Keller Hall was designed at the same time and in the same style as other buildings on campus, such as Willingham Hall and the President's House. It was designed in the Gothic Revival style to coordinate with those and earlier buildings, such as Wesleyan and Bibb Graves Hall.
Due to America's entrance into World War II, construction on most projects not related to the war effort ceased until the war's end. Therefore, construction on Keller Hall did not begin until after 1945. It was completed in 1947.
The Raburn Wing was added to the structure in 2002 for additional classroom space and is named for 1954 alumnus Herbert L. Raburn. Raburn's firm in Birmingham became the largest locally owned certified public accounting firm in Alabama. In addition to contributing significantly to the construction of the Raburn Wing, Raburn endowed the Raburn Eminent Scholar Chair.
Though constructed several years apart, Keller Hall, Willingham Hall, and the President's House are all similar in appearance. They feature brick and limestone, Gothic arches, steeply pitched roofs, and narrow windows, all details typical of the Gothic Revival style. Though less prevalent in residential construction in the early twentieth century, the Gothic Revival style continued as a popular choice for churches and other public buildings at this time.
James Albert Keller was the president of Florence State Teachers' College from 1938 until his untimely death in 1948.
Keller was from Hanceville, Cullman County, Alabama, and taught first grade there before enrolling at Florence State Teachers' College. He graduated in 1915 and went on to serve as principal at a public school in Arkadelphia, Cullman County, before serving as superintendent of eduacation in Cullman and Covington Counties. An article in The Cullman Democrat describes Keller, "His sturdy and reliable manner calculate for him renowned success as an educational worker., and his efforts will, no doubt, lead to much good to the educational advancement of the communities of which his work may be apportioned."
In 1938, following his predecessor Henry J. Willingham, Keller returned to Florence State Teachers' College as president. During his tenure, Keller was responsible for numerous building projects, many of which he secured federal funds for through New Deal agencies. The college's enrollment doubled during his time as additional majors were added to the curriculum, moving the college towards becoming a university.
In 1948, President Keller and his wife, Mariglen Cornelius Keller, were tragically killed in a car accident in neighboring Tuscumbia, Alabama, when their car was struck by a train.
Today, UNA remembers Keller and honors his legacy by awarding a graduating student or students who have the highest grade point average with the Keller Key.