Samford University

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Samford University
Samford University logo.png
Former name
Howard College
Motto For God, For Learning, Forever
Type Private
Established 1841
Affiliation Alabama Baptist Convention
Endowment $277.5 million (June 2014)
Academic staff
Students 5,206 (Fall 2015)[1]
Undergraduates 3,168 (Fall 2015)
Postgraduates 2,038 (Fall 2015)
Location Homewood, Alabama, U.S.
Campus Suburban
Athletics 17 varsity teams
Colors Red and Blue
Nickname Bulldogs
Affiliations Southern Conference

Samford University is a private, coeducational university located in Homewood, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham.[1] In 1841, the university was founded as Howard College.[2] Samford University is the 87th oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.[3] Samford University is Alabama's top-ranked private university. The university enrolls 4,933 students from 44 states and 25 countries.[3] Samford University has been nationally ranked for academic programs, value and affordability by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, The Princeton Review and Colleges of Distinction.[2]

Bird's-eye view of the campus


19th century[edit]

In 1841, Samford University was founded as Howard College in Marion, Alabama.[4][5] Some of the land was donated by Reverend James H. DeVotie, who served on the Samford Board of Trustees for fifteen years and as its President for two years.[6][7] The first financial gift, $4,000, was given by Julia Tarrant Barron and both she and her son also gave land to establish the college.[8] The university was established after the Alabama Baptist State Convention decided to build a school for men in Perry County, Alabama. The college's first nine students began studies in January 1842 with a traditional curriculum of language, literature and sciences.[9] In October 1854, a fire destroyed all of the college's property, including its only building.[9][10] In those early years the graduation addresses of several distinguished speakers were published, including those by Thomas G. Keen of Mobile, Joseph Walters Taylor, Noah K. Davis and Samuel Sterling Sherman. While the college recovered from the fire, the Civil War began.[9] Howard College was converted to a military hospital by the Confederate government in 1863.[10] During this time, the college's remaining faculty offered basic instruction to soldiers recovering at the hospital.[9] For a short period after the war, federal troops occupied the college and sheltered freed slaves on its campus. In 1865 the college reopened. Howard College's board of trustees accepted real estate and funding from the city of Birmingham, Alabama in 1887.[11]

20th century[edit]

In 1913, the college became fully and permanently coeducational. Howard College added its School of Music in 1914 and School of Education and Journalism the following year. The college introduced its Department of Pharmacy in 1927. At the time, it was the only program of its kind in the Southeastern United States.[12] During World War II, Howard College hosted a V-12 Navy College Training Program, allowing enlisted sailors to earn college degrees while receiving military training.[9][13] The number of veterans attended the college after the war boosted enrollment beyond capacity. In result, the college was moved to the Shades Valley in Homewood, Alabama.[14] The new campus opened in 1957.[15] In 1961, the college acquired Cumberland School of Law, one of the nation's oldest law schools.[16] In addition to the law school, Howard College added a new school of business and reorganized to achieve university status in 1965.[9] Howard College was renamed in honor of Frank Park Samford, a longtime trustee of the school.[9] In 1973, the university acquired Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing.[17] Samford University established a study center for students to study abroad in Kensington, England in 1984.[18]

Civil rights[edit]

As a private, segregated institution, Samford University was to some degree insulated from the activities of leaders and protesters of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and early 1960s. The officers of the Samford Student Government Association challenged a segregated concert held on campus by the Birmingham Symphony by inviting as guests the student government officers of nearby Miles College,[19] a historically black school.

Segregation by private universities was ended by the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by the US Congress. Cumberland School of Law faced the greatest immediate risk of losing accreditation. In 1967, it admitted Samford's first black student, Audrey Lattimore Gaston.[20] The entire university proceeded with integration.[21]

21st century[edit]

Dr. Andrew Westmoreland was appointed president of the university in 2006.[22] That year, the Jane Hollock Brock Hall as part of the university’s fine arts complex. A new soccer and track facility opened in 2011, part of a decade-long expansion of new athletics facilities that included a tennis center, a basketball arena, a football field house and a softball stadium.[23] For the 2012–13 academic year, the economic and fiscal impacts of the university on Alabama were $335.21 million, 2,438 jobs, $8.5 million in state income and sales taxes, and $4.7 million in local sales tax. In 2013, the university established a new College of Health Sciences, including Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, the School of Health Professions and the School of Public Health.[24] The university announced the construction of a new facility to house Brock School of Business that year. In 2014, the West Village residence complex opened. That December, the university purchased the adjacent headquarters of Southern Progress, a subsidiary of Time, Inc., that houses the College of Health Sciences.[25][26]


Samford offers 32 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with 155 undergraduate majors, minors and concentrations.[27] The university is divided into the School of the Arts, Howard College of Arts and Science, Brock School of Business, Beeson Divinity School, Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education, Cumberland School of Law, Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, School of Health Professions and School of Public Health. The faculty-to-student ratio at Samford University is 1:12.[28] Approximately two-thirds of the university's classes have fewer than 20 students.[28]


In 2010, the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) recognized Brock School of Business as having the best new entrepreneurship program in the United States.[29] That year, USA Today and The Princeton Review selected Samford as one of the 50 "Best Value" private universities in the United States.[30] The U.S. News & World Report listed Samford #3 in the South for regional universities, #3 in the South for best undergraduate teaching and #12 in the South for best value in 2015.[28] That year, Forbes named Samford the top-rated university in Alabama.[31] U.S. News & World Report, "Best Graduate Schools" ranked Cumberland School of Law #6 in the nation for trial advocacy in its 2015 list.[32] In 2014, the Institute of International Education ranked Samford 22nd nationally among master's institutions for percentage of undergraduates who study abroad.[33] U.S News & World Report, Best Graduate Schools ranks Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing #24 in the nation for online nursing education that year.


Samford's campus has moved several times during its history. Originally, Howard College was located in Marion, Alabama, a black-belt town between Selma and Tuscaloosa; it is the birthplace of Coretta Scott King. In 1887, the college moved to the East Lake community in Birmingham.

The college—and now university—is located approximately 5 miles (8 km) south of downtown Birmingham in Homewood, Alabama's Shades Valley. The campus lies along Lakeshore Drive in Homewood, just 2 miles (3 km) from Interstate 65.

Besides its lush lawns and well-maintained gardens, Samford has a distinctive example of Georgian Colonial style architecture found in the United States. Samford's uniform style, based upon Colonial Williamsburg, was the vision of President Harwell Davis when he moved the campus to the Shades Valley area in 1953-55.[citation needed]

Student demographics[edit]

In 2015, Samford University enrolled 3,168 undergraduate and 2,038 graduate and professional students.[1] Students from 44 states and 25 countries attend Samford, with 66% of the undergraduate student body coming from outside the state of Alabama.[33] 98% of all May 2013 graduates from undergraduate programs were employed or enrolled in graduate school within seven months of graduation.[34]


Main article: Samford Bulldogs

The university fields 17 varsity sports and participates in the NCAA at the Division I level as a member of the Southern Conference.[33] Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis and indoor and outdoor track and field. Women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and volleyball.

In the NCAA's 2013 report, Samford student-athletes achieved an average Academic Progress Rate of 990, the highest in Alabama.[35] It marked the eighth consecutive year that Samford has been a leader in APR measures, beginning in 2005 when it placed 7th in the nation in the inaugural ranking.[35] The university is one of only 61 schools to have received an NCAA Public Recognition Award for academic excellence in the past eight years.[36]

The Bulldogs have won 18 conference championships since joining the Southern Conference in 2008.[36] Twenty former student-athletes have been drafted into professional sports.[36] Past student-athletes include national-championship football coaches Bobby Bowden[37] and Jimbo Fisher[38] All-Pro defensive back Cortland Finnegan[39] and two 2014 baseball draftees, Ty Filliben and Tripp Martin.[40]

International collaborations[edit]

Samford has partnerships with the following international universities and programs:

Notable alumni[edit]

The university has more than 46,000 alumni, including U.S. congressmen, seven state governors, two U.S. Supreme Court justices, four Rhodes Scholars, multiple Emmy and Grammy award-winning artists, two national championship football coaches, and recipients of the Pulitzer and Nobel Peace prizes.[41] The Samford University Alumni Association counts more than 27,000 graduates among its membership. Some notable alumni include:

Politics and Government[edit]

Arts and Letters[edit]



  • Bobby Bowden, head football coach, Florida State University (1976–2009), national champion (1993, 1999); College Football Hall of Fame (2006)
  • Marv Breeding (1952), MLB player
  • Cortland Finnegan, player, National Football League— Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins (2006–14); Carolina Panthers (2015-present) Pro Bowl (2009)
  • Jennifer Pharr Davis, record-setting long distance hiker and author
  • Jimbo Fisher, head football coach, Florida State University (2010–present); national champion (2013)
  • Sam Goldman, former NFL player
  • Slick Lollar, former NFL player
  • Travis Peterson, European FIBA player
  • Marc Salyers, European FIBA player
  • Corey White, player, National Football League—New Orleans Saints (2012–2014); Dallas Cowboys (2015-present)
  • Jaquiski Tartt, player, National Football League—San Francisco 49ers (2015–present)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Garrison, Greg (August 28, 2015). "Samford University posts record enrollment". Alabama Media Group. Retrieved September 29, 2015.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "al" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b "Samford University" (PDF). Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Samford University by the Numbers". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  4. ^ Harris, W. Stuart (1991). Heritage of Perry County. Marion, Alabama: Perry County Historical and Preservation Society. pp. 70–92. 
  5. ^ Wilson, Mabel Ponder (1973). Some Early Alabama Churches. Marion, Alabama: Alabama Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. pp. 134–144. ISBN 978-0-88428-029-3. 
  6. ^ Samford University: DeVotie Legacy Society
  7. ^ Mitchell Bennett Garrett, William R. Snell, Janet Snell, Sixty Years of Howard College, 1842-1902, Howard College, 1927, p. 19 [1]
  8. ^ Flynt, Wayne (1998). Alabama Baptists: Southern Baptists in the Heart of Dixie. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press. pp. 58–59. ISBN 978-0-8173-0927-5. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "Samford University". July 7, 2008. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Marion Military Institute". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "History of the McWhorter School of Pharmacy". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Howard College Navy V-12 Program cadets at Berry Field". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Samford University". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Then and Now". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  16. ^ Eric Velasco (April 8, 2012). "Cumberland School of Law celebrates 50 years at Samford University". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  17. ^ "History". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Timeline of Major Accomplishments During the Presidency of Thomas E. Corts". May 2005. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  19. ^ Flynt, Wayne Flynt (2011). Keeping the Faith: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives. University of Alabama Press. p. 113. ISBN 0817317546. Retrieved December 2013. 
  20. ^ Flynt, Wayne Flynt (2011). Keeping the Faith: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives. University of Alabama Press. p. 116. ISBN 0817317546. Retrieved December 2013. 
  21. ^[dead link]
  22. ^ Ginny Cooper (November 12, 2013). "Westmoreland is March of Dimes Citizen of the Year". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  23. ^ Mary Wimberley (December 16, 2014). "Samford Opens New Track/Soccer Stadium". 
  24. ^ Mike Oliver (February 26, 2013). "Samford University boosts its health care profile creating new College of Health Sciences". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Samford University intends to buy Southern Progress campus from Time Inc.". November 3, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Samford closes on $58 million purchase of Southern Progress HQ". January 7, 2015. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Academics and Research". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  28. ^ a b c "Samford University". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Entrepreneurship Education Award Winners". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  30. ^ "USA Today and Princeton Review Name Samford One of Top 50 Best Value Private Schools". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  31. ^ Jason Frost (July 31, 2014). "Which Birmingham school topped Forbes' list of best Alabama universities?". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Best Grad Schools-Trial Advocacy". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  33. ^ a b c "Key Facts". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Alumni". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  35. ^ a b "Samford Teams Post High APR Scores". June 20, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  36. ^ a b c "Samford Athletics". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  37. ^ Tom Annino (September 21, 2014). "Bobby Bowden gives us his take on Jameis Winston". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  38. ^ Tom D'Angelo (September 3, 2010). "FSU's Jimbo Fisher has deep roots at Samford and close ties to Terry Bowden". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Samford's Cortland Finnegan gets 5-year, $50 million deal with Rams". March 14, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Samford Baseball Program". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Samford University". Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Wil Haygood, "A Path All His Own For Eric Motley, the Measure of a Man Isn't His Politics", The Washington Post, 11 Jun 2006); Page A01". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  43. ^ "Thomas, Lee Emmett". Louisiana Historical Association, A Directory of Louisiana Biography ( Retrieved December 29, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°27′57″N 86°47′32″W / 33.46570°N 86.79214°W / 33.46570; -86.79214