Samford University

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Samford University
Samford University
800 Lakeshore Drive,,
Birmingham, AL 35229
Phone: (205) 726-2011
School Information: Dean of Admission:-Phil Kimrey
E-mail Address: - [email protected]

Samford University

Samford University was founded by Baptists as Howard College in Marion, Alabama, in 1841. Located in Birmingham since 1887, the school is Alabama's largest private university and the state's only private doctoral/research university as classified by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. Samford continues to value its historic relationship with the state's Baptists.

In 1841 a group of Baptists acquired land in the wealthy city of Marion and invited the Alabama Baptist State Convention to establish on the land a new school. Howard College, named in honor of English prison reformer John Howard, thrived until its near-destruction by fire in1854. The Howard community was still recovering from that tragedy when the Civil War began. Students, faculty and even the president volunteered for military service in1861. Howard was barely functioning as a college when the Confederate government sought to convert its campus into a military hospital in 1863. Howard's trustees agreed to the arrangement, and although the college ceased to function for the rest of the war, remaining faculty did offer basic instruction to soldiers recovering at the hospital. Federal troops occupied Howard College for a short time after the war and sheltered freed slaves on its campus.

The college reopened in 1865 but failed to find stable leadership until the presidency of former Confederate Army officer James T. Murfee (1871-1887,) who brought to Howard a military atmosphere that lasted until the early 20th century.
East Lake

After the war Marion faded in economic and cultural importance as declining enrollments, local interracial strife and bankruptcy led Howard officials and the Alabama Baptist State Convention to a difficult decision. In the 1880s boosters from Birmingham, Marion’s new industrial neighbor to the north, promised to help the college grow if it would relocate to the East Lake community near the booming city. The college accepted Birmingham’s offer and moved to East Lake in 1887, dividing Alabama Baptists and hurting the feelings of many in Marion. President Murfee opposed the move and remained on the old campus to form Marion Military Institute.

Unfortunately, Birmingham’s economy fell on hard times just as Howard College settled into its new home. Visions of a rich endowment and grand new college buildings were soon put away. Optimism and local support eventually returned, but although the college continued to grow in East Lake, hopes for a "greater Howard" were not realized for more than half a century.

Admitting female students helped Howard College survive the lean years of the early 20th century. After a brief but promising experiment in the 1890s, Howard became fully and permanently coeducational in 1913, just before cycles of war and economic depression again threatened to ruin the college.

Howard president Harwell Goodwin "Major" Davis (1939-1958) sought ways to protect the school from hard times during WWII, winning a contract with the federal government to host a branch of the U.S. Navy’s V-12 training program. The Navy brought Howard money and men at a time when both were in short supply at the college.
Homewood and The Greater Howard

Increased post-war enrollment made relocation of Howard College ever more appealing and president Davis had saved enough of the V-12 funds to allow Howard to leave behind the campus it was quickly outgrowing. By the late 1940s Howard’s leaders had selected a site for a spacious new campus in the Homewood community south of Birmingham. The college relocated to its current home in 1957 as Davis’ ambitious architectural vision for the new campus slowly took shape.

Completion of the Georgian-Colonial-style campus fell to the next president, Leslie S. Wright (1957-1983). The college acquired Cumberland School of Law in 1961, added new degree programs and reorganized to achieve university status in 1965. The name "Howard University," was already taken so the trustees chose to name the new university in honor of the family of longtime trustee Frank Park Samford. Howard College of Arts and Sciences remains Samford's academic core.

President Thomas E. Corts (1983-2006) led Samford during a period of increased national and international recognition and respect. Enrollment, facilities, endowment and academic and athletic programs grew rapidly, thanks in large part to financial gifts totaling more than $100 million from benefactor Ralph W. Beeson and his extended family.

Under current president Andrew Westmoreland, Samford enjoys an endowment of more than $220 million and eight thriving academic divisions:
School of the Arts
Howard College of Arts and Sciences
Brock School of Business
Beeson School of Divinity
Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies
Cumberland School of Law
Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing
McWhorter School of Pharmacy

Early Closing FAQs

1. Who can leave if the university closes early?

a. There are some areas whose responsibilities will not allow all staff to leave. Supervisors must determine and communicate what level of coverage, if any, is needed to ensure those responsibilities are met.

2. How do I record my time on my timesheet?

a. Record your actual time worked with the remaining times listed in the Remarks section. Add these hours to your Regular Hour Total.

3. How much time will I be paid for if the university closes early?

a. You will be paid for your normally scheduled work time on that day. If you are scheduled for 7.5 hours, that will be your pay. If you are scheduled for 10 hours, that will be your pay.

4. What if I started work earlier than normal on the day of the closing? Will I get paid more?

a. If your normal schedule is 8:00 to 4:30, but you started working at 7:30 and the university closed at 2:00, you will be paid for 7.5 hours since that is your regular schedule.

5. What if I actually worked from 7:30 until 4:30 even though the university officially closed?

a. If you worked the entire time, then you will be paid for all of the hours that you worked.

6. What if my regular schedule is not 8:00 to 4:30 like most of the university?

a. If you are scheduled to work 7:30 to 4:00, you will receive 7.5 hours of pay. If you are scheduled to work 6:00 to 5:00, you will receive 10 hours of pay. If you are scheduled to work 9:00 to 5:30, you will receive 7.5 hours of pay.

7. What if I'm working a Flex schedule when the closure takes place?

a. You will be paid for the hours you were scheduled to work on that day. However, these schedules should be adjusted in anticipation of closings if announced ahead of time when possible.

8. What if I am scheduled for vacation or take a sick day on that day?

a. An early closure simply allows those who are working on that day to depart early. It will not change the amount of leave charged to those who are absent.

9. If the university closes at noon, can I take my lunch hour at 11:00 and leave even earlier?

a. No. A noon closure allows plenty of time to eat after departing the university.

10. What if there is a reason I cannot leave at the time of the closing?

a. We understand that there are areas on campus whose function is time critical and employees cannot always leave. We thank you for your dedication and service.

11. What if I cannot leave early on that day? Do I get time off on another day?

a. As stated above, this simply allows an early departure to those who are able. It does not constitute additional holiday or vacation time to be taken during normal work times.

12. What if I am a part time employee scheduled to work that day?

a. You will be paid for the hours that you were scheduled to work on the early closure. Part time employees are not paid for scheduled holidays.

Samford Publications
News and Special Interest Publications
The Belltower - published online weekly Sept.-May, monthly June-Aug. by the Office of University Communication
Inside Samford - published monthly by the Office of University Communication; available online in PDF format
Samford Crimson - published weekly during the school year by the Crimson staff
Seasons Magazine - published quarterly by the Office of University Communication; available online in PDF format
Scholarly Publications
American Journal of Trial Advocacy - published three times a year by Samford University Cumberland School of Law
The Beeson Journal - published annually by Samford University Beeson School of Divinity
Cumberland Law Review - published three times a year by Samford University Cumberland School of Law
The Educational Collaborative - published by Samford University Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies
The International Journal of Pharmacy Education and Practice - published online by Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy
Other Publications
Samford University Catalog - published annually by the Office of Student Records; available online in PDF format


Any family or community is enriched and affirmed by holding and keeping traditions across generations. The Samford University family is proud of our history and tradition as the 87th oldest university in the United States. From large university-wide celebrations like Homecoming and the fierce competition of Step Sing to small personal traditions like rubbing Major Davis’ nose for luck; we cling to our red and blue and cheer for our bulldogs.

The frantic activity of freshmen move in is just the beginning of three days of insane fun with your new freshman class. We designed this program for freshmen to get to know their peers through many different experiences both on and off campus including an ice cream party at the President’s Home.

Welcome Back

At the beginning of each fall semester, the Student Government Association hosts concerts, parties and other activities to welcome both returning and new students. It’s a time to renew old friendships, make new ones and ease into the semester

Family Weekend

Held in late September or early October this annual event provides the Samford community a chance to welcome our student’s families for a weekend full of special activities including parties, a reception at the President’s Home, and an exciting football game.


For more than 140 years, Samford alumni have met together from time to time to renew acquaintances, share a meal and reconnect to their alma mater. In January 1866, at the end of the Civil War, Howard College and the town of Marion, Alabama, celebrated the return visit of Howard’s first president—Vermont native Samuel Sterling Sherman. By 1870, the alumni association had elected officers and inaugurated an official annual reunion of alumni that included a banquet in connection with spring commencement ceremonies. The homecoming tradition continues each fall, with a traditional candlelight banquet, football game and activities for the entire Samford community.

Miss Samford

Beginning in the 1920’s the Entre Nous yearbook included a section of college beauties. By the 1940’s a competition was held to name one of the beauties Miss Entre Nous. In 1986 the Miss Entre Nous contest became an official preliminary to the Miss Alabama and Miss America Pageants. Samford graduate Deidra Downs was crowned Miss America in 2005.

Hanging of the Green

Decorating for Christmas has special meaning at Samford. The traditional Hanging of the Green service just after Thanksgiving features candlelit walks, beautiful seasonal decoration of Reid Chapel and Centennial Walk, and a worship service celebrating the birth of Christ lead by a group of selected senior class honorees.

Step Sing

Each year, almost 1,000 Samford students participate in this unique Samford musical tradition, which began over half-a-century ago. Each Step Sing show is developed, writing, choreographed, rehearsed and performed by students. In addition to entertaining thousands of audience members, the proceeds of each Step Sing are donated to charity.

Spring Fling

One Saturday each April, Spring Fling helps students take a break from the end-of-semester crunch and celebrate the arrival of warm weather. The event, with roots dating back to the 1910s, offers a day of music, games, friendship and relaxation on Samford’s famously beautiful quad.

Rascal Day

Each spring the Cumberland School of Law faculty, staff and students honor a mongrel pup named Rascal. According to tradition, Rascal faithfully attended classes at the law school’s former campus location in Lebanon, Tennessee until he was presented with the rare degree of Doctor of Canine Jurisprudence in 1937. Legend holds that his diploma was awarded in recognition of the hundreds of classes and mock trials at which his attendance had been difficult to ignore. When he passed away in 1940, Rascal was buried beneath the window of the classroom where he had spent so much time. When Cumberland joined Samford University in 1961, Rascal’s tombstone and a few spadefuls of dirt from his grave were brought to the Samford campus and reinterred on the west side of Robinson Hall. Each year, a procession of two- and four-legged creatures passes by Rascal’s grave to commemorate one of Cumberland’s most memorable graduates.

Rascal Day

Rushton Carillon

Harwell G. Davis Library, built in 1957, is home to one of Samford’s best-known traditions—the bells of the Rushton Carillon. The 60 bells together weighing more than five tons and covering five octaves were cast in Asten, Holland at the renowned Royal Eljsbouts Bell Foundry. Mr. Steven Knight, university carilloneur, gives regular concerts and plays for special university occasions.

Bulldog Athletics

Students chose the bulldog mascot by popular vote in 1916. Until then athletic teams were known as the Baptist Tigers or Baptist Bears. In a tradition of intercollegiate competition dating to 1878 today Samford competes in 17 NCAA Division I sports as a member of the Southern Conference.

Major Davis

Presidential portraits may be seen throughout University Library, but a special place is reserved for the portrait and bronze bust of Major Harwell Goodwin Davis, 15th president. Davis helped save the college during the Great Depression and led the college through its relocation in 1957. Touching the bust of Davis in the entrance of University Library proves to be an irresistible good luck charm to visitors, who keep the nose well-polished.

Ralph W. Beeson Day

Introduced to Samford by longtime trustee A. Gerow Hodges, Ralph W. Beeson and his family helped define the physical and intellectual shape of the University for more than three decades. Their gifts, totaling more than $110 million supported a variety of building and academic projects. Glynn Acree’s life-size bronze statue of Ralph Beeson at the foot of Centennial Walk welcomes visitors to Samford’s campus. Mr. Beeson’s birthday is celebrated each year on October 24.

Alma Mater

Oh Samford Alma Mater true
Her halls shall ever ring
With Sounding Glories of the past
With plans and future dreams.
On knowledge that we seek, O Lord,
We pray thy blessings true.
With pride we pledge our hearts and minds,
To the Samford Red and Blue.

The original text was written by Dr. George W. Macon in 1884 and modified by Kelley Courington in 1986. The tune was composed by Professor Paul de Launay in 1927.

The Fight Song

A Samford tradition for decades, the origins of Samford’s Fight Song are presently unknown. (Listen.)

Fight, Fight, Fight
For Samford Bulldogs,
Go onward to victory.
Oh, we’ll wear the red and blue,
Samford we’re all for you…
and we love you, too!

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Fight, Fight, Fight
For Samford Bulldogs,
Go onward to victory.
Oh, we’ll give a cheer or two,
Samford we’re all for you…
Fight! Fight! Fight!

The Mace

The mace is an ancient symbol of authority and status. Samford’s official mace includes designs, images, words and artifacts representing the University’s distinctive culture. Created in 1994 by sculptor Glynn Acree, the mace is of sterling silver and ebony. It is borne before the faculty at opening convocation, commencement and other of the most important events in University life.


Christian missions have long captured the hearts and imaginations of Samford students. In addition to organizing short-term international and domestic mission opportunities, University Ministries maintains a scholarship program for student missionaries and hosts an organization dedicated to international students and students who grew up on the mission field.

Graduate Prayer Breakfast

Since our inaugural commencement in 1847, graduates and faculty have joined in a dedicated time of prayer, worship and reflection. In 2010 the formality of the baccalaureate service was replaced with a breakfast providing a relaxing opportunity for graduates and professors to celebrate.

The Entre Nous and Samford Crimson

Student publications are a Samford tradition dating back to the 19th century. Beginning in the 1910s, Samford students began publishing a regular newspaper, The Crimson, and a yearbook the Entre Nous. These records of daily life are the richest source of information about Samford’s past and present, and they continue to point the way toward the University’s future.

Crimson and Blue

The origin of crimson and blue as Samford’s traditional school colors is unknown. Archival records show the colors were in used in athletic events as early as 1908 and by 1910 references clearly demonstrate the colors were recognized by students and alumni as the official colors.

In our hearts our college emblem
Long has been with love enshrined.
In the vast of our affections
With our memories entwined.
We would lift this veil of silence,
Bring our emblem forth to view,
We would share the storied treasures
Of the Crimson and the Blue.
Bursting into song exultant,
We would lilt to lay to you
Telling of the storied treasures
of the Crimson and the Blue.
Joseph T. Vaughn class of 1918

Deo, Doctrinae, Aeternaitati

The latin words appearing on the university seal represent the motto of Samford University: nurturing persons for God, for learning, forever.
For All Generations (2004)
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Georgian Colonial Campus

In the 1940s as plans were made for a new campus in Shades Valley of the Birmingham suburb of Homewood, university leaders (it is said, with the heavy influence of Howard College’s First Lady, Lena Vail Davis)choose classical Georgian Colonia architecture for the original buildings. When the campus opened in 1958 the press called it the “Williamsburg of Alabama.” To this day, all major campus buildings reflect the distinctive brick pattern and stone trim of American Colonial times. The original 1950s buildings, and many of those built since, were designed by Davis Architects of Birmingham, Alabama.

The famed Olmsted Brothers landscape design firm of Boston, Massachusetts is credited with the original design of the 180 acre campus.

Jan Term

For three weeks each January you will have the opportunity to break out of your routine and immerse yourself in a variety of courses. You can choose from laboratory research to interdisciplinary opportunities and cross-cultural study-abroad experiences. You can choose to take up to two unique courses designed to integrate your education with the world at large, your life and your future career.


Since the first classes convened in February of 1842 one constant of the curriculum has been required chapel. Today as a part of Samford’s Christian mission, every student must obtain 60 convocation credits by attending a variety of religious services, lectures, faculty-student cadres and other designated events.

The President

Samford has had only four presidents in the past seventy-plus years. As our graduates carry our mission and tradition across the globe, the presidents, along with their spouses, embody the legacy and tradition of our university heritage on campus.

More about Samford's presidental tradition.

Talgate at Talbird

Don’t miss the food, fun and games as a festival atmosphere envelops Talbird Circle two hours prior to the kick off of every home football game.

The Victory Flag

As a symbol of Samford pride and campus unity the Samford Victory Flag is posted in Talbird Circle on the following occasions celebrating:
Faculty academic achievement (Opening Convocation in August)
Student academic achievement (Honors Day in April and Commencement Days)
Academic team national championships
All football regular season and play-off victories
Southern Conference team championships regular season
NCAA playoffs and championships
Other occasions at the President’s discretion


Samford University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097; (404) 679-4501, to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees. This status was most recently affirmed in 2007, continuing a relationship that Samford has enjoyed with SACS since 1920. Additionally, professional schools and academic programs at Samford are accredited by:
American Bar Association
American Council on Pharmaceutical Education
American Dietetic Association
Association of Theological Schools
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
Foundation for Interior Design Education Research
National Association of Schools of Music
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Education USA - For Students: Samford University