Marion Military Institute


MMI Mission Statement
Marion Military Institute, a two-year public institution, educates and trains the Corps of Cadets in order that each graduate is prepared for success at four-year institutions, including the service academies, with emphasis on providing intellectual, moral-ethical, physical-athletic, and leadership development experiences in a military environment.

MMI History
Marion Military Institute (MMI) is the oldest military junior college in the nation and traces its origin back to 1842. During the Civil War, the MMI Chapel and Lovelace Hall were used as Breckinridge Military Hospital, treating both Union and Confederate soldiers. Both are still in use today. MMI operated as Howard College until 1887. The Alabama Baptist Convention then decided to move Howard College (which later became known as Samford University) to Birmingham, Alabama. At the time of the move, the president of Howard, Colonel James T. Murfee, along with several of the faculty and supported by the Trustees, chose to remain on the old campus. Their intention was to operate a school for young men. In 1887, they established Marion Military Institute, and a charter was granted in 1889 by the State of Alabama. The school was a non-profit institution, controlled neither by church nor state. Instead, a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees would govern its affairs.

Although established as a military school, Hopson O. Murfee, MMI’s second president, changed the emphasis following the turn of the twentieth century. The literature of the period expresses the idea that Marion was destined to become the “Eton of the South”. H.O. Murfee was one of the foremost advocates of a student run government which focused on honor and ethics within the student body. Because of this, MMI was one of the first schools in the south to establish a student government association as well as an honor system, both of which are still very much a part of the Corps today. Under Murfee’s leadership the school achieved national recognition. William Howard Taft, President of the United States, served as President of the Board of Trustees. Woodrow Wilson was the featured speaker at the convocation held in the MMI Chapel in 1905. Following his appearance, the school colors were changed to orange and black, and the tiger was adopted as the mascot in tribute to Dr. Wilson, who was President of Princeton University at the time.

The plan to pattern MMI after the great English public schools, however, was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. The ROTC program was introduced in 1916, establishing the Early Commissioning Program and paving the way for the Service Academy Prep Program. The military nature of the school was again stressed. MMI slowly evolved into a military high school and two-year junior college, and remains a two-year junior college today.

Up until World War II, the campus consisted of primarily two buildings; the Chapel and Old South (Lovelace) Barracks. During the period that followed WWII, the President, Colonel J.T. Murfee, II, introduced a major building program. The Alumni Memorial Gymnasium was constructed along with the Chemistry Building, now John G. Monteabaro Hall, and two modern barracks, north (Wilkerson) and west (Murfee). Such building was not seen again until the 1960’s, when Colonel Paul B. Robinson embarked on a construction program that included the academic wings, Baer Memorial Library, Trustees Hall, the Excess House, and a golf course. The MMI campus currently encompasses over 160 acres and includes the William R. Ireland Athletic Complex, James W. Rane Barracks, the Lynn M. and Sherwood C. Middlebrooks, Jr. Fine Arts Building, the Scott G. Davis Baseball Field, the Soldier’s Field for Women’s Softball, the David J. Robinson Memorial Stadium, and the Paul B. Anderson Tennis Complex.

On March 8, 2006, Alabama Governor Bob Riley signed Senate Bill #364 making MMI a member of the Alabama Community College System and the Department of Post-Secondary Education. This merger with the state is permitting MMI to expand its academic programs, restore its facilities, and grow the staff and faculty to accommodate increased enrollment.

Marion Military Institute will continue to transform itself through initiatives which will create comprehensive excellence, innovative leadership, and strategic alliances. MMI will broaden the range of rigorous and relevant academic programs; recruit quality cadets, faculty, and staff; increase enrollment; and expand its commitment to superior infrastructure, including modern technology. This transformative process will enhance MMI’s nationally recognized position as a unique, premier two-year college pre-eminent in military training and dedicated to the success of all cadets.

For further historical information concerning Marion Military Institute, please view the MMI Archives Blog from  A component of the MMI Foundation, the MMI Archives preserves the rich tradition and culture of the Institute.