Posted by Phillip Poole on 2008-02-21

Samford University's endowment stands to gain in the next few months if students and employees meet a challenge issued Feb. 21 by university trustee and philanthropist Harry B. Brock Jr.

Through the Brock family foundation, Brock committed to match up to $100,000 in new contributions to endowment from students and employees. The challenge was made at the end of a convocation celebrating the recent naming of Samford's school of business for Brock.

Called the 1841 Mission in recognition of the university's founding and Christian mission, the challenge asks each student and non-donor employee to make a gift of $18.41 or more to the general endowment or the endowment of one of Samford's eight academic schools.

"In 1841, Samford began with modest gifts from committed founders who saw a great vision for the institution," said Michael D. Morgan, vice president for university relations. "These new gifts to endowment will help Samford to maintain its strong financial foundation."

At the December announcement about the naming of Brock School of Business, Brock said he wanted to help secure a $100 million endowment for the school of business. Samford President Andrew Westmoreland expressed the university's desire for all eight academic schools to have similar or higher endowments, leading to Brock's most recent challenge.

"Endowment is the lifeblood of the institution," Brock said, "and we ought to find a way to get those endowments up."

Brock said he was challenging every Samford student and employee to participate. "This will bring everyone under the tent who has not given before. We want them to develop the habit of supporting the endowment every year."

"Mr. Brock's latest generous challenge transverses the university," Westmoreland said. "It will help all our academic units to better serve students through growing endowments."

"The goal of the 1841 Mission is to invite students and employees, those who most directly benefit from the university's mission, to engage in Samford's great tradition of philanthropy," Morgan stressed.

Gifts to the 1841 Mission can be made online at or through Samford's university relations office, 310 Samford Hall, 800 Lakeshore Dr., Birmingham, AL 35229.

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.