Published on October 2, 2019 by Sean Flynt  
Al Yeomans, seated at left, with Samford debaters, ca. 1961

Allan “Al” Yeomans, a beloved member of Samford’s faculty from 1954-1968, founded the university’s communication studies program and its still-thriving debate team. At the time of his death in 2010, generations of his students were contributing to a scholarship in his honor.

Communication studies professor Rhonda Parker, who led the effort to establish, endow and grow the scholarship, said the fund has developed sufficiently to present significant scholarships beginning in fall, 2020. She noted that although Yeomans is closely identified with debate, he wanted the scholarship to be open to any communication studies majors who are well-rounded and represent the “spirit of Samford.”

Parker said the scholarship originated with a 1996 reunion of Yeomans’ students, at which the honoree wondered why his Samford students seemed to be “a cut different” from any others he had taught. “It is because you came into the classroom with a wide kind of open heart,” he decided, “and you let us into your whole lives.”

The communications studies program invites alumni and friends to help support that unique and transformational relationship by making gifts to the Yoemans Scholarship fund. Give online or contact Stacy Gay at (205) 726-2174 or

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.