Oct. 25, 1968
The first 14 members of the Alabama Academy of Honor were announced on Oct. 25, 1968, and inducted on Aug. 25, 1969. Each year, 10 members may be elected by the academy until its membership reaches 100. All living governors are automatically members of the academy.
Inspired by the Missouri Academy of Squires, UAB biochemistry professor Emmett Carmichael got the idea of creating an honorary society of living Alabamians in 1965 and proposed his plan to Gov. George Wallace. A bill was passed to create the academy during that legislative session, and Wallace signed it into law on Oct. 29, 1965. Little progress was made toward the establishment of the academy until 1968 when Gov. Albert Brewer agreed to appoint a nominating committee.
The first class included Winton Blount, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Jim Folsom Sr., A.G. Gaston, Lister Hill, Thomas Moorer, John Patterson, Frank Rose, Frank Samford Sr., Bertha Smolian, John Sparkman, Wernher von Braun, Wallace and Brewer.
For more on Alabama’s bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.