The year 1945 was pivotal for UA and the art department. After Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (better known as the “GI Bill”) at the end of World War II, schools around the country, including The University of Alabama, prepared for a large influx of new students as soldiers returned. In 1945, newly hired professor Richard Zoellner established a printmaking concentration in art at Alabama, one of only two schools in the Southeast that offered it. Also, that year, the department began to offer the professional degree for artists: the Bachelor of Fine Arts. In September of 1945, amidst other announcements about higher education across the nation, the New York Times ran a short notice:

   Recognizing the growing demand for professional training in art in addition to the art program generally offered by Southern colleges on a cultural basis, the University of Alabama has instituted a curriculum leading to the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts. The university, which plans to erect a new Fine Arts building after the war, is setting up temporary headquarters for the enlarged department. There will be five studios, two classrooms, six offices and a large gallery.

[Loupe Spring 2015]