175 Things We Like about Samford University
Homecoming means tailgating, football, soccer, volleyball, a candlelight banquet, class reunions, a ball or a bonfire. The first recorded homecoming was in 1866, and it now is a grand celebration that everyone in the Samford community looks forward to each year.
For first-year students, move-in day is one of the most exciting days of the year, and nobody does it better than Samford. The pains of moving in are relieved by hundreds of volunteers who greet you with a smile at your car and transport everything to your room for you.
The centerpiece of study abroad is a semester or Jan Term spent in London at Samford’s Daniel House. The 150-year-old Victorian home was purchased by Samford in 1983, thanks to a generous grant provided by the Daniel Foundation of Alabama.
Samford’s first Birmingham home was in the East Lake community. “It was a safe and fun place to grow up in. During the summer, some professors would hold class on the main campus near Sherman Oak.” (William Braden)
Snow Fun on Campus
The year 2014 saw the infamous “snowmageddon,” but Samford students have enjoyed rare snow days on campus for decades. In the occurrence that white flurries fall from the sky and accumulate a few inches of snow on the ground, you will find students flying down the hills sitting on trays, partaking in snowball fights on the quad and walking on the Lakeshore trail to nearby stores for “survival” food.
When the weather is right, you will find dozens of students lounging in hammocks hanging from the trees outside Vail Hall or around the quad. Students laugh, socialize, play music, study and enjoy the beautiful surroundings while suspended from the trees.
Whether you want to study abroad for a whole semester or a short term, Samford has many options all over the globe. Ranging from medical missions, SCUBA diving in the Caribbean, coffee talk in London, the history of Rome and many more options, students can find a study abroad program that fits their credit needs and affordability range.
Whether you are a top-level student-athlete or just like to have fun, Samford has an intramural event designed for you. Campus Recreation offers a variety of sports throughout the year for students and/or employees that are played on various skill levels in leagues for men, women or co-rec.
Free Food Trucks in Ben Brown
One of the best things that can happen to a student is walking through Ben Brown Plaza to find Samford-sponsored food trucks from local restaurants giving away meals for free.
For the latest news, pick up The Samford Crimson. The student-produced publication has served as the weekly newspaper since 1915.
Samford has 17 varsity teams and is a member of the NCAA Division 1 Southern Conference, one of the oldest athletics conferences in the U.S. It includes longtime rivals Mercer, Furman and Chattanooga.
This course for first-year students is all about familiarization. Students meet new friends while learning about topics that include the mission of the university, academic advising, time management, financial management, social issues, campus involvement, faculty-student relationships and academic success.
Dinner on the Dirt
This meal, which has been celebrated for decades, kicks off Welcome Back Week. Students have time to meet new friends and reunite with old ones while enjoying various festivities and business vendors.
Your School, Your City concert
After Dinner on the Dirt, Welcome Back Week tradition continues with a concert. Recent performances include Grammy Award–winning LeCrae, American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, Matisyahu, Judah and the Lion, Johnnyswim, and others.
Seibert Stadium has been home to the Samford football team since 1958. Every game day, thousands of fans gather to watch a great game and cheer on the Bulldogs in one of the most spectacular settings in college football.
The quad has been a central gathering point for students since the campus relocated in the 1950s. It is one of the best places to play a game or hang out with a group of friends.
A life-size bronze statue of Samford benefactor Ralph W. Beeson sits at entrance to the beautiful Centennial Walk. This is a popular spot to get a photo, and almost every student has at least one photo with him.
A newer Samford tradition, the victory flag flies in Talbird Circle to celebrate faculty or student academic achievement, academic team national championships, football regular season and playoff victories, Southern Conference regular-season championships, and the NCAA playoffs or championships.
Samford Gives Back
Samford Gives Back is an annual campus-wide service initiative involving hundreds of students, employees and alumni. The goal is to partner the Samford community with organizations that are working for the betterment of the greater Birmingham community.
Prior to the kickoff of every home football game, a festival atmosphere envelops the quad as students, families and fans gather to celebrate the Bulldogs. The Bulldog Walk takes place as the cheerleaders and band lead the football team through the tailgating crowd from Beeson University Center to Seibert Stadium.
Harwell Goodwin Davis
In the lobby of the university library is a bronze bust of Samford’s president, Major Harwell Goodwin Davis, who helped keep the school alive during the Great Depression and led the relocation from East Lake to Homewood. Everyone who enters through the library doors knows it is a longstanding tradition of good luck to touch the nose of Davis.
Originally located on the East Lake campus, this tree was named for the first president of the college. Its offspring now adorns the lawn in front of Samford Hall, and symbolizes the university’s growth and durability.
Samford Marching Band
Dating from the early 20th century, Samford’s marching band has had several iterations and currently entertains crowds every football Saturday in Seibert Stadium. Pep bands also provide spirit at Samford basketball games.
Crimson and Blue
The origin of crimson and blue as Samford’s traditional school colors is unknown. The colors were used in athletics events as early as 1908 and recognized as the official colors by 1910. Today, the colors are red and blue.
Welcome Back Week
Welcome Back Week, put on by the Samford Activities Council, is a week filled with fun, free food, T-shirts and prizes. This week is a great way to start the year and experience the hospitality and welcoming spirit of Samford University.
Einstein’s Brothers Bagels and Freshens
Einstein’s Brothers Bagels and Freshens are new student favorite eateries and gathering places on campus. Einstein’s is in Davis Library, and Freshens is in the College of Health Sciences. Whether you need a snack, meal, sweet or caffeine, Einstein’s has you covered.
For students on the East Lake campus, Andrews Barbecue was a favorite gathering place. A longtime fixture on 1st Avenue North, it closed several years ago, but the sign is still visible. Other popular hangouts during East Lake days were the Duck Inn and the Co-op. Today, students enjoy making late-night runs to Sonic Drive-In or having food delivered to campus.
Spring Fling is a weeklong time of festivities hosted by the Samford Activities Council. Students enjoy free food, movies, inflatables and fun activities. For many years, this celebration was known as “H Day” or “May Day.”
Sons of Light
This mysterious group has emerged in recent years and has a scavenger hunt each year for students to participate in and possibly win a prize. They also do special projects, anonymously, around the campus. Students love trying to uncover the puzzle pieces and figure out who the members of the Sons of Light are.
Samford Home Groups
Coordinated by the Office of Spiritual Life, Samford Home Groups are a time each week students can relax in the host home of an employee and enjoy a home-cooked meal. It is also a time to dig deeper in scripture and have fellowship with friends.
Hear and Now Singers
This popular Christian vocal ensemble traveled widely in the 1970s and 1980s, singing in churches and other venues. The group was led by Bob Burroughs during the time his wife, Esther, was campus minister at Samford.
Nothing can compare to the freshman experience of bonding with the residents on your hall, sharing a community bathroom, playing table tennis and watching movies in the movie room. The beanbag chairs and giant movie screen bring halls and friends together for movies and fun. The Vail courtyard also is a popular gathering place, especially in the spring when the trees are in full bloom.
Resident assistants are like your mom or dad at college. They enforce the rules, but also take care of you and become your friend and go-to person when you need something.
The Greek Draft
Nothing demonstrates campus unity quite like greek life organizations and student athletes coming together to support one another. The Greek Draft is a night of funny skits and games that pairs a sorority or fraternity with an athletic team to support throughout the year.
Supporting Philanthropy Events
Giving back to the community and to others has been a hallmark of Samford University for decades. It’s exciting when people from all across campus come together to support student organizations’ philanthropy events and to raise money for good causes.
Getting 60 Convo Credits
There’s something about the feeling when you see you have the required 60 convo credits for graduation. Students prior to the 1990s will remember convo as chapel.
With a small student-to-faculty ratio, it is easy to get to know your professors. Samford faculty are genuinely invested in students’ success and future. Students from every decade can fondly recall faculty members who made an impact on their lives.
Connections is the jam-packed weekend that welcomes freshmen to Samford and the Birmingham area in general. It is also nice to make some connections and have friends to eat with in the caf. Students from earlier generations may have known this as “Rat Week.”
Getting a Selfie with Dr. Westmoreland
There could not be a president more invested in the students or a university. Everyone loves getting a selfie with Samford President Andrew Westmoreland.
A Cappella Choir
Dating from the 1930s, this internationally acclaimed ensemble is a talented group of students who have several performances annually for the community to enjoy. They also travel extensively and have won awards around the world.
Rushton Memorial Carillon
First housed in the Reid Chapel steeple and now in the Davis Library tower, the carillon chimes the hour and also provides opportunities for weekly concerts by university carillonneur Stephen Knight. It also rings before special events on campus.
Students love the six-week break, or having the opportunity for a three-week period to study abroad or take classes on campus or online.
Free Food in Ben Brown
There’s always something going on in Ben Brown Plaza. The most exciting days are these when there are free snacks or drinks to enjoy with your friends around the fountain.
Clubs and Organizations
Whether it was the “13 Thirsty Thugs” and the “Bob-Hair Club” of the 1920s or Restoring Eden and the Samford Cycling Club, students have always found ways to bond around shared interests, whether social or service. Today, Samford has more than 100 active student organizations.
JMC Wall of Fame
Each homecoming, the journalism and mass communication department inducts new members to the JMC Wall of Fame. The wall consists of graduates who have gone above and beyond.
Step Sing is a one of Samford’s most cherished traditions and had its start on the steps of Renfroe Hall on the East Lake campus. Since the 1970s, it has drawn sell-out crowds to Wright Center Concert Hall. There is nothing quite like a few weeks of bonding over singing and dancing, and some healthy competition to see who wins on Saturday night to become a part of Step Sing history.
Weddings in Reid Chapel
It seems to happen every Saturday. Reid Chapel is beautiful and is the perfect spot for weddings, as it has been since opening in the late 1950s.
Samford has some of the friendliest people around. You cannot go anywhere without receiving a hello from people you know and people you don’t.