Posted by William Nunnelley on 2003-10-21

Samford University will pause Friday, Oct. 24, to remember a man described as "a titanic figure" in its history: Ralph Waldo Beeson.

The man for whom Samford's Beeson Divinity School and various campus structures are named was born Oct. 24, 1900, and died Oct. 15, 1990, nine days short of his 90th birthday. Samford observes that birthday each fall as Ralph Waldo Beeson Day on campus.

Following Beeson's death, Samford President Thomas E. Corts called him "a titanic figure in the history of Samford University," adding, "All that Mr. Beeson did, he did out of a sense of profound Christian stewardship."

Beeson supported Samford generously during his lifetime and at his death, left the school an estate gift of $54.8 million. At the time, it was the largest charitable gift in Alabama history and one of the largest to an American university. He and his family donated well over $100 million to Samford in all.

Beeson's statue sits on a park bench at the entrance to Centennial Walk at Samford. On Friday, a wreath at the site will pay tribute to his memory.


About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.