1909 The Arkansas Legislature passed Act 100, authorizing the establishment of four district agricultural boarding schools, one in each quadrant of the state, giving rural children access to a high school education. Columbia County’s citizens raised funds to locate one of the schools at Magnolia.
1910 Old Main, Dining Hall, Holt, and Jackson Halls were constructed.
1911 Third District Agricultural School (TDAS) opened its doors a mile north of the city of Magnolia, in Columbia County, Arkansas. McCrary and Caraway Halls were constructed two years later.
1912 The football team chose the Mulerider name.
1914-21 E. E. Austin served as president. Curriculum emphasized agriculture for males and home economics for females. Coursework also included literature, history, and science.
1919 The Muleriders had their first unbeaten football season. Dolph Camp, later to become the president of Southern State College (now SAU), played center on this team.
1921-45 Charles A. Overstreet served as the last principal of TDAS and the first president of Magnolia A&M.
1922 The yearbook was renamed The Mulerider.
1923 A student newspaper, the Bray, began.
1925 Act 45 made TDAS the State Agricultural and Mechanical College, Third District. Most commonly referred to as Magnolia A&M, it was a two-year junior college.
1926 A National Guard Armory was constructed on campus. This facility was also used for A&M classes, basketball games, and plays. Students earned money to attend school as members of guard companies. Students and the Magnolia guard companies participated in U.S. wars from 1917 to 2009.
1929 The North Central Association accredited A&M.
1931 College student enrollment exceeded that of high school students for first time. High school classes ended in 1937.
1936-37 The New Deal’s WPA constructed Cross Hall and Nelson Hall. A&M students built the Greek Theatre.
1937 Sultan’s Magnolia Belle gained nationwide recognition for milk and butter fat production and was awarded a gold medal as national champion by the American Jersey Cattle Club.
1944 Overstreet Hall’s construction began in 1940 and was completed in 1944.
1945-50 Colonel Charles S. Wilkins served as president. Bussey Hall, Childs Hall, and Wilkins Stadium were constructed.
1950-59 Dr. Dolph Camp served as president. Dolph Camp Fine Arts Building, Graham Hall, Peace Library, and the President’s home were constructed. A Counseling Center was also established.
1951 Act 45 renamed A&M Southern State College (SSC), a four-year liberal arts college.
1951-52 Coach Elmer Smith’s Mulerider football teams won back-to-back Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) championships.
1955 The North Central Association awarded SSC accreditation. Dr. Camp proclaimed a two-day holiday for faculty and students.
1955-56 The first tentative steps were taken toward integration of the college with admission of the first black undergraduate. Full integration was achieved only after 1964.
1959-76 Dr. Imon E. Bruce served as president. He conducted the largest building program in history of the institution – new gymnasium, new student center (now Bruce Center), Graham Annex (later Honor’s South Hall), Greene Hall, Harrod Hall, Harton Theater, Magale Library, National Guard Armory, the Physical Plant, Talbot Hall, Talley Hall, Wharton Nursing Building, and Wilson Hall. Many original campus buildings were removed.
1966-67 Coach W. T. Watson’s basketball teams won back-to-back AIC championships.
1965-83 Coach Margaret Downing’s women’s basketball teams won eight state and conference championships.
1970 Fraternities were established for the first time.
1972 Coach Rip Powell’s Mulerider football team won the AIC championship.
1974 Master of Education degrees were instituted.
1975 A Branch campus was established in El Dorado and control assumed of Southwest Technical Institute in Camden for a three-branch SAU system. SAU El Dorado Branch became an independent community college in 1991. The Camden school remained an SAU branch community college, SAU Tech.
1976 Southern State College became Southern Arkansas University. Four schools were organized: Business, Education, Liberal and Performing Arts, and Science and Technology.
1976-91 Dr. Harold T. Brinson served as president.
1980 The first Murphy Lecture was delivered.
1980-03 Coach Steve Goodheart’s baseball teams won nineteen championships, the most in school history, and played three times in the NAIA World Series.
1984 Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton delivered spring commencement address.
1984 Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke on campus for Democratic presidential candidate.
1985 The first Amfuel Lecture was delivered.
1988 Water Tower was first decorated as an illuminated holiday candle.
1991 Brinson Art Building was completed.
1991 The Joe D. and Deane Reid Woodward Visiting Artist series was established.
1991 The Faculty Senate began.
1992-01 Dr. Steven G. Gamble served as president. Brinson Art Building, Cross Hall, Dolph Camp Fine Arts Building, and Nelson Hall remodeled. The gym (named for W. T. Watson) was expanded into the Dr. Kathryn Smith Brown HKR Complex. Last original campus buildings removed.
1993 Business/Agriculture-Business Building completed.
1994 The first Emerson-Thomas-Crone Lectureship was instituted with an address by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
1995 Southern Arkansas University became member of the NCAA Division II and joined the Gulf South Conference.
1996 The inaugural Walz Lecture in History was delivered.
1997 The Muleriders led by Coach Steve Roberts won their first Gulf South Championship in football.
2002 Dr. David F. Rankin was selected as President.
2002-09 Dr. Rankin’s Blue and Gold Vision launched the second greatest building program in school history that included the Reynolds Center, Honors and East Halls (later renamed Fincher Hall), University Village, Band Hall, a Wharton Nursing Building addition, Mulerider Stables, lights for baseball field and a remodeled Wilkins Stadium, including artificial turf with Mulerider Logo. The Mulerider Activities Building and a Science & Technology Center were to be completed in 2010. Plans were laid for an Agricultural Center. Alumni made donations of marble fountain, walking trail, and monumental signs.
2003 The Welcome Center at the President’s former home was established for the Alumni Association and SAU Foundation. Mulegating began there prior to football games.
2003 An Honors Program began.
2004 The Donald W. Reynolds Campus and Community Service Center was completed.
2004 The Dr. Kathleen Mallory Distinguished Lecture series began.
2004-08 Master’s degrees were instituted in agriculture, business, computer science, and public administration along with new programs in master’s of education degrees. Academic reorganization included inauguration of Colleges of Business, Education, Liberal & Performing Arts, and Science & Technology, and a School of Graduate Studies.
2005 The Farmers Bank Lecture series began.
2005 Acquisition of the Governor Ben Laney farm doubled campus acreage, the largest expansion of land holdings since 1910.
2006 The Muleriders won their first Gulf South Championship in baseball. A second title was followed in 2009.
2009 Centennial celebrations included Governor Mike Beebe’s re-enactment of signing Act 100 (1909) at the state capitol; first Founders Day at SAU on April 1; free concert by country western star Tracy Lawrence, a former SAU student; Great SAU Mule Ride to re-enact 1912 football’s team’s trips to away games; a Boomtown Classic football game in El Dorado with traditional arch-foe, the University of Arkansas at Monticello, originally also one of four state agriculture schools established in 1909; and Book signing for James F. Willis, Southern Arkansas University: The Mulerider School’s Centennial History, 1909-2009 (2009).