Posted by Philip Poole on 2007-08-27

If the first day of classes is any indication, this should be a good semester at Samford University. Only a broken water line appeared to mar an otherwise near-perfect day.

As the day ended on Monday, university officials praised the move-in process from the previous weekend and the first full day of fall semester classes.

J. Bradley Creed, Samford's provost and executive vice president, said classes were "off to a good and promising start. Typically it takes a day or two for the dust to settle, but everything I have heard today has been very positive and virtually problem-free."

Even the weather cooperated. Students and employees walking across campus enjoyed cooler temperatures than the recent spate of 100-plus degree days that had baked Birmingham during August.

A late afternoon thunderstorm on Sunday forced the annual back-to-school picnic indoors, but the venue change did not diminish students' apparent enthusiasm for being back on campus.

More than 1,900 students have filled the university's residence facilities to capacity, with some students living in university-owned houses adjacent to the campus.

"Everything went very smoothly with move-in," according to Lauren Taylor, director of residence life. "The minor problems we encountered were handled quickly."

Students in the west campus residence facilities had minor inconvenience on Monday. Construction crews at the new Pete Hanna Center nearby accidentally cut a water line, causing a temporary water outage.

A noticeable improvement was parking, with plenty of empty spaces around campus at mid-day. A new 600-space parking deck opened last week in time for freshman move-in on Thursday. The new deck serves central campus residence facilities and commuter students.

"The opening of the new north deck resolved many of the parking problems we've encountered in recent years," said Bobby Breed, Samford's director of campus safety. Breed noted that the overflow lots near the Leslie Stephen Wright Fine Arts Center and south of Seibert Stadium were "more than adequate" to handle parking.

Students did encounter lines in the business and student records offices, but by late afternoon those lines were only one or two persons deep. The longest lines, as normal for the first day of classes, were in the campus book store as students scrambled to buy textbooks for the semester.

Creed said that preliminary enrollment figures would be available later in the week, but university officials already had announced the freshman class was the second largest in history with about 730 first-year students enrolled.

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.