Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2009-10-29

Samford University will recognize three outstanding alumni during Homecoming weekend activities Nov. 6-8.

Michael and Carolyn Yeager Robinson will be honored as Alumni of the Year, and Eric Motley will be named Outstanding Young Alumnus at a banquet on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Samford dining hall.

Motley, a 1996 graduate, will be the first recipient of a new honor to recognize a distinguished graduate who is under age 40 and earned a degree within the last 15 years. The former Samford student government association president is managing director of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C. He was formerly director of the State Department’s Office of International Visitors and a presidential assistant in the George W. Bush White House. A native of Montgomery, Ala., Motley holds a Ph.D. in international relations and theology from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

The Robinsons live in Alabaster, Ala., where they retired to in 2005 after Mike’s Air Force career took them to posts overseas and throughout the United States. He served as an electronic warfare officer before retiring as a colonel in 1988. He then worked for Northrop-Grumman on the B-2 stealth bomber.

They are involved in many aspects of Samford life, including the Alumni Council, the Bulldog Club advisory council, and Samford Auxiliary. They are also loyal spectators at varied sports events. The Robinsons are founders of a journalism and mass communication scholarship in memory of Mike’s late brother, Timothy Robinson, a Samford graduate whose career included covering Watergate for The Washington Post. The scholarship program was the genesis for The Post to pair with Samford to establish the Timothy Sumner Robinson Forum, which has brought Post writers to the university for public lectures.

Mike and Carolyn, who met as Samford students, are members of the classes of 1961 and 1960, respectively.

To purchase banquet tickets, or obtain information on any Homecoming event, go to or email

The banquet will kick off a weekend of festive Homecoming activities. Friday events also include an Evensong worship service, a Samford chefs’ culinary demonstration, and a pep rally and bonfire.

Saturday’s events include class and affinity group reunions, hot-air balloon rides, a parade, health fair, alumni art show and other activities. A Live @ the Library program at 9:30 a.m. will feature literature scholar Carmen Acevedo Butcher.  Samford’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication will induct journalism educator Jon Clemmensen, newspaper journalist Carol Nunnelley and book publisher Randall Williams as inaugural members of its Wall of Fame in an 11:15 a.m. ceremony in the University Center.

The Samford Bulldogs take on Southern Conference opponent Georgia Southern at 2:30 p.m. in Seibert Stadium. The Homecoming court will be honored at halftime.

The traditional Homecoming worship service on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. in Hodges Chapel will be led by Dr. Bill Shiell and Dr. Kely Hatley, Samford alumni and ministers at First Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tenn.


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.