*In-state, two semesters' tuition and required fees. Source: U.S. News Best Colleges 2012.
Established in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College, the school became the first land-grant college in the South and was renamed the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. The name changed to the Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1899 and finally to Auburn University in 1960.
Town: Auburn, Ala. (pop. 53,380)
Nickname: Tigers, from Oliver Goldsmith’s line, “where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey …”
Colors: Burnt orange and Navy blue
Traditions: War Eagle, Auburn’s battle cry, has multiple origin stories. The most popular dates back to a Civil War veteran who brought his pet eagle to the 1892 Auburn-Georgia game. The bird circled the playing field as the Tigers marched to victory. Rolling Toomer’s Corner (pictured) follows an Auburn win when fans gather at the famous intersection to celebrate by hurling tissue into the trees.
Eats and treats: Barbecue House, the oldest restaurant in the city, offers barbecue beef, pork and chicken. The locals love Mrs. Story’s Dairy Bar in adjacent Opelika, Ala., which serves only hot dogs and ice cream.
Places and spaces: Once home to Colonel Nathaniel J. Scott, Pebble Hill now houses the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities, which hosts art, history and literature programs.
Correction: A previous version of this story listed Lionel Richie as an Auburn alumnus, which we were unable to confirm.
The intersection of Magnolia Avenue and College Street in Auburn, Ala., is known as Toomer's Corner, where fans celebrate significant victories by "decorating" the massive southern oak trees with toilet paper.