Chapter 1

Mission, History, and Symbols

1.1 The Mission of the University of Alabama in Huntsville

1.2 History

1.3 Symbols of the University

1.3.1 University Name

1.3.2 Institutional Seal

1.3.3 Institutional Colors

1.3.4 Institutional Emblems


1.1 The Mission of the University of Alabama in Huntsville

The University of Alabama in Huntsville is a research-intensive, internationally-recognized technological university serving Alabama and beyond. Our mission is to explore, discover, create, and communicate knowledge, while educating individuals in leadership, innovation, critical thinking, and civic responsibility and inspiring a passion for learning. 

1.2 History

The first classes for an institution that has evolved into The University of Alabama in Huntsville began in January 1950 as the University of Alabama Huntsville Center. At approximately the same time, efforts were under way to place major portions of the U.S. Army's rocket research and development activities as well as NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in the Huntsville area at Redstone Arsenal. Fast-paced growth of these activities took place between the 1950s through the 1960s and had a major impact on the future of what was then a small, but emerging, town known as Huntsville.

As the Redstone Arsenal grew, the leadership for the U.S. Army and NASA wanted to provide educational opportunities for their employees. Concurrently, major aerospace corporations began to locate in the area that was becoming a hub of the U.S. space program. The need for advanced education in science, engineering and technology was acknowledged and supported by individual citizens and organizations alike.

To encourage the establishment of a research institute in Huntsville as part of the university, Dr. Wernher von Braun traveled to The University of Alabama located in Tuscaloosa along with NASA and Army officials. The purpose of such an institute would be to accelerate the educational program in Huntsville and to provide theoretical and experimental research pertinent to aerospace science and missile fields.

Dr. von Braun made a persuasive presentation before the Alabama Legislature in June 1961 requesting a $3 million bond issue to support the institute. Dr. von Braun could foresee the economic benefit for the entire state of Alabama, and intended the money he requested to be used for land, buildings and equipment to bring this concept into reality. The next year, the University of Alabama Huntsville Foundation and the City of Huntsville established Cummings Research Park, which is today the second largest university-related research park in the United States with more than 350 companies and more than 25,000 employees.

The Legislature unanimously passed the bill, and the Research Institute was constructed on campus and opened in late 1962. In 1963, the University announced degree opportunities in Huntsville at the master’s level in mathematics, physics, and engineering, and in 1964 initiated degree programs at the baccalaureate level in English, history, mathematics, physics, and engineering. The first undergraduate degrees were awarded in 1968. By 1969, UAH was made an autonomous university, part of The University of Alabama System with campuses in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Huntsville. Each campus had its own president, and Dr. Benjamin Graves was named the first President of the Huntsville campus in 1970. The first doctoral program was initiated in 1971.

The 1970’s were a time of rapid growth for Huntsville and UAH. And though its roots were planted firmly in the space program, UAH expanded programs as a part of its comprehensive growth.

In 2011, UAH’s stature as a nationally prominent research university was confirmed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching when that group classified the university as a “very high” research activity institution.

Morton Hall, with its traditional columns, is the oldest building on campus and housed academic programs for the Huntsville Center's original 137 students.

1.3 Symbols of the University

1.3.1 University Name

The university's official name, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, is protected by trademark and may be used according to official UAH policy only.

Oral Guidelines

The first reference to the university in oral presentation should refer to the university as The University of Alabama in Huntsville. After the establishing statement the university may be referred to as UAH.

Written Guidelines

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) is to be spelled out upon first usage in written documents, with the "t" in "The" always capitalized.

After the first reference to the university, UAH may be used without parenthesis throughout written material.

Using the university name, "UAH," or other trademarked references such as "Hockey Capital of the South" or the institutional seal on any materials implying official endorsement by the university for commercial purposes or for any non-university business, must receive prior written permission from the Office of Marketing and Communications. Use of university stationery for non-university correspondence or consulting work is prohibited, except when such use is permitted by law and is a normal part of the individual's professional activities as a university faculty member. 

1.3.2 Institutional Seal

The three campuses of The University of Alabama System share an institutional seal that shows the Roman Goddess of Wisdom, Minerva, standing within a rope-like band. To her left is an open scroll. The goddess holds an olive branch in her left hand. Her right hand rests on the globe. The sun is depicted in the background to her right. For the university, the words within the band are "The University of Alabama" and "Huntsville". 

1.3.3 Institutional Colors

Blue and white are the colors of The University of Alabama in Huntsville. For printing purposes the blue is PMS 3005c. 

1.3.4 Institutional Emblems

The institutional seal should be used for formal representations, including diplomas, notary seals, and certificates. The graphically distinctive "UAH" logo, found in the University Style Guide on the internal myUAH web page, must be used as the only signature mark representing The University of Alabama in Huntsville and in the manner represented in the Style Guide