During the 1967–68 academic year, Audrey Lattimore Gaston enrolled in Cumberland Law School at Samford University. She was the first African-American to attend the University. The Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives in partnership with the Offices of the President, Marketing and Communication, University Advancement, and Alumni Programs are pleased to commemorate the 50th anniversary of integration of Samford University. Programming to honor and celebrate this event will be highlighted throughout the 2017–18 academic year.
University Provost Dr. Michael Hardin will share a meal with minority faculty on campus. During this time, faculty will be able to share thoughts and ideas with Dr. Hardin.
University President Dr. Andrew Westmoreland will announce the golden anniversary of integration at the Leadership Summit.
Members of the Samford community are asked to nominate minorities who have made an impact on the university. To qualify, nominees must have completed at least one academic year enrolled at Samford. Please nominate individuals who have distinguished themselves through exemplary professional achievement and civic and community service. The nomination period will end November 27.
The Great Debaters is a drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College, a historically black college located in Marshall, Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. This event is free and open to the Samford community. Refreshments will be served. Two convocation credits are available for undergraduate students.
The winter edition of "Seasons" magazine will feature Audrey Lattimore Gaston and the events celebrating the 50th anniversary of integration.
Provost Dr. Michael Hardin will speak during the spring opening convocation about the 50th anniversary of the integration of Samford. Together, the Samford University A Cappella Choir and the Center Point High School Choir will perform "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by James Weldon Johnson.
A luncheon immediately following the university convocation will honor some of the first students to integrate the university.
The 28 minority Golden Anniversary honorees will be highlighted during the month of February. Each day an honoree will be featured in social media and recognized for his or her contributions to the university.
Dr. Billie Jean Young, 1979 Cumberland graduate, performs her one-woman show, "Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light." Dr. Young was in the first class of African-American students to graduate from Judson College. She currently serves on their faculty where she teaches drama. She has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Fellow Genius Award for her community development leadership.
The Black Law Student Association of Cumberland Law School will host the annual Thurgood Marshall Symposium series.
"New York Times" bestselling author Andrew Maraniss speaks at university convocation. Maraniss' book, "Strong Inside," is the civil rights story of Perry Wallace. Wallace was the first African-American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference. Maraniss tells the story of Wallace's struggle, loneliness and perseverance at Vanderbilt University during the 1960s.
Dr. Eric Motley, 1996 Samford alumnus, will be the featured speaker for this event. The lecture’s focus will be on Motley’s personal memoir Madison Park: A Place of Hope, set to release 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. This event is hosted by the Orlean Beeson School of Education.
The Samford Black Alumni Association will host this annual event. February honorees will be recognized for their contribution to the university at the luncheon.
Undergraduate minority students are invited to celebrate and honor graduating students and campus leaders at the annual Minority Student Achievement Banquet.