Hidden Gems: The Bashinsky Family
To Samford University, the Bashinsky family means much more than just a name on a couple buildings. Both the Leo E. Bashinsky Press Tower and the Leo E. Bashinsky Fieldhouse are named for the family.
The relationship between Leo Bashinsky and Samford University finds its roots not at Samford, but at Judson College.
In 1947, a special session of the Alabama Baptist State Convention was called for the purpose of creating a committee to consider the joining of Howard College and Judson College. According to the 1947 report, the two colleges would be located on a single campus and be known as Alabama Baptist University.
Bashinsky served on the special committee as a representative from Judson College and chairman of the committee. Although the Convention ultimately decided against the merger, Bashinsky continued his relationship with Howard College.
In 1955, Bashinsky was named a member of the board of trustees at the recommendation of Memory L. Robinson, who served on the special committee with Bashinsky in 1947.
Bashinsky led an esteemed career as a businessman in the Birmingham community, founding Bashinsky-Case and Co. and Automatic Machinery Parts Co. Bashinsky also owned Alabama Limestone Asphalting Co. and Magic City Foods, known today as Golden Flake. In addition, Bashinsky served on the Board of Directors for Liberty National Life Insurance Co. with other Samford-related dignitaries such as Frank Park Samford Sr., A. Gerow Hodges and the Beeson brothers.
Bashinsky served as a member of the board of trustees and was active with Howard College and Samford University until his death in 1974.
The Bashinsky legacy did not stop with Leo Bashinsky. Leo Bashinsky's son, Sloan Bashinsky, served as a member of the board of trustees from 1984-99. He served as board vice chair and chairman of the board's executive committee.
Like his father, Sloan Bashinsky led a successful business career. He served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Golden Enterprises, Inc., the parent company of Golden Flake snack foods. Bashinsky passed away in August 2005.
In an interview in 2005, former Samford president Thomas E. Corts described the Bashinsky family as "among the University's most generous philanthropists." As a tribute to their generosity, both the press tower and field house were named after the Bashinsky family.
Editor's note: This is one in a recurring series on "hidden gems" on the Samford University campus.