Posted by Mary Wimberley on 1999-11-01

The 95 Baptist Student Union Choir alumni who reunited for a special concert Saturday, Oct. 30, might call that event the highlight of Samford University Homecoming activities. Members of the Class of 1949 would likely vote their own reunions as the best part.

Some 1,300 alumni and family members attended a variety of activities for all ages during Homecoming weekend Oct. 29-31.

Events included the planting of an eight-foot sapling grown from an acorn taken two years ago from Sherman Oak, a landmark on the East Lake campus. The parent tree was felled in July, 1998.

Sharing Alumni of the Year honors were mystery writer Anne George, Class of 1948, and businessmen Carl E. Miller, Jr., Class of 1950, and Carl Edwin Miller, III, Class of 1974. All are from Birmingham.

Ken Partridge, a retired minister from Hampden, Maine, received the Odyssey Award for having traveled the most miles to attend. He made the trip to reunite with his Class of 1959.

The Samford Bulldogs defeated Liberty University 35-28 on the football field Saturday afternoon.

Ashley Norton of Vestavia Hills was crowned Homecoming Queen at Halftime. Brian McPherson of West Palm Beach, Fla., was named Homecoming King.

Other senior representatives in the Court were Adam Blair of Vestavia Hills, Leah Douglas of Hoover, Chad Eggleston of Carrollton, Ga., and Tara Tiller of Decatur. The court also included juniors Alieta Young of Birmingham and Logan Casey of Selma; sophomores Ansley Lindsey of Barnesville, Ga., and Blake Kersey of Paducah, Ky.; and freshmen Jill Mullins of Wetumpka and Brock Eson of Huntsville.

Becky England of Birmingham, a 1984 graduate, chaired efforts to locate and bring back former BSU Choir members. Alumni from six decades returned to present a concert in Beeson Divinity Chapel.

The choir reunion brought Cathy Wood back for her first Homecoming since she graduated in 1979. "It really does feel like you're coming home," Wood said of the reunion. "The BSU Choir was your campus family."

She is part of a true choir family that includes her parents, Dot and Clint Wood, her sisters Beth Wood Leach and Lynn Wood Harper and Lynn's husband, Chris Harper.

The elder Woods were choir members during 1949 through 1951, when the choir grew out of a more informal mission band group that sang when called on for special occasions. The younger Woods were members during the 1980s.

Choir alumni sang again at the Sunday morning worship service which concluded Homecoming weekend.

Dr. Jack Snell, a 1963 graduate and pastor of Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla., preached. A former BSU Choir president, Snell recalled that he met his wife Anita, who sang at the service, in the choir.

Preaching on the topic, "Faith for the Long Term," he acknowledged that life is a marathon, and that sometimes, because of changing life circumstances, the race one is in is not the race that was entered. However, he said, "We're not designed to run the race alone, but were designed to run as part of a team. We need Jesus and we need each other."


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.