Posted by Philip Poole on 2008-04-11

Samford University officials praised the contributions of two donors who have died in the past week.

Clara Clements Hudnall of Mariana, Fla., died April 7. Her funeral is April 12 in Mariana. She had received an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Samford in 1997. Her late husband Frank attended Samford in the md-1930s while working for the Birmingham city schools.

The Hudnalls provided funding for a mid-1990s expansion and renovation project in Samford's Harwell G. Davis Library. The Frank W. and Clara Clements Hudnall Library was dedicated in December 1998 and includes a magnificent two-story reading room and other facilities.

"She was an extremely humble and very kind person, yet her generosity truly transformed Samford's library," said Jean Thomason, who was serving as director of university libraries at the time of the Hudnall dedication.

"I recall that when we honored her, she was invited to stay for several days for additional recognitions," Thomason noted, "but she insisted that she needed to get home so she could teach her Sunday school class."

Marie NeSmith Fowler of Hartselle, Ala., died unexpected on April 3. Her funeral was April 6 in Hartselle. Fowler was a 1948 pharmacy graduate of Samford and operated Fowler Drug in Hartselle with her husband, Howard.

The Fowlers provided endowment funds for a lecture series in her name through Samford's Christian Women's Leadership Center. She had been on campus in February for the 2008 lectures by Judge Helen Shores Lee.

"Marie Fowler raised the standard of excellence wherever she was involved, a truly beautiful lady with a desire to serve others," said Samford major gifts officer J. Ronald Wilson, who served as Fowler's pastor in Hartselle before working with her on her contributions to Samford.

Survivors include her daughter Karen Fowler Howell of Nashville, Tenn., a 1974 Samford graduate, and two granddaughters, Lesley Howell Owen, of Birmingham, a 2002 Samford graduate, and Marie Louise (Mollie) Howell of Nashville, a 2006 Samford graduate.

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.