|Motto||For God, For Learning, Forever|
|Affiliation||Alabama Baptist Convention|
|Endowment||$259.5 million (2015)|
|Students||5,206 (Fall 2015)|
|Undergraduates||3,168 (Fall 2015)|
|Postgraduates||2,038 (Fall 2015)|
|Location||Homewood, Alabama, U.S.|
|Colors||Blue and Red
|NCAA Division I – Southern Conference|
Samford University is a private, coeducational university located in Homewood, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. In 1841, the university was founded as Howard College. Samford University is the 87th oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford University is Alabama's top-ranked private university. The university enrolls 5,206 students from 46 states and 32 countries. Samford University has been nationally ranked for academic programs, value and affordability by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, The Princeton Review and Colleges of Distinction.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Rankings
- 4 Campus
- 5 Student demographics
- 6 Athletics
- 7 International collaborations
- 8 Notable alumni
- 9 References
- 10 External links
In 1841, Samford University was founded as Howard College in Marion, Alabama. 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. 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. 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. In October 1854, a fire destroyed all of the college's property, including its only building. 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. Howard College was converted to a military hospital by the Confederate government in 1863. During this time, the college's remaining faculty offered basic instruction to soldiers recovering at the hospital. 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.
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. 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. 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. The new campus opened in 1957. In 1961, the college acquired Cumberland School of Law, one of the nation's oldest law schools. In addition to the law school, Howard College added a new school of business and reorganized to achieve university status in 1965. Howard College was renamed in honor of Frank Park Samford, a longtime trustee of the school. In 1973, the university acquired Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. Samford University established a study center for students to study abroad in Kensington, England in 1984.
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, 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. The entire university proceeded with integration.
Dr. Andrew Westmoreland was appointed president of the university in 2006. 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. 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. 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.
Samford offers 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with 158 undergraduate majors, minors and concentrations. 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 1:13. Approximately two-thirds of the university's classes have fewer than 20 students.
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. That year, USA Today and The Princeton Review selected Samford as one of the 50 "Best Value" private universities in the United States. The U.S. News & World Report listed Samford third in the South for regional universities, third in the South for best undergraduate teaching and 12th in the South for best value in 2015. That year, Forbes named Samford the top-rated university in Alabama. U.S. News & World Report, "Best Graduate Schools" ranked Cumberland School of Law sixth in the nation for trial advocacy in its 2015 list. In 2014, the Institute of International Education ranked Samford 22nd nationally among master's institutions for percentage of undergraduates who study abroad. U.S News & World Report, Best Graduate Schools ranks Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing 24th in the nation for online nursing education that year.
The U.S. News & World Report listed Samford fourth in the South for regional universities, fifth in the South for best undergraduate teaching and 15th in the South for best value in 2016. Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing ranked 13th in the nation for graduate online nursing education. In 2016, Samford was ranked 87th nationally and first in Alabama by The Economist and ranked 49th nationally for best college value by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.
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 university is now located approximately 5 miles (8 km) south of downtown Birmingham in Homewood, Alabama's Shades Valley along Lakeshore Drive in Homewood, just 2 miles (3 km) from Interstate 65. It is built in the Georgian Colonial style based on Colonial Williamsburg as envisioned by President Harwell Davis when he moved the campus to the Shades Valley area in 1953-55.
In 2015, Samford University enrolled 3,168 undergraduate and 2,038 graduate and professional students. Students from 46 states and 32 countries attend Samford, with 66 percent of the undergraduate student body coming from outside the state of Alabama. 93 percent of all May undergraduate alumni were employed or enrolled in graduate school or in internships within six months of graduation from 2013 to 2015. 81 percent of May 2015 graduates completed an internship during their time at Samford. During 2015, Samford students completed 716,902 hours of community service.
The university fields 17 varsity sports and participates in the NCAA at the Division I level as a member of the Southern Conference. 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. 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. The university is one of only 61 schools to have received an NCAA Public Recognition Award for academic excellence in the past eight years.
In late 2015, Samford's athletics teams were ranked first in Alabama and the Southern Conference for Graduation Success Rate by the NCAA with an average score of 99%. Eleven teams posted perfect scores. The football team’s score of 98% is tied with Princeton and Columbia for the highest score among Division I-FCS programs, making Samford one of the highest ranked universities in Division I athletics.
The Bulldogs have won 24 conference championships since joining the Southern Conference in 2008. Twenty former student-athletes have been drafted into professional sports. Past student-athletes include national-championship football coaches Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher All-Pro defensive back Cortland Finnegan and two 2014 baseball draftees, Ty Filliben and Tripp Martin.
Samford has partnerships with the following international universities and programs:
- Hong Kong Baptist University (China)
- London Daniel House (England)
- NALSAR University Exchange (India)
- Pädagogische Hochschule (Germany)
- Seinan Gakuin University (Japan)
- Seoul Women's University (Korea)
- Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (Canada)
- Universidad Blas Pascal (Argentina)
The university has more than 48,000 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. Some notable alumni include:
Politics and government
- Robert Aderholt (1990), United States Congressman from Alabama (1997–present)
- Charles Crist, former Florida governor, graduated from Cumberland School of Law
- Stephen Louis A. Dillard (1992), Vice Chief Judge, Court of Appeals of Georgia
- Jim Folsom (non-graduate), governor of Alabama from 1947-1951 and 1955-1959
- Cordell Hull, 47th U.S. secretary of state (1933–44), Nobel Peace Prize winner (1945)
- Howell Edmunds Jackson, U.S. Supreme Court justice (1893–95)
- Horace Harmon Lurton, U.S. Supreme Court justice (1909–14)
- Eric Motley (1996) State Department official
- Edwin L. Nelson, United States federal judge (Samford University, Cumberland School of Law - 1969)
- Lee Emmett Thomas, mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana (1922-1930) and Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representative (1912-1916); attended Samford when it was Howard College.
Arts and letters
- Mary Anderson, actress
- Zane Birdwell (2003), Grammy award-winning recording engineer
- Philip Birnbaum, author and translator of Jewish works
- Wayne Flynt, (1961), Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian
- Elizabeth Futral, opera singer
- Anne George, mystery author
- Karen Fairchild & Kimberly Schlapman of the Country Group Little Big Town
- Tony Hale, actor Arrested Development
- Harold E. Martin (1923–2007), (1954) Pulitzer Prize winner for investigative reporting, publisher of the Montgomery Advertiser and the Alabama Journal.
- Gail Patrick, motion picture actress and television producer
- Kristian Stanfill, Christian rock singer-songwriter
- William Edward Hull, retired Provost of Southern Seminary and Samford University; New Testament scholar
- Fred L. Lowery, Southern Baptist clergyman and author from Bossier City, Louisiana
- David Gordon Lyon, Hollis Chair at Harvard Divinity School and founding curator of Semitic Museum
- Albert Mohler, president, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
- 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)
- Deidre Downs, (2002), Miss America 2005.
- Scarlotte Deupree, (2002), Miss Alabama 2002, 1st Runner Up to Miss America
- Melinda Toole, (2006), Miss Alabama 2006, 4th Runner Up to Miss America
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- Mitchell Bennett Garrett, William R. Snell, Janet Snell, Sixty Years of Howard College, 1842-1902, Howard College, 1927, p. 19 
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- "Samford's Cortland Finnegan gets 5-year, $50 million deal with Rams". March 14, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
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