College Choices in Alabama

University of South Alabama College
USA is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. With missions of teaching, research, health care and service, USA is the regional leader in high-quality and accessible undergraduate, graduate and professional education. Enrollment tops 15, 000, and it is among the fastest-growing in Alabama. USA has awarded more than 75, 000 degrees.

USA has educated more than 2, 400 physicians, 18, 200 teachers and school administrators, 11, 200 business and accounting professionals, 9, 400 nurses, 5, 100 allied health professionals and 6, 800 engineering and computer science professionals, among many others.

Recent campus improvements include:

  • Shelby Hall, the new high-tech home to the College of Engineering and the School of Computing
  • Health Sciences building, housing the Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions and the College of Nursing
  • Student Recreation Center, a 116, 000-square-foot building with facilities for aerobics, weights, spinning, basketball, racquetball, indoor track, indoor and outdoor pools, saunas and rock climbing.
  • Stokes Hall, a four-story, 330-room residence hall with space for resident faculty and learning communities.
  • Dining hall, a 20, 000-square-foot facility adjacent to the residence halls that seats 500.
  • Moulton Tower and Alumni Plaza, a monument that honors the university’s alumni, serves as a central gathering place for campus and community events.
  • Visual Arts Complex, a 5, 000-square-foot glass arts facility that houses the state’s only glass-blowing program
  • USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital expansion, at 195, 000 square feet it nearly doubles the size of the hospital
  • Student Center and Bookstore renovation
  • College of Medicine laboratory building. Still in the planning stages, the building will be financed with a $14.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support research on prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
  • Football Field House, with weight rooms and training rooms, includes the Jim and Frances Yance Coaches Suite
  • Meisler Hall, a central location for all student services

USA also draws research and grant funding for issues from health care to alternative energy. In 2012, USA brought in $57 million. It is among the nation’s top earners in licensing revenue, bringing in $1.9 million last year, with 16 invention disclosures submitted, 10 U.S. patents filed and three licenses/options executed.

The Rites of Passage sculpture, representing emergence into adulthood, was commissioned and donated by alumni and trustees John and Mary Lou Barter and dedicated in 2005, at Spring Hill College’s 175th anniversary celebration. It is the work of American artist Claire McArdle.

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Photo courtesy of Spring Hill College

Spring Hill College
Founded in 1830, Spring Hill is the oldest Catholic college in the Southeast, the third oldest Jesuit college and the fifth oldest Catholic college in the U.S. It has 1, 328 students. Its master in science in nursing program earned a Best Online Programs designation from U.S. News & World Report this year, and it is consistently ranked among the magazine’s top 20 Southern colleges and universities.

Spring Hill has added track and field to its athletics program, and plans to add competitive cheerleading and dance next year. The college has invested more than $100 million in capital improvements in the last 12 years.

University of Mobile
For many years, the University of Mobile has been named one of “America’s Best Christian Colleges, ” and “America’s 100 Best College Buys.” Affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention, it was chartered in 1961 as Mobile College.

The school has about 1, 700 students, and offers master’s, bachelor’s and associate’s degrees. In 2012, it opened a new residence hall – The Timbers – one of three built during the past eight years to meet the continuing demand for campus housing. The new apartments bring on-campus housing to 655 units.

Victory Media this year named University of Mobile a military friendly school. The school recently added a new class in forensic sciences. The school also has added a new Center for Christian Leadership.

Bishop State Community College believes education is essential to the economic, social, environmental and political well being of the individual, the community and the state.

Bishop State Community College
With nearly 3, 800 students, Bishop has four campuses within the city limits of Mobile and five off-campus sites located in Mobile and Washington counties.
Bishop State offers courses that lead to associate of arts and associate of science degrees, along with technical and occupational programs.

Recent improvements include a $4.5 million renovation of the Southwest campus, and a nearly $1 million renovation of the Carver campus. Under construction is a $393, 000 main campus administration building renovation, a $1.2 million Caldwell-Richardson building on the main campus renovation and a $1.3 million baseball and fast-pitch softball complex on the Southwest campus.

Bishop has added a scientific leadership program and is active in workforce development. With the arrival of Airbus, Bishop President James Lowe Jr. says the college will work closely with the aircraft company to help meet its needs of being able to hire well-trained and skilled locals.

Mobile Aviation Center
The Alabama Aviation Center is an arm of Enterprise State Community College, located at Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, and offers the state’s only aviation maintenance program. It has 240 students, but can double as evening classes are offered.

The center offers programs in aviation maintenance and avionics, says Kyle Cook, director.

“Our enrollment went up 60 percent since the Airbus announcement, and we are working to add people and classes as we can per FAA regulations, ” says Cook. “Students in dual enrollment can complete high school and come to us having completed half of the program we have here.”

The Mobile center will add an advanced composite program and a new hangar.

ITT Technical Institute
ITT, opened in 1969, provides technology-oriented programs of study. ITT offers degrees in seven schools of study, from information technology to business, and blends traditional academic content with practical study in a lab environment. There are 130 campuses in 38 states.

Virginia College
Virginia College, with campuses in Mobile and across nine states, offers certificate and diploma programs in business, cosmetology, culinary and healthcare fields.

Blue Cliff Career College
Blue Cliff offers training in massage therapy, esthetics and cosmetology.

Fortis College
Fortis, with campuses in Mobile and across 14 states, offers programs in beauty, wellness and healthcare.

Remington College
Remington’s Mobile campus focuses on process technology, computer-aided design and drafting, computer and network administration, cosmetology, medical technical fields and criminal justice.

Text by Lori Chandler Pruitt

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