In 1842, all-male Howard College began admitting students in Marion, Alabama. In 1887, it moved to a different campus in East Lake. Women began attending not long after the shift, and in 1913 the school became officially co-ed. In 1957, Howard moved to its current home in Birmingham, and, in 1965, renamed itself Samford University after a very involved donor, Frank Park Samford. It grew throughout this period, adding departments and graduate schools; in 2004, it embarked on a plan to attract more attention and investment.
The buildings on Samford University’s 180-acre campus are a matched Georgian set: their classical look of red brick and white accents was modeled on Colonial Williamsburg. They are offset nicely by well-landscaped rolling green lawns, fountains, and brick plazas. The campus itself is on the outskirts of Birmingham in a more suburban neighborhood called Homewood.
Birmingham, Alabama is a historical Southern city. Outdoor activities and attractions are easy to appreciate year-round, including the Cahaba river, rock climbing at Boulder Fields, and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Samford's campus is located in an area with a more suburban feel, but students can easily get downtown to dine out or shop.
The three-night performance, Step Sing
The Homecoming Bonfire
Bobby Bowden (1953), football coach at Florida State University
Deidre Downs (2002), Miss America 2005
Charles Christ, Governor of Florida, from the Law School
The Samford Bulldogs compete in the Southern Conference in the NCAA’s Division I. The six men’s sports and seven women’s sports include Football (which is Division I-A), Basketball, Baseball, Tennis, Softball, and Volleyball, and there are 17 additional intramural offerings. A sports arena is part of the new multi-person, multi-million dollar Pete Hanna Center, completed in late 2007.
The school is currently on its third campus and second name.
Joseph Hopkins, the dean of the School of the Arts, is a well-regarded opera singer and orchestral soloist who has performed with the Dallas Lyric Opera and Moscow Philharmonic.
All Samford students are required to live on campus until they reach 21, assuming the school can accommodate them. Because of this, about two-thirds of undergrads are housed in the dorms, which are a focal point of campus life.
School rules dictate that "Decoration should also keep with the values Samford holds. You must secure approval from Residence Life for any decoration or personalization that you plan to make in your room." Since sex is prohibited for unmarried students, guests of the opposite gender "may visit during scheduled hours of the week" only.
Clusters of dorms include Beeson Woods (offering suites of four students and one more traditional all-women's residence hall), Central Campus (three mostly-freshmen residence halls), and West Campus (a more diverse array of options, including frat houses and sororities and student apartments).