Published on January 13, 2008 by Mary Wimberley  
Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2008-04-21

Samford University is set to unveil a new name for its arts program. As of April 30, the School of Performing Arts will be known as School of the Arts.

The name change, approved by the Samford Board of Trustees, recognizes the addition of visual art and graphic design to an academic program that already includes theatre, music and dance.

Along with the new name comes a fresh school logo designed by the graphic design department and its own mission statement, "Preparing today's artist…to shape tomorrow's world."

"It's an exciting time in the life of our School," says arts dean Joseph Hopkins. "The faculty, students, alumni and friends have formed the mission and objects of a truly comprehensive and interdisciplinary learning environment, one that affords every student the opportunity to develop strengths across arts disciplines."

Samford School of the Arts now includes art, graphic design, theatre, dance, music theatre, instrumental (band and orchestra), church music, music education, theory, music history, vocal/choral music, piano, organ, composition, the preparatory music program, and administration of the Wright Fine Arts Center Concert Hall.

The value of having all arts programs in one academic unit translates well for students and faculty, notes Hopkins.

"There's a lot of synergy and strength to be gained by having students and faculty in varied disciplines working together," said Hopkins. "Theatre and art students now work in music rooms, and music students spend more time in the art gallery."

In time, he expects the curriculum to include more interdisciplinary courses that will allow students in the different majors to better associate and learn from each other.

While each specialty is nurtured and preserved, the coming together signifies an effort to teach students how to work with other disciplines in the real world, says Hopkins.

"But more importantly, it is a step in fulfilling the school's mission to prepare today's artists to influence tomorrow's world for Christ," said Hopkins, who was named dean in 2006.

Hopkins, Samford president Andrew Westmoreland and provost Brad Creed will formally announce the new name at three events that represent the diversity of the arts program and showcase a variety of Samford talent:

  • * Art faculty show closing 4-6 p.m. on April 30.
  • * Samford Theatre's opening night of the musical Cinderella at 7:30 p.m. on May 1.
  • * Music Division performance of Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony and Belshazzar's Feast at 7:30 p.m. on May 6.

For information and tickets call (205) 726-2851 or check the website at

A reception at each event will salute a new support component of the school, Friends of Samford Arts, a cross-section of community, campus and alumni donors to the arts program.

The Samford arts community, says Hopkins, is distinguished by accomplishments of faculty, students and alumni who carry the scholarship and creativity of the University around the world.

"Samford artists, actors and musicians guide national and international arts organizations, perform in the world's greatest venues and help prepare the next generation of arts students," he said. "Samford artists represent the highest standards of achievement and character. They demonstrate that faith truly enhances the quality and impact of our talent and work."

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.