Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2003-06-10

Kevin Belmonte, the author of a biography of English reformer William Wilberforce, is the recipient of the 2003 John C. Pollock Award for Christian Biography. The Pollock Award was established in 2001 by Samford University's Beeson Divinity School.

Belmonte, author of Hero of Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce (NavPress), was selected from 30 nominees for the 2003 award. He is director and general editor of The William Wilberforce Papers Project at Gordon College in Massachusetts. The scholarly initiative under the auspices of The Center for Christian Studies seeks to perpetuate Wilberforce's legacy and that of the Clapham Circle, the group of evangelical Anglicans with whom he collaborated on many philanthropic projects.

In his biography of Wilberforce, Belmonte examines the role of Christianity in the statesman's political and spiritual life. Wilberforce spent decades working to abolish the slave trade and ultimately slavery itself in the British Empire.

"Wilberforce was a devout Christian whose faith informed his public life in a way that enhanced both," said Beeson dean Dr. Timothy George. "Dr. Pollock, for whom this award is named, also wrote a notable biography of Wilberforce, and Mr. Belmonte's book sheds fresh light on this great Christian statesman." The Pollock Award honors the life and contributions of John C. Pollock, an Englishman who has written more than 30 books, mostly Christian biographies. His subjects have included D.L. Moody, the Cambridge Seven and Billy Graham. "We want to celebrate those who seek to perpetuate the personal stories of Christian men and women," said Samford president Thomas E. Corts. "Biography is always stimulating, since it reflects the authentic struggles of our peers, and particularly within the community of faith. At Beeson Divinity School and Samford University, we seek to learn from others, and to cherish their stories. Since John Pollock has preserved such stories so well, The Pollock Award is both a tribute to him and an honor to the recipient."

Anyone wishing to make nominations for the 2004 Pollock award should send a letter of nomination, along with two copies of the biography, to Dean Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, AL 35229. Nominations must be received by Dec. 15, 2003.


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.