Posted by William Nunnelley on 2005-09-28

Samford University will dedicate the Boyd E. Christenberry Planetarium during annual Family Weekend Saturday, Oct. 8. The planetarium was completed in 2001 as part of Samford's Sciencenter project and named for Christenberry by the Samford board of trustees earlier this year.

Samford President Thomas E. Corts and planetarium Director George E. Atchley will speak during the 11 a.m. dedication program in the planetarium.

Christenberry, a Montgomery resident, retired in 1993 after a distinguished career with Alfa Insurance Company and its predecessor, Alabama Farm Bureau. He was executive vice president for marketing at the time of his retirement.

A civic leader and active member of First Baptist Church of Montgomery, Christenberry has served on the Samford board of trustees since 1978 and is now a lifetime member. He was chairman of the board from 1998 until 2002.

A native of Perry County, Christenberry was reared on a farm by sharecropper parents. He graduated from Auburn University in 1950 after service in the U.S. Army, and began working for Alabama Farm Bureau in 1956.

Christenberry and his wife of 54 years, Sara, have five adult children and 17 grandchildren.

The Samford planetarium is the largest at a teaching institution in Alabama. It offers unidirectional seating for 100 people and provides central focus on a tilted 40-foot dome. A 200-degree panorama projection system is supported with state-of-the-art surround audio. The advanced optomechanical System 1024 Star Projector reproduces the night sky with accuracy and fidelity.

There are fewer than six planetariums like the Samford facility in the United States, according to Atchley.