A tree stands strong not by its fruits or branches, but by the depth of its roots.

In the autumn of 1841, an idea was rooted in the heart of four courageous Baptists; their vision was of the importance of establishing and endowing a college of high character. In uncertain economic times, with no faculty, no library and no property, Howard College received its charter from the state of Alabama on Dec. 29.

The college was born in difficult times and has endured many trials: devastating fires, the ravages of Civil War and World War, bankruptcy, location on four different campuses, and many economic reversals, including the Great Depression. So often, the institution easily could have died had it not been for its strong roots lovingly nourished by loyal friends, students, employees and alumni. The institution found fertile ground in Birmingham and grew strong. And, in 1965, it blossomed into the university we know today: Samford.

The roots of Samford University are reflected in its motto: Deo, Doctrinae, Aeternitati: For God, for learning, forever. The university was born of determined vision, and has been sustained and enlarged by generations who have taken up its mission of Christ-centered higher education. Across the years, the institution has developed to now have more than 150 academic programs and some 50,000 graduates serving worldwide. In Samford University’s 175th anniversary year, we give thanks for strong roots, and recommit ourselves to continuing and enlarging the courageous vision of our founders.

Happy Birthday, dear Samford!