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 4,933 students from 44 states and 25 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.


Move-In Day 2014, Samford University - On Friday morning, August 22, about 700 freshmen arrived at Samford University with possessions and loving family members in tow. By early afternoon, each ...


In 1841, Samford University was founded as Howard College in Marion, Alabama. 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 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, and S.S. 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.

Civil rights

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. Birmingham was the site of demonstrations led by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Dr. Martin Luther King to end segregation of public facilities and open city jobs to minorities. The era was marked by nationally covered protests and the deaths of four young African-American girls in the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church.

A growing core of Samford faculty and students opposed segregation. 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. University officials turned away the combined delegation from the concert.

University president Leslie Stephen Wright resisted integration, but Samford's "whites-only" policy threatened Federal student aid and institutional accreditation. 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. 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. 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.


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Samford University offers 149 undergraduate and 52 graduate 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 1:12. Approximately two-thirds of the university's classes have fewer than 20 students.


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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 #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. That year, Forbes named Samford the top-rated university in Alabama. U.S. News & World Report, "Best Graduate Schools" ranked Cumberland School of Law #6 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 #24 in the nation for online nursing education that year.


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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 collegeâ€"and now universityâ€"is located approximately 5 miles (8 km) south of downtown Birmingham in Homewood, Alabama's Shades Valley area. 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.

Student demographics

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In 2014, Samford University enrolled 3,051 undergraduate and 1,882 graduate and professional students.Students from 44 states and 25 countries attend Samford, with 66% of the undergraduate student body coming from outside the state of Alabama. 98% of all May 2013 graduates from undergraduate programs were employed or enrolled in graduate school within seven months of graduation.


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.

The Bulldogs have won 18 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.

Notable alumni

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. The Samford University Alumni Association counts more than 27,000 graduates among its membership. Some notable alumni include:

Politics and Government

  • Robert Aderholt (1990), United States Congressman from Alabama (1997- )
  • Charles Crist, former Florida governor, graduated from Cumberland School of Law
  • Jim Folsom (non-graduate), governor of Alabama from 1947-1951 and 1955-1959
  • Cordell Hull, 47th U.S. secretary of state (1933â€"44), Nobel Peace Prize winner (1945)
  • Howell Edmunds Jackson, U.S. Supreme Court justice (1893â€"95)
  • Horace Harmon Lurton, U.S. Supreme Court justice (1909â€"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 (1923â€"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


  • Bobby Bowden, head football coach, Florida State University (1976â€"2009), national champion (1993, 1999); College Football Hall of Fame (2006)
  • Marv Breeding (1952), MLB player
  • Cortland Finnegan, player, National Football Leagueâ€" Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins (2006â€"14); Pro Bowl (2009)
  • Jimbo Fisher, head football coach, Florida State University (2010â€"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 Leagueâ€"New Orleans Saints (2012â€"2014); Dallas Cowboys (2015-present)
  • Jaquiski Tartt, player, National Football Leagueâ€"San Francisco 49ers (2015â€"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

See also

  • Andrew Westmoreland
  • Cumberland School of Law
  • McWhorter School of Pharmacy
  • Beeson Divinity School
  • Samford Bulldogs


External links

  • Official website
  • Samford University at National Center for Education Statistics: College Navigator

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