and of the full-time members of the faculty, more than 92 percent hold either a doctoral degree or the highest degree in their field.

College Presidents

Birmingham-Southern College

Points of interest

The Southern Environmental Centermarker is an environmental educational facility located on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College. Each year, hundreds of school children tour the facility's Interactive Museum and EcoScape.


  1. " Recent Accolades" page at - accessed June 22, 2008

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