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The has been around more than 100years - 118 years, as a matter of fact - and is the state's only publicliberal arts university but that doesn't mean it is a well-known entity toeveryone in Alabama.

That's partly because UM, located in Shelby County in the state's center, is a smaller school with a studentbody of about 3,000 people and because there's no football team at Montevallo,a definite marketing hindrance in sports-crazy Alabama. There are plenty ofthings going on at the university, though, and here are some things people fromUM want others to know:

UM'shomecoming celebration includes a musical? Really?

Homecoming is called "College Night" andit's a big deal at UM. started in 1919 and involves the studentssplitting into two teams, the Gold side and the Purple side. The sides competein a week's worth of activities, culminating in Saturday night musicalproductions. The musicals are entirely student produced, including costumes,music, lyrics, choreography, sets and lighting. College Night is the longest-runningcontinual college tradition in the U.S. and has twice been a question on"Jeopardy." It's also featured in the as a "Local Legacy."

The announcement of the 2014 winners is below:

It's a College Night thing. GV stands for Gold Victory and PVstands for, you guessed it, Purple Victory. The Gold side tacks on a number for howmany times they've consecutively won College Night, so when asked "What's itgonna be?" the Gold Side would say "A GV 3" for example. (Author's note: Originally this said both sides, which it was until about 1996 when the Purples quit adding the number to their initials. Thanks to the loyal Purple for pointing that out.)

Why isMontevallo the Falcons and what's the deal with football?

Montevallo's mascot is the Falcons and no, it doesn't have afootball team, probably because the school started out as an institution forwomen. Before 1959, the school's teams were known as the Purples. Theschool held a contest and offered a prize to the person who submitted thebest nickname. The name Falcons was chosen and from 1967-70, the university hadan actual bird on campus. He died and was buried on campus and neverreplaced. And while UM doesn't have afootball team, it does have golf, soccer, baseball, softball, basketball,volleyball and track and field.

Isn't Montevallo a"girl's school?" (Or private school, or teachers college?)

Montevallo started out as an all-girl's school. It opened in1896 to train women as teachers, bookkeepers, artists, dressmakers, telegraphersand milliners, all "acceptable" trades for women. It became Alabama College in1923 and didn't accept men until 1956. It became University of Montevallo in1969. While the school is now co-ed, it has a high percentage of femalestudents -

Montevallo is a public school, one of only 27 public liberalarts universities in North America. You can get your teaching degree at UM but thereare plenty of other majors too, including an

Agh! Liberal arts! Idon't want to be a liberal!

The term "liberal arts" has nothing to do with politics.It's the term given to a course of study that's designed to give broadknowledge as opposed to a technical skill. Liberal arts colleges generallyemphasize literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science.

Is there really aghost on campus and did she die cooking fudge?

That's the story. A sophomore named Condie Cunningham wascooking fudge in a chafing dish when alcohol spilled on to her nightgown andthe flame caught the fabric on fire. She became hysterical and was running downthe hall when a faculty member grabbed her and put out the flame but she diedtwo days later. People still report hearing screaming and moaning down the hall of Main Dorm and her image surrounded by flames was supposedly seen on the wooden door of her room. The university has removed the door and it's reportedly stillstored somewhere on campus. There are lots of other ghosts around the place,too, including one who likes to sit in the auditorium at Palmer Hall and watchthe productions.

I think my highschool had more students than Montevallo...

Probably not. But Montevallo isn't a big school. Itsenrollment hovers just above 3,000 and that's one of its selling points.Student-faculty ratio is 17-to-1. The town of Montevallo isn't a big placeeither. It is growing, however, and has about 6,500 residents, ghosts notincluded.

So, about this wholereturn on investment thing...

The Atlantic magazine and severalother Southern colleges offered poor returns on investment.Montevallo ranked seventh among 11 colleges and universities where graduates'self-reported earnings over a 20-year period was at least ,000 in thenegative considering the cost of tuition.

Officials at the university disputed the claims and said itdidn't include those with graduate degrees or those who are self-employed orwork part-time. The university also pointed out its strong U.S. News and WorldReport rankings, including earning the top spot in the state for a master'slevel institution.

Polly Holiday. Holiday, a 1959 graduate of UM

There's another thing you can say about those rankings, too,taken from one of UM's most famous graduates, Polly Holiday. Holiday, a 1959graduate of UM, played the waitress "Flo" on the hit '70s television show"Alice," and had a catchphrase that became popular and one that UM folksprobably would like to share with the Atlantic: "Kiss my grits."

Go Falcons! (And can somebody get me some Saturday College Nighttickets in 2015?)

In deeply personal responses, dozens of former inmates, family members of current inmates and volunteers with prison ministries have given detailed accounts of how their experiences with the facility continue to affect their lives.


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