Not one tear was shed as we left our eldest son at Samford University this past weekend. And why would we cry? He’s going to have an amazing time at this fabulous school. Recently ranked #1 in the state of Alabama by Forbes Magazine, Samford is known for it’s beautiful campus and friendly and caring faculty. It probably also helped that we had already said, “goodbye” to him once before earlier in the summer, when he worked at a summer camp in Mississippi. It was a long summer without him, but great practice for college. The top left photo is just after a swarm of upperclassmen gathered around our car and unloaded everything in about two minutes flat. Then, after my son got his room assignment, they showed up again, and within minutes, everything was in his room . . . it really is the Magic City!
Located in Birmingham, the school was chartered in 1841 and has approximately 5,000 students who represent 44 states and 22 countries. The classes are structured with a true focus on learning and there is a 12:1 ratio for students to faculty. The top right photo above shows University President, Dr. Andrew Westmoreland addressing the incoming freshmen. The popular leader mingles with the students and knows many of them by name.
Two days of parent meetings were held to familiarize us with the campus and academic requirements. Having attended a large state school, I’ve never heard of so much involvement between the students, parents and faculty. Students are invited into the instructor’s homes once a week for a home cooked meal and discussion group – seriously? That makes a mother very happy.
And speaking of happy, here I am at my favorite spot on campus, in front of the Bobby Bowden statue, who was “my” coach at Florida State, and before that, the coach at Samford, when my parents were students there. That makes Bobby Bowden our official family coach. Coach Bowden is typical of the entire Samford faculty as far as being a great Christian example for young people.
Another little FSU/Samford connection is that FSU’s current coach, Jimbo Fisher, is the former quarterback for the Samford Bulldogs!
The statues around campus all have their own twitter accounts and talk to each other. Very funny stuff from a bunch of statues.
The Bulldogs field 17 varsity sports in the NCAA Division I Southern Conference, and since 2008, have won nine conference champions. My only disappointment during the entire visit was that I didn’t get to meet the Bulldog mascot, “Spike.” You know how I love pups.
During the entire visit, the administration was visible at every turn, sitting with us in the cafeteria, and even helping with traffic. We were all invited to a casual reception at the President’s home, which sits atop the mountain, and it was absolutely beautiful. The 60 year old residence was purchased by the University six years ago and remodeled to use for entertaining guests and dignitaries who visit the campus.
The large atrium addition has a dramatic view overlooking the entire campus and city of Birmingham. And of all things, on Saturday, the entire Freshman class was invited over for a gourmet popsicle treat from Steel City Pops. Nothing like having 800 or so 18 year olds over. I hope my son used a napkin and didn’t drip on the furniture! I’ll never stop thinking like his mom!
As the sun set over campus, the twinkling lights appeared. The Vulcan can be seen on the far right of this photo, and the construction crane you see in several of the photos is being used to build the new facility for the School of Business. Onward and upward! New adventures ahead!
How could we possibly be sad when he’s got such an exciting future ahead? I know he’ll be fine. Although . . .
I really do miss this little guy. Where in the world did he go?
Aw, I know how you feel! Our eldest son received his Master’s degree at Samford last December. It is a Great School!
Love this…my niece graduated from Samford several years ago. I live in Memphis but I visited her often there…such a beautiful campus. She had a great 4 years there. It was my first time to get to know Birmingham which I grew to luv! I’m sure your son will excel in such a great learning atmosphere.
Thanks. He’s especially looking forward to the autumn there, since we don’t get alot of that sort of thing down here on the coast!
Wonderful content and information…..precious last picture and words. Tears in my eyes too.
How thrilling for your son! You must be so proud of him and I agree, how did he grow up so fast? Your photos of the campus are beautiful.
You had me tearless until the last photo!! ;( Take care and stay really busy!
You may even remember when he was that small. And also, you have a big “kid” now, so you can relate!
Samford is a beautiful campus and your pictures tell the story. Your family has a great heritage with the Samford and FSU connections. I wish your son the best of luck. We should connect during some of your visits to see him.
Yes, there are quite a few bogging buddies in the Birmingham area. We’ll have to make a day (or two) of it and have you show me around!
Samford does have a beautiful campus. I use to do speedwork at the Samford track with the triathlon/running club back in the days when I was a more dedicated triathlete. Miss that! Lots of memories! Now they do speedwork at Vestavia high school. Just wasn’t the same….
I, too, hope to see you sometimes when you get to Birmingham. Last weekend was a really busy and exciting passage for all of you. Your son should do well there (better than mine, I hope!). He had too much fun, I am afraid.
Let me know when you are coming — maybe some of us can get together.
The administration was speaking mainly to parents who hover, but they very kindly suggested we not visit so much! I’m all for saying a quick hello to my son, then hanging out with you the rest of the time . . . and big college man wouldn’t object too much either, I think!
Great photos of the buildings and campus but the last one is priceless!
Wonderful blog on Samford with gorgeous photos. I haven’t been there in quite sometime so I throughly enjoyed hearing about it and seeing your pictures. Your son is a handsome young man and I wish him well. Great family pic. Love the little guy and you pic. So sweet.
Thanks so much, Bonnie! Why do I think it’s so fun lately to look through those old photos?
I’ve always heard good things about Samford, but never realized how intimate it was. As a graduate of another small school (Spring Hill), I can say we weren’t included in dinners at the instructors houses. Well, that actually came later when we became close to our professors. That definitely seems like it takes a serious commitment from the faculty and that’s so great! I know you’re proud of your son and it sounds like it was a great weekend for you too.
One of our friends is at Spring Hill College this year and loves it. I think small schools are getting a lot of attention lately because the larger ones are just getting too HUGE! FSU had 28,000 when I was there and now it’s at 40,000!
What a beautiful campus! Good luck to your son.
Samford is such a great school, I am glad he is close enough he can come and go and you won’t have to wait months to see him! He will have a grand time in the “Ham!”
What a beautiful school! Great photos. I love the one with you sitting by the coach’s statue and of course the last one is just precious. What a tender moment captured in time. Before you know it, he’ll be home for Christmas break with a duffel bag full of laundry. 🙂
He’s done his own laundry for years, but I always have to say, “Do your laundry!” So when he texted me and said he washed a load today, I almost fell over!
You should be on the Samford payroll as a recruiter. The photos and descriptions of activities made ME want to go back to school. The idea of having home cooked meals at instructors’ homes is endearing but, on behalf of my students, I’m glad we don’t have this tradition at USA. It would be hot dogs or pizza. Loved the FSU connections!
The professors never promised gourmet, and to a college kid, anything is good. But somehow I was picturing white table cloths and candelabras! Ha!
Exciting times for your son. I am thrilled he is at such a fine school. CC is on the finish line and has two semesters left-Thank The Lord.
My daughter is considering Samford for next year. How was your son’s experience? Looks like he would have graduated last year as this was written in 2014.
Glad I found your note in this old post. Yes, he loved it and we now have our second son there. I wouldn’t send my boys anywhere else. It is a great education in a great environment!