Tom and Marla Corts Distinguished Author Series featuring Eric Motley

Eric MotleyEric Motley, a beloved Samford University alumnus, will be the featured speaker at the eighth annual Tom & Marla Corts Distinguished Author Series, March 1. Motley will speak at 7 p.m. in Leslie S. Wright Fine Arts Center. The lecture’s focus will be on Motley’s personal memoir Madison Park: A Place of Hope, released November 2017.

In Madison Park: A Place of Hope, Motley discusses his upbringing in the Madison Park community of Montgomery, Alabama, and the amazing power of gratitude, generosity, grace, and faith in God and each other. 

Since its release, Madison Park: A Place of Hope has received wonderful reviews from personalities such as Laura Bush, Walter Isaacson and Reid Hoffman. The memoir has also been listed on Oprah Winfrey’s “10 Titles to Pick up Now” in O The Oprah Magazine.

It is the education school's honor to host a beloved friend and member of the Samford family.

Learn More about Eric Motley.


In honor of the first alumni distinguished author and thanks to the generosity of event sponsors, this year, general admission tickets are complimentary to all attendees.

General Admission Tickets

VIP tickets are also available. VIP tickets are $75 and include a private reception with Motley in the foyer of Brock Recital Hall at 6 p.m. and a copy of his memoir, Madison Park: A Place of Hope. Each VIP ticket purchase includes a $50 tax-deductible gift and supports scholarships for Samford students who have demonstrated financial need and who exemplify outstanding leadership qualities.

VIP Reception Tickets

Sponsorship Opportunities

Proceeds from the 2018 Tom and Marla Corts Distinguished Author series will benefit the Dr. Eric L. Motley Scholarship at Samford University, which is awarded to needy and worthy students of high character who show promise and great potential with a civic mind and are actively involved in student leadership. The event also provides endowment support for Samford’s Orlean Beeson School of Education.

For more information on becoming a sponsor contact Sheri H. Ransome at 205-726-4462 or email

Learn about Sponsorship Opportunities


The names Tom and Marla Corts have been synonymous with Samford University for three decades. The Tom and Marla Corts Distinguished Author Series is named for Samford’s 17th president and his wife. The series was launched in 2011 to recognize their invaluable leadership to Samford University, the community and the cause of literacy. The event also provides endowment support for Samford’s Orlean Beeson School of Education.

Previous Guests:

  • 2017—Philip Yancey
  • 2016—Parker J. Palmer
  • 2015—Laura Bush
  • 2014—Wes Moore
  • 2012—Wendell Berry
  • 2011—Greg Mortenson