Civitas, Rectio, Officium

Responsible citizenship in a constitutional republic requires effort. Each generation must strive to understand the ideas and institutions that give order to civilization. This task begins with intentional education that emphasizes the vital relationship between freedom, virtue, and self-governance. The Christian liberal arts tradition can and should make a difference in how we order our lives and transmit our values.

The Stockham Chair is an office of academic and administrative oversight in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences promoting the study of the liberal arts for responsible citizenship, leadership, and service. The chair oversees and directs:

  • Scholarships and programs for outstanding Samford students studying in the Christian liberal arts tradition intending careers in business, law, ministry, education, and public service (Stockham Scholars)
  • “Great Books” study abroad opportunities in select centers of Western cultural and institutional development for outstanding Samford students regardless of their major (Stockham Stewards)
  • Lectures and seminars related to responsible citizenship in a free society, the Western and Christian intellectual traditions, and the unique significance of the American political project (Stockham Speakers)

Stockham Scholars

Supports outstanding students desiring to study in the Christian liberal arts tradition for the purpose of cultivating leadership and responsible citizenship. Student career goals include pursuits in business, law, ministry, education, and public service. Stockham scholars are required to maintain academic excellence, participate in designated cadres, complete an approved internship, and complete a capstone seminar on freedom, civic virtue, and leadership. Each Stockham Scholar receives a $3,000 scholarship per year for three years.


  • Rising Sophomore with a declared major (or majors) in the Humanities division of the Howard College of Arts and Sciences
  • Minimum 3.7 GPA
  • Application with Essay
  • Faculty Recommendation
  • Interview


  • August 31, Completed Application Materials Due
  • September, Interviews
  • September 30, Notification of Selection


  • Supplied by Stockham Chair

Colloquium on American Citizenship

Mission Statement
“The Howard College Colloquium on American Citizenship explores the meaning and purpose of citizenship in light of the Western intellectual heritage, American Constitutional government, free market economics, and Judeo-Christian ideals. Our mission is advanced through four components: Curriculum Development, Student Enrichment, Faculty Development, and Community Outreach.”

Upcoming Events
October 2021: Professor Jim Stoner, LSU Political Science, on the American constitutional order

November 2021: Daniel Strand, assistant professor of ethics at the U.S. Air Force War College in Montgomery, Alabama, on Understanding Christian Political Theology. Strand was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State University. His research interests include the political and moral theology of Augustine of Hippo and the Augustinian tradition, ethics and foreign policy, the just war tradition, bioethics and moral theory. He received his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Ph.D. in religion and ethics from the University of Chicago.

February 2022: Professor Carl Trueman, Grove City College Biblical and Religious Studies, on the rise and impact of modern notions of selfhood on contemporary culture.

Oversight Committee
Art Carden, Department of Economics Finance and Quantitative Analysis
Jonathan Den Hartog, History
Lee Trepanier, Political Science
Jason Wallace, Stockham Chair
Tim Hall, Dean HCAS, ex officio

Great Ideas Summer Institute

The Great Ideas Summer Institute (GISI) is a unique week-long academic experience for high school students hosted on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. This summer program offers an opportunity for intellectually ambitious students to enjoy the energy of a college classroom, engage ideas that form the essence of American citizenship, and develop friendships with exceptional high school students from around the country. Students must have completed their sophomore or junior year of high school by the time of the institute to apply.

The institute traces the theme of “Western Thought and Citizenship in the American Republic.” On the first day, students discuss the Greek origins of Western politics through works by Pericles, Plato, and Aristotle. Next, students study Roman understandings of citizenship with selections from Livy, Plutarch, and Cicero, natural law, the growth of the Roman Republic, and the rise of Imperial Rome. Day three examines the case for the American Revolution, utilizing ideas from both modern and ancient history, and comparing the American revolutionary cause with the French Revolution. On day four, students engage the Federalist and the Anti-Federalist debates and the creation of the United States Constitution. Finally, students look at conceptions of citizenship and republicanism articulated through the works of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, the 19th Amendment, and Justice Thurgood Marshall.

All classes are discussion oriented and are led by full-time Samford faculty. Three daily sessions (two in the morning and one in the afternoon) are complemented by speakers and other activities.

Students stay in campus housing, have their meals in the university cafeteria, and live in much the same way that Samford University students do during the regular academic year. Students are assisted in their stay by student representatives from Samford’s Stockham Scholars, Howard Scholars, and University Fellows honors program.

What makes GISI unique?

Most high schools teach using secondary texts (traditional textbooks explaining key historical events or summaries of important documents). At GISI, you will read the original texts and discuss them with a community of intellectually curious students and professors who will challenge you to think about the material on a deeper level. This experience will make you a better high school student and help prepare you for college level academic work. In addition, you will develop a mature and reflective understanding of American citizenship and responsible usages of freedom in a constitutional republic.

When is GISI?

Usually, the Great Ideas Summer Institute happens in June. The 2022 dates are TBD. Please contact Dr. William Jason Wallace at if you have any questions.

Where will I stay on campus?

You will stay in dorm rooms on campus. Buildings are separated according to gender, male and female, and each will have at least two resident advisors of the same gender living there as well. Each bedroom will house two students, meaning that these two students will share a room and a bathroom. If you have specific concerns or need certain accommodations, we will work with you at the time of acceptance to the institute.

Am I eligible to apply?

If you have completed your sophomore or junior year of high school by the time of the institute (i.e. are a rising junior or senior), you are eligible to apply. Although we ask for your GPA and other academic information on our application, we do not have specific academic requirements to apply.

How do I apply?

The 2022 dates for the Great Ideas Summer Institute are TBD. More information will be forthcoming as the university monitors COVID protocols for on-campus events. Please contact Dr. Wallace at if you have any questions.

What does it cost to attend?

The cost of GISI is $995. The cost covers reading materials, housing, meals, and organized activities on and off campus.

For additional information:

Email Dr. William Jason Wallace at, or call him at (205) 726-4178.

The Great Ideas Summer Institute is sponsored by the Stockham Chair of Western Intellectual History, the Howard College Colloquium on American Citizenship, and the University Fellows Program.

Stockham Speakers and Seminars

Supports bringing prominent public intellectuals, academics, and writers to Samford to discuss issues and ideas pertaining to the uniqueness of Western civilization. Specifically, the Stockham Chair promotes lectures and discussions related to responsible citizenship in a free society, the Christian intellectual tradition, the “great books” tradition, and the unique significance of the American political project. These lectures are intended to enrich the Samford student body as well as the greater Birmingham community.

Past Sponsored Speakers and Seminars

Dr. Dan Seidel, art historian, art critic, and curator who has spent nearly twenty years writing and lecturing on modern art and theology
Fall 2019

Stockham Symposium: “Where do we go from here? Martin Luther King Jr., Race, and America’s Future”
Spring 2018

Dr. Alan Jacobs, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Baylor University
Fall 2018

Dr. Theodore J. Cachey Jr., Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Ravarino Family Director of Italian and Dante Studies, University of Notre Dame
Fall 2018

Internships and Recommended Organizations

The Stockham Chair of Western Intellectual History maintains a list of organizations and agencies offering internships and further programs of study for undergraduate students.