University of North Alabama Honors Alumni With Building Names

Dec. 13, 2017

Bryan Rachal,

University Communications


FLORENCE, Ala. – Members of the University of North Alabama Board of Trustees have decided to honor two alumni by naming two buildings on campus after them.

The University Commons will now be known as the Wendell W. Gunn University Commons in honor of Wendell Wilkie Gunn ’65.

In addition, the UNA Science and Technology building will become the Mitchell Burford Science and Technology Building, in honor of Dr. A. Mitchell Burford Jr. ’51. 

Gunn holds the distinction as being the first African-American student to enroll at the University of North Alabama under its predecessor name of Florence State College.  After graduation, Gunn had a prestigious career with many personal and professional achievements in science, finance, politics, and as an independent business owner.

According to the resolution, “Gunn epitomizes the traits of perseverance and integrity that cross social, racial, and cultural backgrounds and that the University desires for all students as a means to academic and future success.”

Burford, who passed away in March, held a deep affection for UNA during his long andprestigious career in the medical field.  He also holds the distinction of being the University’s largest individual private donor to date, with total gifts totaling more than $4 million.

The resolution stated, “We continue to applaud and be thankful for Dr. Burford’s philanthropic spirit that he demonstrated through a variety of financial gifts to the University, including substantial contributions during his lifetime and through an estate gift in direct support of the new science and technology building that opened in 2015.”

Events related to renaming the buildings will take place in 2018.

For more information on naming opportunities at UNA:



The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, and the Anderson College of Nursing. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Tuscumbia, Sheffield and Muscle Shoals. UNA also operates a renowned collegiate athletic program in NCAA Division II's Gulf South Conference.  The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age or national origin.