Huntingdon College was founded by the state of Alabama in 1854, originally as a women’s college, but the institution as it stands now really begins after the Civil War, when the struggling college was taken over by the Methodist Episcopal Church (now the United Methodist Church). The church moved the women’s college to the capital city of Montgomery, AL, and eventually renamed in honor of the Countess of Huntingdon, a patron of John Wesley (founder of Methodism). Today, Huntingdon is a coed, private liberal arts college long recognized as a top regional institution by U.S. News & World Report, and with the student body nearly doubling in the past decade, Huntingdon is one of the fastest-growing colleges in the nation.
Huntingdon is a largely residential, undergraduate liberal arts college in the liberal arts tradition. As a Methodist institution, Huntingdon puts particular importance on its deep church connections and its Christian heritage; the Huntingdon curriculum seeks to united the classical humanities and sciences with Judeo-Christian values and faith. More than 30 liberal arts majors and minors combine with nearly a dozen pre-professional tracks, including engineering, medicine, law, and theology/ministry, which prepare students for graduate education in a professional field. A student:faculty ratio of 13:1 means that students are able to get the kind of academic and spiritual guidance from faculty that the Huntingdon mission promises.
Since 2002, Huntingdon has also made steps to reach out and meet the needs of Alabama’s working adults with the Evening Studies Program. Evening courses held at eleven locations throughout Alabama give working adults who have some college credits and a B-average the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degree in a convenient way. Accelerated, once-weekly class meetings allow adult students to complete a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months. At this time, evening students can choose a Business Management or Criminal Justice bachelor’s program, as well as a Religion minor, but programs are growing in popularity and potential.
Huntingdon is the academic home of just over 1100 students, most of whom are traditional residential students. While most students come from Alabama, 30 other states are represented, and international students add representation from several foreign nations. Since the turn of the 21st century, Huntingdon’s enrollment has risen by 88% – much from the Evening Studies program, but mostly traditional-aged students. That means Huntingdon’s student life has expanded greatly, and students have many options for occupying themselves when not in class.
Huntingdon is an engaged part of Montgomery life, and with its Christian background, community service is major part of student activities; Huntingdon has been recognized by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, after all. But Huntingdon students also take part in more than 50 student-led organizations, as well as Greek Life. Huntingdon has numerous musical ensembles and choirs, an active drama program, and sponsors the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The Huntingdon Hawks participate in 15 NCAA Division III sports. And, for the right kind of student, there is always the opportunity to watch for the Red Lady – a legendary ghost that haunts Pratt Hall, a former residence building that now houses student organizational offices.