Posted by William Nunnelley on 2007-02-05

The Samford University department of religion received a gift of $663,487 from the estate of Blanche Louise Abrams, a retired former teacher who lived in Birmingham. The money will be used for scholarships, the purchase of books and to assist faculty members in research and writing projects. A viewing-listening room in the Samford library will be named in her honor.

A longtime member of Ensley Baptist Church, Mrs. Abrams taught for 40 years at Ensley and West End high schools. She taught bookkeeping, shorthand and typing courses.

She and her husband, Relius, were dedicated to the church and were avid students of the field of religion. They read widely and traveled in the Holy Land. They also developed an interest in supporting the Samford religion department.

After Relius died in the 1970s, Blanche Abrams made several gifts in his honor to the religion department. She died in 2005 at the age of 93, leaving the majority of her estate to the department.

"The Abrams gift will be a major boost to the work of the department of religion, encouraging students through the Abrams scholarship, through the purchase of library books and in enabling faculty members to travel to pursue their research and writing projects," said Dr. Kenneth B. Roxburgh, religion department chair.

A Birmingham native, Mrs. Abrams worked her way through college during the Great Depression. She was a member of Ensley Baptist Church for more than 80 years, and supported the church with tithes and other gifts until it closed several years ago.

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.