Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2011-05-04

The difference in this country surviving or not is for its future leaders to have moral fiber, Mike Huckabee told a crowd of Samford University supporters Tuesday, May 3.

“If we don’t develop that type of leadership in those coming after us, we do need to be fearful for our country,” the former Arkansas governor and U.S. presidential candidate said at Samford Auxilary’s annual scholarship gala. “You must invest in your country’s future, and help raise Godly leaders who know the difference in right and wrong.”

It is at schools such as Samford, with its “distinctly Christian point of view,” that students can see that education is not just about academics, but about connecting to something bigger in life. “It is about finding out what God has created us to be,” said Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister.

 “It’s in your best interest that students attend a school like Samford,” he said, adding that sometimes people forget that the greatest gifts they give are the ones that cannot be repaid.

Huckabee told how a Rotary Club scholarship from his hometown of Hope, Ark., helped him to attend a Christian school, Ouachita University, and become the first male member of his family to finish college. He is a longtime friend of Samford president Dr. Andrew Westmoreland and his wife, Dr. Jeanna Westmoreland, also Ouachita graduates. Dr. Andrew Westmoreland was president of the Arkansas Baptist school before being named Samford president in 2006.

By helping provide scholarships, Huckabee said, donors may help students fill not only their minds with knowledge, but their hearts with the love of God. If a student becomes an upright leader, it will save you more than you gave, he told the group.

Banquet guests heard from from Samford student Justin Smith, a junior psychology major from Odenville, Ala., who is recipient of an Auxiliary scholarship. Smith told how his Samford education will allow him to achieve his goal of helping others be the best they can be.

Prior to the banquet at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala., Huckabee spoke at an afternoon Town Hall meeting on the Samford campus. Recalling that he had experienced two major tornadoes in his lifetime, he empathized with the emotional shock that Alabama residents are dealing with after the recent deadly tornado outbreak.

Describing how a loss of familiar landmarks can cause disorientation, he observed that in many ways the U.S. has lost its navigation point.  “A nation that does not understand where it has been probably doesn’t know where it’s going,” he said.  “If we forget where we’ve been and deny who we are, it’s as though we’ve destroyed our landmarks.”

Calling Osama bin Laden a “maniacal madman,” Huckabee said he does not apologize for celebrating the al-Qaida leader’s death last weekend. Because of the people he murdered, his turning the world upside down, and his attack on the serenity of the United States, Huckabee said, “I’m glad he’s dead. I only wish it could have come 10 years earlier.”

He credited president Barack Obama for his good decisions about the execution of the mission, which ended with a body to identify rather than a bombed mansion. “It was gutsy and showed a level of leadership that we haven’t seen before. The military deserves credit, and so does he.”

Huckabee touched on a number of other topics, such as government bailouts, which, he predicts, “will prove to be one of the biggest mistakes we’ve made,” and the national debt, which the U.S. needs to get under control. Also, he said, compromise between political factions must sometimes be a part of governing. One thing he learned from leading state government, he said, is that “You govern with what you have, not what you wish you had.”

In other comments, Huckabee, who is touted as a possible Republican contender in the 2012 presidential campaign, said that he would announce his plans in the summer.

This year’s scholarship gala benefitted the Leslie Parkman Roe Scholarship for Missionary Dependents. Dr. Roe, a Samford graduate whose missionary parents served in the Philippines during her college days, is now a physician in Virginia.  A total of about $100,000 has been raised for the scholarship fund.

Huckabee, host of Fox News’ weekly Huckabee TV show and the daily Huckabee Report on radio, is the author of nine books, the most recent being A Simple Government. A set of his books, along with a collection of his 2008 presidential campaign memorabilia and an autographed electric bass guitar, were auctioned at the banquet to support the scholarship fund.

Auxiliary member Sonya Bumpers and her husband, Bennie, both Samford graduates, left the banquet with the prized Rogue LX400 Series III guitar, which Huckabee played briefly at a pre-banquet reception. An avid musician, he plays bass in his rock and roll band, Capitol Offense.


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.