Posted by Phillip Poole on 2008-02-06

Samford University has established a fund to provide financial assistance to sister institution Union University in Jackson, Tenn. Union was hit Feb. 5 by tornadoes that moved through Arkansas, Tennessee and the upper Midwest.

About 50 Union students were injured when two residence facilities were heavily damaged by the tornadoes. This was the second time in recent years for tornadoes to hit the Union campus.

In an email to students and employees, Samford President Andrew Westmoreland said the fund was being established "with the view that all gifts received will be forwarded to Union for general use in recovering from the tornado."

Gifts can be made online at or through Samford's Office of University Relations, 800 Lakeshore Dr., Birmingham, AL 35229.

Westmoreland said he had been in contact with Union administrators "to offer our prayers and whatever additional support we may be able to provide.

"Many of us within the Samford community have friends among the Union faculty, staff and student body," Westmoreland said. "There is little we can do at the moment, but opportunities may arise for us to send volunteers to help."

Union, like Samford, has historic Baptist ties and has about 3,000 students. The campus is located in the northern section of Jackson, a city of about 60,000 residents located between Memphis and Nashville.

At mid-day, students were being allowed back on campus to retrieve personal belongings. Classes have been cancelled for at least two weeks.

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.