The President’s Mansion is one of the oldest and most recognized buildings on campus. As the official residence of the University’s president, it stands in across from Denny Chimes as a symbol of the historical legacy of The University of Alabama.
When Reverend Basil Manly accepted the post as president in 1838, the Board of Trustees appointed a committee to gather the required funds for a presidential home. As the original design plans for the campus had been taken by the architect when he left the state, the committee members had to look at the already constructed buildings and form a design plan from them. In the end, the mansion was built in the area which had been designated as the future medical school grounds.
The President’s Mansion is one of the few buildings that survived the burning of the campus in 1865 because of Mrs. Louisa Frances Garland, wife of the 3rd University president Landon C. Garland. Upon learning that the campus was burning, she left Bryce Hospital where everyone had taken shelter and raced back to the mansion to defend her property. Her strength of will and presence of mind stopped the Federal Army from destroying the mansion and the young union soldiers even worked to put out the fire they had already started at the place.
The mansion, which has undergone a number of restorations, assumed its current appearance in 1908. The president's quarters are on the third floor, while the bottom two floors are used for gatherings and receptions.
Below is a list of the past presidents of The University of Alabama.
- Alva Woods (1831-1837)
- Basil Manly (1837-1855)
- Landon Cabell Garland (1855-1865)
(University under reconstruction: 1865-1870)
- William Russell Smith (1870-1871)
- Matthew F. Maury (1871)
- Nathaniel Thomas Lupton (1871-1874)
- Carlos Green Smith (1874-1878)
- Josiah Gorgas (1878-1879)
William Stokes Wyman - Acting (1879-1880)
- Burwell Boykin Lewis (1880-1885)
William Stokes Wyman - Acting (1885-1886)
- Henry DeLamar Clayton (1886-1889)
William Stokes Wyman - Acting (1889-1890)
- Richard Channing Jones (1890-1897)
- James Knox Powers (1897-1901)
- William Stokes Wyman (1901-1902)
- John William Abercrombie (1902-1911)
- George Hutcheson Denny (1911-1936)
- Richard Clarke Foster (1937-1941)
- George Hutcheson Denny (1941-1942)
- Raymon Ross Paty (1942-1947)
Ralph E. Adams - Acting (1947-1948)
- John Morin Gallalee (1948-1953)
Lee Bidgood - Acting (1953)
- Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1953-1957)
James H. Newman - Acting (1957-1958)
- Frank Anthony Rose (1958-1969)
- F. David Mathews (1969-1980)
Richard Ashley Thigpen - Acting (1975-1977)
Howard B. Gundy - Acting (1980-1981)
- Joab Langston Thomas (1981-1988)
- E. Roger Sayers (1988-1996)
- Andrew A. Sorensen (1996-2002)
J. Barry Mason - Interim (2002-2003)
- Robert E. Witt (2003-2012)
Judy L. Bonner - Interim (2012)
- Guy Bailey (2012)
- Judy L. Bonner (2012-2015)
- Stuart R. Bell (2015-Present)
To view portraits of past presidents, visit the W.S. Hoole Presidential Portrait web site.
Courtesy of the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library
Information collected from The University of Alabama : a guide to the campus by Robert Oliver Mellown (Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, c1988), and The University of Alabama, a pictorial history by Suzanne Rau Wolfe (University : University of Alabama Press, c1983). Historical images are courtesy of the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama and are reproduced with permission.