From the Hodges Lecture in ethics and leadership to service cadres, from immersion trips and Samford Gives Back to research grants, the Francis Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership provides an abundance of resources and opportunities for students to fully participate in our local and global community.

In laboratories, theaters, libraries, and institutes on campus and around the world, our students are engaged in a wide array of scholarly and creative projects. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in service cadres, community based learning experiences, independent study courses that integrate field work, and internships.

The Mann Center also fosters engaged scholarship opportunities for graduate students, facilitating links with local community partners and agencies to create engaged teaching, learning, research, and service opportunities. The goal is to integrate engagement, outreach, and public scholarship opportunities with students' disciplinary expertise.

PACT and Service Cadres

The Mann Center coordinates service cadres each semester that integrate faith and learning through action. These service cadres engage students with community partners in the greater Birmingham community in meaningful and mutually beneficial ways. Students must participate in an orientation and debriefing sessions in addition to serving weekly with their community partners. Current community partners include East Lake United Methodist Church, the Exceptional Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, NorthStar Youth Ministries and Restoration Academy.

The partnerships are coordinated by Samford students through Partners Acting in the Community Today (PACT). PACT’s service liaisons serve as a crucial link between Samford University and the greater Birmingham community by connecting students with ongoing service opportunities. See the list of current community partners and service opportunities below.

Blake Savage

Cornerstone School

Service Liaison: Blake Savage

Cornerstone is a Christ-centered school offering high-quality education in the inner-city. Participants in this cadre tutor students or help with P.E. classes.

Desert Island Supply Co.

Service Liaison:

Desert Island Supply Co. (DISCo) is an organization that offers creative writing workshops for middle school students. Samford students help DISCo teachers with creative writing workshops for students at Putnam Middle School.

Sam HudsonEast Lake United Methodist Church

Service Liaison: Sam Hudson

East Lake United Methodist Church strives to meet the needs of Birmingham’s East Lake community by offering a variety of programs including an afterschool program for youth and a Saturday farmer’s market.

Caroline AlbrightThe Exceptional Foundation

Service Liaison: Caroline Albright

The Exceptional Foundation provides year-round services to individuals with special needs who have reached the age of 21 and no longer receive services from school systems.

Julia SwettHabitat for Humanity

Service Liaison: Julia Swett 

The Greater Birmingham Habitat for Humanity works to make quality, affordable housing solutions available to low-income families.


Casey CunninghamMary Katherine StanleyNorthStar Youth Ministries

Service Liaisons: Casey Cunningham and Mary Katherine Stanley

The mission of NorthStar Youth Ministries is to help urban youth find their direction in life through high quality, holistic programs within a nurturing Christian environment. NorthStar relies on volunteers to run its soccer clubs, art classes, book clubs, Bible clubs, and tutoring program.

Rachel ClarkRestoration Academy

Service Liaison: Rachel Clark

Volunteers at Restoration Academy work individually with students from remedial to accelerated and offer in-school and after-school tutoring.

Please email with any questions about PACT & Service Cadres.

Micah Fellows

Micah Fellows is a four-year honors college experience grounded in the wisdom of Micah 6:8: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah Fellows devote their minds and talents to making Birmingham, and the world beyond, a better place. Through innovative course work, high-impact community development and service abroad, the Micah Fellows program will provide an intentional university experience connected to the world around you.

Micah Fellows will receive internship placements with Birmingham service organizations, an exclusive Micah Fellows spring break service immersion trip, a $3,000 service abroad scholarship, priority registration, innovative discussion cadres. Students interested in the Micah Fellows Program can apply for the program or contact Micah Fellows coordinator, Caroline Janeway, at or 205-726-2841.

Service Immersion Trips

Mann Center Service Immersion Trips provide students with hands on service opportunities and built in reflection time to encourage students to put their faith into practice. This spring break, we are offering two service immersion trips – one to Give Kids the World in Orlando, Florida, and another to Heifer International in Perryville, Arkansas. Students can submit applications for these trips through Bulldog Central.

Give Kids the World | Orlando, Florida

Give Kids the World | Orlando, Florida Samford University has sent a team of students to Give Kids the World (GKTW) for four consecutive years. GKTW is a nonprofit storybook resort that offers cost-free fantasy vacations for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. For these children, a typical week is filled with doctor's visits, treatments, pain, and medication, but at GKTW, they are treated to a magical, memorable vacation where they can experience a week of fun as a normal kid. Volunteers play a crucial role in making GKTW a place that inspires hope in children.

Samford student volunteers at GKTW will assist in multiple areas of the park including serving ice cream, operating pony rides, painting faces, helping put on plays, and landscaping.

L’Arche Mobile

Founded in France in 1964 by Jean Vanier, L’Arche International uses a model where 147 people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together in more than 35 countries around the world. L’Arche Mobile is one of the oldest of 18 communities in the United States. The Mann Center initiated the partnership with the international federation as an opportunity for Samford students to serve alongside L’Arche team members while learning about the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities.

The inaugural cohort of Samford’s Micah Fellows will participate in the L’Arche spring break immersion trip in March 2017, and a limited number of spots will be available to undergraduate and graduate students. Students will spend their week experiencing an intentional faith community, building relationships with members of the L’Arche community, and assisting with various tasks such as cleaning, landscaping, and small repairs.

Samford Gives Back

Samford Gives Back offers an opportunity for Samford students to meet an expressed community need off-campus. Samford Gives Back provides an entry point for Samford students to be exposed to the greater Birmingham community, meet a specific need of a community agency or entity and initiate relationships beyond Samford’s campus. A student-led Leadership Team organizes and plans the event with supervision from the Director of Community Engagement.

Samford Gives Back Quick Facts

Hodges Lecture in Ethics and Leadership

The Mann Center sponsors the annual Andrew Gerow Hodges Lecture in Ethics and Leadership, which provides a forum for the Samford community to hear nationally and internationally known thought leaders from business, the professions and academia. These campus-wide programs address current ethical issues facing society, focusing especially on the role of leadership in meeting these challenges.

Previous Hodges Lecturers include George Marsden, professor emeritus of history at the University of Notre Dame, Stanley Hauerwas, professor of theological ethics at Duke Divinity School, Richard Carwardine, president of Corpus Cristi College at the University of Oxford, Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College, and Pieter Faling, executive director of the national electricity supply company of South Africa.

Samford Strong Leadership Academy

The Samford Strong Leadership Academy began in 2014 as a partnership between the Mann Center and Athletics to foster character development in Samford student-athletes. This seminar series brings athletes to campus to share their personal testimonies focusing on the importance of faith and character to success in all areas of life.

Awards & Scholarships

The Mann Awards for Leadership and Character and McDade Scholarship

The Frances Marlin Mann Awards for Leadership and Character are annually awarded to eleven students from each of the university’s 10 academic schools and athletics program. Students are nominated by deans and other university executives and selected based upon their consistent leadership and strong character, including humility, courage, self-control and justice.

Additionally, one student is awarded the Joe McDade Scholarship, which honors a 1961 alumnus. Nominees must demonstrate a life and character lived in the spirit of Christ, a contribution to the overall betterment and well-being of the University, participation in a wide range of campus life, leadership ability, an embodiment of the overall goals, mission, and spirit of the university, and a commitment to the long-range development and well-being of the university.

Samford East African Scholars

Through a partnership with Bridge2Rwanda and the University Fellows, the Mann Center annually provides one student from East Africa the opportunity to study for four year at Samford University. While at Samford, these students are matched with a mentor and host family, while receiving specialized educational and career guidance. After completing their undergraduate degrees the Samford East African Scholars return to their host country to help identify and meet needs in their home countries. To make a donation to the Samford East African Scholarship Fund or the Samford East African Assistance Fund, please contact Kelly Adams, Program Administrator, at or 205-726-4634.

Graduate Students

Community Engagement

Graduate students may also participate in service cadres and immersion trips if they so desire.