Published on September 21, 2022 by Leighton Doores  
Carter Scholarship

John T. Carter and Frances T. Carter joined the Samford faculty in 1956 and served as professors in Orlean Beeson School of Education until their retirements—hers in 1984 and his in 1987. John Carter was dean of Orlean Beeson School of Education from 1980 until 1986. Frances Carter founded the school’s early childhood education program. Through the years, the Carters have supported excellence in education by funding scholarships, awards, and the Young Authors Conference held annually at Samford University.

The Carter Family Legacy Scholarship has been established to honor the many contributions made by the Carters to Orlean Beeson School of Education. The scholarship will be awarded based on both merit and financial need to a student who is studying Elementary Education with a Christian education and missions concentration, with preference given to rising juniors and seniors.

Nell Carter Branum, daughter of John and Frances Carter, describes her parents as passionate about sharing the Gospel and serving the Lord, something they did both at home and around the world. They supported missions endeavors both financially and with their time.

“Both were teachers to the core, which, in itself, indicates their belief that it is important to entrust Kingdom service to the next generations,” said Branum. “They lived their faith in their classrooms each day while they were teaching at Samford, and are now continuing that faith through their scholarships.”

Always having hearts for sharing Christ, the Carters taught at Hong Kong Baptist University and Anhui Normal University in Wuhu, People’s Republic of China on two sabbatical leaves. For several years after retirement, they annually led teams of American teachers to conduct workshops for teachers in China. They participated in short-term volunteer mission trips as well. For 17 years, John Carter initiated and led the Christian Corresponders letter-writing project, matching more than 20,000 American Christian young people to correspond with Chinese students. They built a library/community center for the Marla Corts Christian School in a Liberian village, as well as the John T. Carter Agricultural College in the same village. They led the International Book Project, which provided thousands of books to foreign university libraries. They also directed and taught Conversational English through their church in Birmingham for many years.

Both John and Frances Carter were prolific writers, writing several mission study books for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), as well as writing SBC curriculum for 25 years for children in Sunday School, Royal Ambassadors (RAs), and Girls in Action (GAs). Frances Carter worked as an editor of materials for children and youth at the national Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) office after her retirement from Samford. 

John Carter was instrumental in founding the Fellowship of Baptist Educators, which helps connect volunteer teachers with missions needs, and served as its national president and executive director. Frances Carter founded the American Rosie the Riveter Association, serving as its executive director until her death. She wrote and contributed to many books that highlight her experiences as a Rosie the Riveter. 

John Carter died in 2014 at the age of 92, and Frances Carter died in 2021 at the age of 99, both having lived according to one of John Carter’s favorite sayings, “I want to live ‘till I die.” They left behind a rich legacy of facilitating Christian missions through education. 

“We hope that this scholarship will assist students, so they can better prepare for their own mission service in the field of education, as God leads them,” said Branum. “Samford is a wonderful place to sharpen one's ministry tools, and we pray that this scholarship will help provide the opportunities that students need, to become all they can be for God's Kingdom work.” 

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.