Montevallo is pleased to announce the hiring of two new coaches.

Mechan Vanderpool was recently hired as the thirteenth head women’s basketball coach in program history. Vanderpool comes to Montevallo after spending the previous four seasons as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Delta State University. Prior to her time at DSU she spent two seasons as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Mississippi College and two seasons as graduate assistant coach at Delta State University.

Vanderpool helped guide the Lady Statesmen to a 108-16 record during her four seasons as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. The Lady Statesmen were four-time Gulf South Conference regular season Champions and three time GSC Tournament Champions. She helped guide them to back-to-back Final Fours in 2008 and 2009. This past season they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen with a NCAA South Region Championship game appearance.

She helped recruit a two-time All-American, a two-time Honorable Mention All-American, a one-time Honorable Mention All-American and a Daktronics All-American selection. She helped lead four players to All-Region Team selections and three players who led the NCAA in assists, three pointers and field goal percentage, respectively.

At Mississippi College she helped lead them to a 35-16 record during her two seasons as assistant coach. In 2005 they advanced to the American Southwest Conference (ASC) Tournament and in 2006 the team won the ASC Championship. She helped coach four ASC All-Conference Players including the ASC Newcomer of the Year and ASC Defensive Player of the Year.

In her previous stint at DSU the Lady Statesmen went 41-17 with one NCAA Tournament appearance in 2003 and a trip to the GSC Tournament in 2002.

Vanderpool is a 2002 graduate of Henderson State University where she competed on the Reddie softball team. She graduated with a bachelor of science in education and physical education for grades K-12. In 2004, she received her master of science in health, physical education and recreation from Delta State University.

Vanderpool is a native of Bryant, Ark. and will begin her duties as head coach at Montevallo late next week.

Also, new to Montevallo is Chandler Rose as the seventh head baseball coach in program history.

Rose comes to Montevallo after spending the previous four seasons as head assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the Air Force Academy. Prior to his time at the Academy he spent one season as the assistant at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Rose was responsible for the AFA infielders and hitters. He also handled the third base coaching duties, summer ball placement for returning players and was heavily involved in the nation-wide recruiting effort. With his Florida background, Rose was primarily responsible for recruiting the southeast region.

Since his arrival at the Academy the Falcons batting average went from .249 in 2007 to .301 in 2010. The .301 average is the highest it has been at the Academy since 2003. Air Force led the nation in triples per game in 2008 and currently leads the nation in triples and triples per game in 2010.

The Fort Myers, Fla., native got his coaching start as an assistant for the Winter Park Diamond Dogs of the Florida Collegiate League in 2005. Rose has also worked at the University of Florida, UCF and FGCU summer baseball camps.

In his first year as an assistant at Florida Gulf Coast, Rose helped lead FGCU to a 41-17 record and a trip to the NCAA Div. II South Regional in 2006.

We are very excited to have both new coaches already on our campus and getting ready for the 2010-2011 season.


Our office has launched a new website in hopes of stream-lining your admission process. On this site you should be able to find a wide variety of helpful information such as:

  • List of Majors
  • Admission Counselor Information
  • Parent Information
  • Admission Requirements
  • Financing Information

Those are just some of the highlights of the site. There is still a lot of information there that you will find helpful in your admission process and, if you can’t find an answer, our contact information.

Check out one of our latest videos that can also be found on the site.

On March 12th The University of Montevallo was featured on the widely popular This American Life radio broadcast. This American Life is a weekly hour long broadcast that is predominantly journalistic non-fiction and hosted by Ira Glass.

The show decided to take a look at our annual Life Raft Debate which was created by our Philosophy professor Michael Patton. Patton describes the debate as so:

“In the Life Raft Debate, we imagine that there has been a nuclear war, and the survivors (the audience) are setting sail to rebuild society from the ground up.  There is a group of academic-types vying to get on the raft, and only one seat is left.  Each professor has to argue that his or her discipline is the one indispensable area of study that the new civilization will need to flourish.  At the end of the debating, the audience votes and the lucky winner climbs aboard, waving goodbye to the others.

Each professor gets to give an introductory account of his or her discipline, then give a brief rebuttal to the others, and, finally, the audience will be allowed to ask questions and vote.”

Download the mp3 of the Life Raft Debate segment from the This American Life episode “Save the Day” by clicking here. You can get the whole podcast episode on the This American Life home page.

Is going to be a three part video series the UM Admissions Office is creating.  Check out Lindsey as we just finished our first video!  Hope you enjoy.

Dr. Graeme Harper recently joined the University of Montevallo family as the Vacca Professor of Liberal Arts for the spring semester.

Harper comes to Montevallo from Australia by way of Wales, where he is Director of Research in the College of Arts and Humanities at Bangor University.

Harper is interested in creativity of all sorts. He holds doctorates in creative writing from the University of East Anglia and from the University of Technology, Sydney.

A fiction writer, Harper has published many novels and short story collections, including Camera Phone, Moon Dance, and Small Maps of the World (under the name of his alter ego, Brooke Biaz). He is also a widely published advocate of critical thinking in the creative arts, is the director of the international Creative Writing Conference, editor-in-chief of the Routledge New Writing series and chair of higher education for the National Association of Writers in Education in the UK.

At UM, Harper is teaching a course titled Creativity: Actions, Artifacts and Them Apples, which explores the interplay of creative knowledge and critical understanding. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to live in central Alabama near a swamp.

Harper, fascinated by the way technology creates connections, will be conducting a number of video link-ups with writers from across the world.

On Monday, Feb. 8, there will be a live video link-up with British Poet Laureate Andrew Motion via state-of-the-art teleconferencing facilities in the Malone Center for Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Technology.

This transatlantic chat, the first of its kind on this campus, is organized by Graeme with technical assistance from the College of Education and Technology Services.  It will give twenty or more UM creative writing students an opportunity to talk with one of the most celebrated poets in the English-speaking world. A reception will follow at 12:30, and Harper will be available for brief interviews at that time.

Harper, his wife Louise and their son Tyler are living in Hill House this semester and are eager to get involved in the UM community. He can be reached at

(Courtesy of The University of Montevallo Public Relations Office)

As soon as midnight chimed the day students got back to campus in January, one of the oldest homecoming traditions in American begins as purple and gold side begin hanging ribbons across the campus to signify the true start of the College Night season. Of course there have been a few events to get things going in the fall: the College Night Mixer, purple side potluck, gold side’s “Gold Rush” for new golds, etc., but the spring semester is when things really begin to heat up!

Immediately following the ribbon hanging on Monday are cast auditions for each side. In a 2-3 day process the cast is chosen, the orchestra has its players, and the rehearsals immediately begin. And not only are the shows being produced and score being written, but each side has gathered together athletes to compete in the volleyball, soccer, and basketball games. So anywhere you go on campus, you can find someone holding up there PV or GV to one another hoping to win against the other.

And as we all know, the show and its details are held secret until the revealing on the opening Wednesday night in February, but there are a few things along the way to give a few clues as to what it could be. A few weeks into the semester the Sign Raising/Pep Rally are held! Each side designs a sign that hints at what the show could be about, but few truly figure it out. At the pep rally the Purple and Gold cheerleaders raise the morale of each side before the announcement of cast and cabinet. This is the first time the cast has been revealed to anyone; even each side’s own members.

The month finishes up with the beginning of the sporting competitions on the last Saturday of January, and continuing the next two of February. But the moment everyone waits for is the second Wednesday in February: Opening Night! Each year thousands of people flood Palmer Auditorium to watch sides cheering, singing, and anxiously anticipating the start of the show. This year Gold side will go first, and Purples will immediately follow. The shows go on through Saturday night, which is the true “College Night.” That day the cheerleaders perform and compete for the win, the men’s basketball team plays the last game of the College Night season, and that night judges watch and critique each show while points are accumulated based on their professional opinions of the performance. After both shows are done on Saturday, all points are added up: Sporting events, spirit, cheerleading competition, music and musical direction, script, acting, etc. It all goes in to play. After weeks of hard work, dedication, and time put into everything, it all comes down to one moment. As cabinet, cast, and orchestra stand on stage, and the audience listens closely, the SGA president walks on stage and thanks all those involved. Each side has given a line to signify something special to their side, and as the SGA president finishes his speech, both Purples and Golds are listening closely to each word stated to hear if it’s “their” line. And as the moment comes, you have to wonder: What’s it gonna’ be?

Anna Irvin Hall

Anna Irvin Hall

For more than a quarter century, all dining facilities were in the basement of Central Main.  When the student body became too large to be seated there, another dining area was added in 1929 to the opposite side of the kitchen which served both.  It was named for Miss Anna Irvin, dietician for thirty-two years before her retirement in 1952.

With the coming of coeducation and the resulting increase in students, the facilities soon became inadequate.  In 1959-60, plans were implemented to enlarge the facility and to turn it into a cafeteria.  Basic work had been done earlier but the work on the kitchen itself had to be done in a brief five weeks between the end of summer school and the beginning of the fall semester.  The old plumbing, wiring, fixtures, and ceiling were removed and the whole area reconstructed.

The fact that the job was completed in allotted time was due chiefly to Aubrey C. Folsom, Director of Operations and Planning, the engineer who planned and supervised the project.  Jones and Hardy of Montevallo did the construction and installed the new equipment.  The building cost $115,000 and the new equipment $60,000.

In 1977-78, dining facilities were again upgraded.  Anna Irvin Hall was completely renovated and enlarged, a new kitchen was installed and the building separated from the Main Dining Room.  In addition to adequate cafeteria facilities there are two private dining rooms for small groups.

Architects were Renneker, Smith and Kirkwood and the contractor was Champion Construction Company.  The final cost was $1,150,139.

Main basement is presently being used by Student Affairs of the University.

Miss Anna Irvin

Miss Irvin, a native of Indiana, was Supervisor of Food Services at Alabama College from the spring of 1920 until her retirement in 1952.  With degrees in Home Economics from both Oxford College, Oxford, Ohio and the University of Chicago and three years experience in the latter institution, she was highly qualified for the position in Montevallo.  President Palmer expected close cooperation between the Food Services and the Home Economics Department.  She was employed at a salary of $1500, plus room and board, for 12 months a year.

When she retired in the spring of 1952, the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution, that it express “to Miss Anna Irvin, Dietician for Alabama College for thirty-two years, its lasting appreciation to her for all that she meant to the institution through her skillful and untiring direction of the food service of the college which had warmed the hearts as well as satisfied the appetites of hundreds upon hundreds of students, teachers, and visitors giving the College an outstanding reputation for good and happy living, and wishes for her and her sister, Miss Edna, (Miss Anna’s assistant) many years of happy reflection, good reading, and of being waited on.”

A third of a century after her retirement, people throughout the state remember the homemade ice cream she served in vegetable bowls and her delicious whole wheat bread.

(This is an excerpt from White Columns & Red Bricks by Lucille Griffith, Ph. D.)

Ramsay Hall

Ramsay Hall

Ramsay Hall was built in 1925, from money raised during the school’s “Million Dollar Drive,” a campaign to augment capital improvement funding from the state.  It was named for Mrs. Janet Erskine Ramsay, mother of Erskine Ramsay, one of the drive’s prominent benefactors.

The second dormitory was built on campus; it was designed by architect, John Davis of Warren, Knight, and Davis, and erected for $100,000.  In the words of contemporary accounts, it was said “to surpass anything in the way of dormitory construction in the South.”  Rooms to accommodate 200 students were of varying sizes and featured built-in vanities flanked by closets.

The laying of the cornerstone on College Night, March 9, 1925, was directed by the Grand Lodge of Masons of Alabama.  The building was dedicated on Founders’ Day, October 12, 1925 by Governor W. W. Brandon; the ceremonies, followed by a campus barbecue for 2000 guests, featured a number of speeches – one of them by Mr. Ramsay – and a variety of musical numbers, including a dedicatory song, lyrics by Judge W. H. Taylor, a member of the Board of Trustees.

The building was used as a dormitory for upper-class women for a number of years, then by men, after coeducation came.  For a couple of years Ramsay was idle, and in great need of repair.  In March 1979, based on plans drawn by Dampier Harris and Associates of Alabaster; bids were let for major renovation; Bachus Engineering won the contract and 55 years after $100,000 the dormitory was built, over $900,000 was spent on its conversion from a dormitory to Ramsay Conference Center and Lodge.  It was ready for occupancy in the late summer of 1980.

The first floor of the building houses meeting rooms and several campus offices.  The upper floors contain 39 double bedrooms with baths and a suite with kitchen facilities.  The rooms are used by overnight guests and conference participants; 25 to 30 organizations such as the Alabama Library Association, Elderhostel, WCTU and the FBI hold meetings there each year.

Janet Erskine Ramsay

Little is recorded of Janet Ramsay’s life.  She was never famous, never a highly educated career woman.  She was an immigrant and a wife and mother.  It is through the generosity of her sons that her name is remembered at the University of Montevallo.  She was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and married Robert Ramsay in 1861.  In 1863, she and her husband, his father and brothers, immigrated to Six Mile Ferry, Pennsylvania, where the men worked as miners.  Her second son, Erskine, was born on September 24, 1864.  The Ramsays prospered and a large family of children was raised to appreciate hard work, industry, education, and loyalty.

Erskine Ramsay was indeed an exemplary product of such loving, hard-working, ambitious household.  His story is typical of the American dream – if not exactly from rags to riches, at least from an immigrant working class family to a position of wealth, power, and influence.  His formal education was sketchy; his father trained him to be a miner, but he received additional schooling at St. Vincent’s College in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, graduating from a commercial technical course in 1883.  At the age of 19 he began his career in mining, as the superintendent of Monastery Mines.  He came to Birmingham in 1887 as mining engineer for Pratt mines division of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company.  During his 15 years with TCI, he received over 40 patents for devices and machines used in mining manufacturing.  In 1902, he became vice-president and chief engineer of the newly organized Pratt Consolidated Coal Company.

Throughout a long and active life, Ramsay’s interests were varied.  He was a leader in the Masons, Rotary, and Kiwanis, and on the boards of over a half dozen businesses, including Alabama By-Products, Buffalo Rock, Avondale Mills, and First National Bank of Birmingham.  Although he never married, his concern for young people and their education was deep: he was director of Boys Clubs, president of the Birmingham Board of Education, and contributed to scholarship funds in Alabama and Pennsylvania.  His generosity was renowned.  Over his lifetime, it is estimated that he donated over $2,000,000 to an amazing variety of groups, institutions, and individuals.  One of the institutions to benefit from his interest was Alabama College, which received a $100,000 contribution in the 1920’s as a part of its Million Dollar Drive to raise capital funds.  As a result, Ramsay Dormitory was built and was named for his mother, Janet Erskine Ramsay.

He was a much beloved man and a number of honors came his way.  In 1911, he was a member of commission sent to Europe by the U. S. Bureau of Mines to study conditions there; during World War II he served on the National Committee on Coal Production.  In 1925 he was awarded the Birmingham News Loving Cup as the outstanding public servant of the year; he was named Birmingham’s Man of the year for 1947.  In 1934, he and a group of Americans, which included Birminghamian Victor Hanson, were invited to Italy to “observe developments of the Mussolini regime.”  In 1937 he was awarded a gold medal by the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers.  In 1952, he received an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Alabama.

For a number of years his birthday parties were occasions for city-wide celebrations.  At one party, over 3000 guests were present to share in an immense birthday cake, barbecue and Brunswick stew.  The host clad in kilts of the Ramsay tartan was accompanied by a bagpiper.

Mr. Ramsay died on August 15, 1953, just a few weeks short of his 89th birthday.

(This is an excerpt from White Columns & Red Bricks by Lucille Griffith, Ph. D.)

Palmer Hall

Palmer Hall

The enrollment of Alabama College grew rapidly in the 1920’s until in 1929-30 there were 899 students, far too many to be accommodated in Reynolds Chapel.  The problem was solved by building Palmer Hall, named for the third president.  As President O. C. Carmichael reported to the Board of Trustees in the spring of 1930, the building had an auditorium that seated 1600 and office spaces for all the administrative offices, the first time they had all been housed under one roof.  The pride of the college, and especially of the Department of Music, was the four-manual Skinner organ, one of the finest in the South.

Palmer Hall was dedicated on the weekend of April 26-28, 1930, with appropriate ceremonies: a play, a Sunday church service for everyone in Montevallo, an organ recital and a formal dedicatory service.

Warren, Davis, and Knight were the architects; Oklahoma Scenic Company had the contract for the stage equipment and the American Seating Company furnished the seats in the auditorium.

By the middle of the 1970’s the building needed extensive repairs.  In 1977-78, Renniker, Smith, Kirkwood and Associates were selected the architects for the million-dollar-plus project which included the dismantling of the old Skinner organ and the instillation of the Holtkamp organ, all new seats and a restored and rearranged stage and orchestra pit.  The contractor was Bachus Engineering Company of Birmingham.

On May 3, 1980, Palmer Hall was rededicated, fifty years after the dedication.  Dr. Palmer’s grandson, the Reverend Richard B. Palmer of Colorado Springs, gave the invocation and dedicatory prayer.  Dr. Palmer’s youngest daughter, Miss Lula Palmer of Montgomery, spoke of the pleasure it would have given her father to know that his memory was being perpetuated in the beautiful building which provided “for activities in all forms, such as arts, religion, politics and current affairs.”

Thomas Waverly Palmer (1860-1926)

Dr. Palmer, the third president and the man from whom Palmer Hall was named, came to Montevallo after many years in higher education in Alabama.  He had graduated from the University of Alabama with degrees in both engineering and mathematics and had taught mathematics at his alma mater for many years, eventually becoming the head of the department.  In 1905, he was made Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the position held when he was elected president of Alabama Girls’ Industrial School in 1907.

For all his experience in education, there had been nothing to prepare him for heading an industrial school.  Recognizing this limitation, he spent the summer of 1907 in visiting various schools that had programs similar to the one in Montevallo.

Dr. Palmer was president for almost nineteen years, the longest presidency in this school’s history.  It was also the period of many changes.  Alabama Girls’ Industrial School gradually added years of college work and dropped high school courses until by 1922 it was Alabama College, the State College for Women, granting degrees.  Shortly before Dr. Palmer’s death the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools granted the school full accreditation, the goal Dr. Palmer worked toward for years.

During the Palmer years the physical plant was greatly expanded.  New buildings were erected to care for the increased enrollment and expanded programs: Bloch Hall, Peterson Hall, Wills Hall for the library, and Calkins Hall.  The first major fund drive, the so-called Million Dollar Drive (1924), raised the money to help build the new president’s home as well as Ramsay Hall, the high school, and Palmer Hall.

Many traditions and institutions also had their beginning in this era: College Night, the first newspaper, the yearbook, student government, the employment of student help on campus, and the first summer school.

Dr. Palmer was a thorough scholar and a good administrator but he was also an affectionate, fun-loving, gregarious man.  He loved a good joke; he was an excellent story-teller but according to his secretary, he never said an unkind word about anyone.  At the hour of his funeral in Tuscaloosa, the students assembled in the chapel here and after a brief devotional sat thinking “of how and why they loved him.”

(This is an excerpt from White Columns & Red Bricks by Lucille Griffith, Ph. D.)

Driveway to Flowerhill

Driveway to Flowerhill

Since the spring of 1926, each of the presidents of Alabama College/University of Montevallo and their families have lived in a stately, two-story brick dwelling a third of a mile away from the heart of the campus at the end of a tree-lined drive: Flowerhill.

Before that date, the presidents had lived elsewhere.  Captain Reynolds had his own home in Montevallo on a spot where Whaley Center is now.  It was a huge, rambling Victorian structure that housed not only his own family but, in the early years, some students and faculty as well.  The second president, Dr. Francis M. Peterson, lived in a brick veneer president’s home built in 1906 that stood on a spot between the present Wills and Palmer Halls.  Dr. Palmer also later lived there until it burned on May 5, 1921.  The Palmer family moved into the Infirmary where they remained until Dr. Palmer died in 1926.

The president’s new home had been designed by Mrs. Palmer but she did not choose the furnishings, leaving that to the next “first lady,” Mrs. O. C. Carmichael, and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.  Insurance money from the first president’s home was used for that purpose.  Loveman’s in Birmingham were low bidders for the furniture and Jobe Rose for the silver.  The first official function in the new facility was a reception on May 22, 1926.

During its first half century, the house had had only minor repairs so it was not surprising that a thorough overhaul was needed by the time the coming of UM’s 11th president.  In 1977-78, at the direction of the Board of Trustees, floors were shored up, new wiring and plumbing installed, the walls restored and redecorated and furnishings either restored or replaced.  Today, it is again a lovely place in which to live and entertain and is a focal point of campus social life.

That Flowerhill is a beauty spot is primarily due to the interest and gardening skills of two presidents’ wives, Mrs. A. F. Harman and Mrs. D. P. Culp.



(This is an excerpt from White Columns & Red Bricks by Lucille Griffith, Ph. D.)


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