Posted by Bill Nunnelley on 2008-10-09

Samford University dedicated the striking new Hazel P. Boren Courtyard and Gardens on a sunlit afternoon with fall plantings abloom, student musicians performing and the promise of a new red daylily to come next spring that bears the same name as the garden.

"We all desire to spend time in a garden and this is a special place in which to do so," said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland during midday ceremonies Thursday, Oct. 9. He noted that the Boren family had "benefitted generations of Samford students" through scholarships and that the gardens were only the latest example of their generosity.

The courtyard and gardens were a gift to Samford from Russell and Hazel Boren of Birmingham. It honors Mrs. Boren, a longtime member of the Samford University Auxiliary and its scholarship committee. The dedication followed the first Auxiliary meeting of the 2008-2009 calendar, and many members of the organization were present.

The new daylily was developed and registered as Hemerocallis 'Hazel Boren' by Samford staff members Paul and Judi Aucoin, active members of the American Hemerocallis Society that fosters development and improvement of daylilies. It was planted in the gardens prior to the ceremony. Paul is dean of academic services and Judi is director of donor relations at Samford.

The courtyard and gardens are located between the Brock Recital Hall, Wright Fine Arts Center and Buchanan Hall music building, and serve as a connecting point between the Samford School of the Arts facilities. It is the scene of concerts and programs, and also serves as a gathering place for students.

The garden features Japanese maple, crape myrtle, American boxwood, camellia, hydrangea, Indian Hawthorne, willow oak, begonia, mums, and Asiatic jasmine as well as Mondo and Zoysia grasses.

The Samford Steel band welcomed guests gathering for the dedication and played at the close of the program. Samford senior Rachel Emery, a violinist, performed "Amazing Grace," one of Hazel Boren's favorites, during the program.

Russell Boren owns Boren Explosives, Dixie Drilling Company and Apache Construction Company of Birmingham. His businesses work with coal mining, rock quarry and construction companies. He and his wife are natives of Blount County.

Boren proposed naming the gardens for his wife more than two years ago. Even though he graduated from Auburn University, he told of numerous family ties to Samford in addition to Hazel's long Auxiliary involvement. He is a lifelong Baptist whose grade school teacher and whose various pastors all were Samford graduates.

"What we see with this school is just great," he said.

At the close of the program, Dr. Westmoreland thanked the Borens for being friends of Samford.

"You are further extending the reach of this institution," he said.

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.