School: Alabama A&M

Location: Normal, AL

Founded: 1875

The University was organized in 1875 as the result of a bill passed in the State Legislature in 1873 and through the continued efforts of its first principal and president, William Hooper Council, an ex-slave. Industrial education was introduced around 1878. American Idol runner-up Ruben Studdard and avant-garde jazz musician Sun Ra both attended Alabama A&M; unfortunately Sun Ra passed before the two could collaborate (and potentially knock the music world off its collective axis).