Birmingham–Southern College

Birmingham–Southern College
Motto Pro Christo et Republica (Latin)
Type Private
Established 1856
Undergraduates 1305
Location Birmingham, Alabama, United States
Campus 192 acres (0.78 km2)
Colors Black and Gold
Mascot Panthers
Affiliations SAA (NCAA Division III)

Birmingham–Southern College (BSC) is a private liberal arts college in Birmingham, Alabama, United States. Founded in 1856, the college is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). More than 1300 students from 33 states and 16 foreign countries attend the college. [1] Birmingham–Southern has a 13:1 student-faculty ratio, and 96% of full-time faculty hold a doctorate or the highest degree in their field.[2]

Birmingham–Southern has been consistently ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in the United States.[3] The college is one of just forty institutions nationwide profiled in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives, which offers the following snapshot of the college: "What all of this says is that Birmingham-Southern is a high-quality, caring place where a person from any part of the country would not only be comfortable but would grow intellectually, morally, and personally."[4]


Ginkgo Tree by Munger Hall

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. Phi Beta Kappa recognized Birmingham–Southern in 1937, establishing the Alabama Beta chapter. Only ten percent of the nation's institutions of higher education shelter Phi Beta Kappa chapters, and Birmingham–Southern College is one of only three sheltering institutions in the state of Alabama.

On March 21, 2011, General Charles Krulak was named the 13th president of Birmingham–Southern College. Krulak officially retired on June 1, 2015 and was succeeded by Dr. Edward F. Leonard, III, the 14th president of the College.[5]

A delegation from BNU-HKBU United International College was invited by the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), a consortium of 16 liberal arts colleges in the US, to explore collaborative ties. UIC visited three of the ACS member institutions between 17 and 25 April. The delegates discussed exchange opportunities and collaborative projects with Birmingham–Southern College.[6]


According to such diverse and national measures as Colleges That Change Lives and the Princeton Review's Best 377 Colleges, Birmingham–Southern is one of America's best liberal arts colleges. As determined by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation, four of Alabama's “Best Professors” in recent years teach at BSC, with Prof. Laura Stultz being named Professor of the Year for 2013.[7][8] And each year, Birmingham–Southern ranks no. 1 in Alabama and among the nation's best in percentage of graduates accepted to medical, dental, and health-career programs; the college also ranks high nationally in graduates accepted to law school. In addition to its academic excellence, the college was highlighted by Reader's Digest as the nation's top liberal arts college for safety preparedness.[9]


Munger Hall

Birmingham–Southern's new Explorations curriculum moves general education away from a more traditional, “check-box” approach—which emphasizes disciplinary requirements—to one that stresses the importance of what students learn to do. This new pedagogy of doing is illustrated by requirements that guide students in learning how to communicate effectively, solve complex problems in creative ways, connect their coursework to the wider world, engage with their social and political world, and engage in self-directed teaching and learning. These are precisely the skills and perspectives that professional schools, graduate schools, and employers are seeking in today's increasingly complex and inter-connected world.

Courses of Study

The college currently offers five bachelor's degrees in more than 50 programs of study, as well as interdisciplinary and individualized majors and dual degree programs.

January Exploration Term

The college's January Exploration Term allows students to explore one topic through an intensive period of experiential learning. The January Term enhances liberal arts education through hands-on practical experience and in-depth, personal knowledge. Students may choose from on- and off-campus projects, independent study or research, group and individual study-travel experiences, and challenging internships.

Special programs

Donald C. Harrison Honors Program: Designed to engage students' intellectual curiosity, enhance their oral and written communications skills, and further develop their ability to think and study independently, the Donald C. Harrison Honors Program centers on small, interdisciplinary seminars developed specifically for Harrison Honors students.

Contract Learning: Under the guidance of a faculty member, students can contract a class, internship, or other learning experience to fit their interests. Students also have the option of contracting an individualized major, such as Human Rights in the Americas.

Entrepreneurship Program: Endowed by Kevin and Jane Stump, the college's Entrepreneurship Program offers internships, mentorship opportunities, scholarships, and classes focused on entrepreneurship. The Program also coordinates an annual speaker series; previous speakers include FedEX founder and CEO Fred Smith and Apprentice winner Bill Rancic.

Harbert Building

International Programs: The college's Sklenar Center for International Programs helps students include the world in their college career. In addition to guiding students in their study abroad experiences, the Sklenar Center provides assistance to foreign students and scholars and advises programs that encourage exploration of global issues.

Leadership Studies: Guided by the assumption that anyone can lead, the Leadership Studies Program, housed in the Hess Center for Leadership and Service, enables students to understand, analyze, and practice leadership. The Hess Center coordinates an academic program exploring the theoretical and practical aspects of leadership, paid internships at top nonprofit advocacy agencies, a leadership development program for first-year students, a speaker series, and a student journal on leadership and service.

Norton Board – Revitalized in 2013, the Edward Norton Lee Board is a network of over 200 professionals who offer internship and mentoring opportunities to students. The board is organized into the following committees that focus on career preparation for students: 1) the arts, 2) business and accounting, 3) education, 4) engineering and computer science, 5) health care, 6) law, and 7) nonprofit and government.[10]

Service-Learning: The college's service-learning program, coordinated by the Bunting Center for Engaged Study and Community Action, centers on ongoing partnerships with service agencies in Birmingham that address a range of needs. The Bunting Center also sponsors annual Exploration Term projects and alternative spring breaks that offer intensive service experiences in diverse settings.

Vail Fellowships: The Charles B. Vail College Fellows Program is an academic program of joint faculty/student research projects. Many of these projects lead to scholarly presentations and to joint publications. Some students receive academic credit for their projects; others receive a tuition stipend.


The campus is situated on 192 wooded acres three miles west of downtown Birmingham. The college has 45 academic, residential, administrative, and athletics buildings/facilities. Some highlights:

Elton B. Stephens Science Center: Housing the natural sciences, the 100,000-square-foot, $24.1 million Stephens Science Center is among the largest and most extensive science facilities on a small liberal arts campus in the country. Arthur J. Lidsky, a facilities planning consultant who has participated in the review and design of science facilities across the nation, including those of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Northwestern University, called the Stephens Science Center "... one of the finest examples of undergraduate science buildings in the country."[11]

Stephens Science Center

Norton Campus Center: The hub of campus, the Norton Campus Center houses the bookstore, cafeteria, post office, and student lounge areas as well as offices for student development, residence life, and counseling and health services.

Munger Memorial Hall: The architectural centerpiece of campus, Munger Hall, built in the 1920s, houses administrative offices and a 900-seat auditorium.

Berte Humanities Center: Named in honor of former BSC President Neal Berte, the Humanities Center opened in 2004 and houses the foreign languages lab, the academic resource center (ARC), and classrooms designed for BSC's small student-to-faculty ratio.

College Theatre: With a split-revolve-lift stage, the main theatre can host a variety of set designs.

Lakeview Residence Halls: The first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) residence halls in Alabama, Lakeview North and South opened in 2010 and offer suite-style living for upperclass students. [12]

Lakeview Dorm South

Hilltop Village Apartments: Recently renovated, the Hilltop Village apartment complex contains sixteen buildings that house approximately 350 students.

Urban Environmental Park: A place of relaxation as well as an academic laboratory, the Urban Environmental Park features a 1.5 acre lake, walking paths, and Wi-Fi internet.

N.E Miles Library: The N.E. Miles Library includes a collection of 257,000 volumes, 57,000 government documents, and more than 20,000 recordings, compact discs, and DVDs. More than 135 online databases provide access to the full text of over 40,000 periodicals and numerous e-books. The library also features an auditorium, study areas, conference rooms, and an electronic classroom.[13]

Striplin Fitness and Recreation Center: The main facility for campus recreation, Striplin features two basketball courts, an indoor jogging track, racquetball courts, a golf simulator, an indoor swimming pool, and strength training and cardiovascular workout rooms.

Southern Environmental Center: An environmental educational facility on the BSC campus, the Southern Environmental Center (SEC) is an award-winning interactive museum that hosts hundreds of schoolchildren each year. The SEC also maintains the college's EcoScape Garden, an organic garden on the western edge of campus.

Student life

Interest groups

Norton Campus Center

A sampling of the more than 80 student interest groups on campus:

Greek life

Urban Environmental Park

Fraternities and sororities organize campus social events and service projects.




Official Athletics logo

Birmingham–Southern athletic teams are known as the Panthers. Birmingham–Southern is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and competes at the Division III level in the Southern Athletic Association. the college was originally a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and enjoyed a successful run in NAIA prior to joining the NCAA. After three years as a Division I member, the college moved to Division III in 2006.[15] Panther Stadium, home to the college's football program, hosted its first home football game on November 8, 2008. The stadium features an athletic building that includes a press box, coaches' offices, meeting rooms, athletic training room, officials' dressing room, and locker rooms for football, lacrosse, track and field, and cross country. The college currently fields 22 sports, nine men's and nine women's, including:[16]

Notable alumni

College presidents

Edwards Bell Tower and the academic quad


  3. "Recent Accolades" page at - accessed June 22, 2008
  4. Accessed August 30, 2013.
  6. Retrieved November 25, 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. Council for Advancement and Support of Education. "Winners by Institution — Birmingham-Southern College". Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  9. Birmingham-Southern College. "The Norton Board". Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  10. Birmingham-Southern College. "The Elton B. Stephens Science Center". Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  11. Birmingham-Southern College. "Birmingham-Southern's new residence halls are first on a college campus in Alabama to achieve LEED certification". Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  12. Birmingham-Southern College. "About the BSC Library". Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  13. Birmingham-Southern College. "Student Organizations List". Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  14. "Birmingham-Southern to D-III: Why? A Q&A". May 26, 2006. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
  15. Birmingham-Southern College. "BSC Basics". Retrieved 26 November 2013.

Further reading

External links

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Coordinates: 33°30′54″N 86°51′11″W / 33.515°N 86.853°W / 33.515; -86.853

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