Published on November 14, 2013 by Philip Poole  

Senior Rachel Gregory was crowned Samford University's 2013 Homecoming queen Thursday night (Nov. 14) at a ball attended by more than 1,100 students. Gregory is an elementary education major from Brentwood, Tenn.

Jacob Hamilton, a senior English major from Dallas, Texas, was named Homecoming king.

The king and queen were selected in a university-wide vote from among the senior court nominees. Other senior nominees were Mathes Ballard, a marketing and management major from Lookout Mountain, Tenn., Katy Flinn, a journalism and mass communication major from Carrollton, Ga., Rebekah Robinson, a journalism and mass communication major from Tupelo, Miss., and Matt Taylor, a music composition major from Indianapolis, Ind.

The pair were announced by Samford President Andrew Westmoreland and his wife, Jeanna, and will reign throughout Homecoming weekend.

The event, coordinated by the university's office of student affairs with Birmingham event planner Kathy G., transformed the 55-year-old Seibert Gymnasium into a ballroom complete with chandeliers and a spectacular buffet provided by Campus Dining, Inc., the university's food service and catering vendor. Attendees danced to the music of Birmingham-based band St. Paul and the Broken Bones, which features two 2013 Samford graduates, Allen Branstetter and Ben Griner, among its members.

Other members of the Homecoming court who were presented at the ball are Freshmen Annie Smith, a pre-pharmacy major from Columbia, Tenn., and Jay Davis, an undeclared major from San Marino, Calif.; sophomores Buddy Riles, a pre-pharmacy major from Albany, Ga., and Kara Young, a journalism and mass communication major from Tupelo, Miss.; and juniors Emily Elder, an art major from Gainesville, Ga., and Jay Morris, a finance and economics major from Columbus, Ga.

Samford senior Patrick O'Connor said the event exceeded everyone's expectations. "We all were blown away with the decorations, the band, the food and how they turned what we saw as a nasty old gym into a beautiful ballroom," he said.

O'Connor specifically praised the student affairs staff who coordinated the event: Renie Moss, assistant dean for campus life; Beth Roller, director of student activities and events; and Paige Acker, student activities coordinator.

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.