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Forrest Gump attended the University of Alabama and played in the football team, having impressed Coach Bear Bryant with his amazing ability to run. While there, he witnesses the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door by Governor George Wallace.

In the film, Forrest attended the university for five years. Since the usual college experience is four years, it is implied that he had to stay another year due to academic troubles of some sort. In the novel, Forrest flunks out of the university after one semester, with a failing grade in remedial English and an F in physical education (but, to Bryant's surprise, an A in Intermediate Light, a graduate physics class).