Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2011-10-14


Samford University’s largest volunteer support organization has a new name and a new identity. 

“Legacy League: an Auxiliary of Samford University” was revealed Thursday, Oct. 13, as the new name for the group formerly known as Samford Auxiliary.

The announcement and unveiling of an accompanying crest came at the fall kick-off luncheon, which also featured an inspirational talk by author Cynthia Heald.

Calling the name change a “bold new step,” Legacy League executive director Dr. Jeanna Westmoreland said the new identity is an ideal way to describe the group’s mission of creating a legacy of scholarships for Samford students.

A new Legacy League crest was created for use in varied ways. The design features a lamp of learning and Bible, both of which also appear on the university seal. The Legacy League name is framed by branches of leaves representing Sherman oak. A banner pays tribute to the Auxiliary name that has been used since the 1920s.  A reference to Deuteronomy 6:10-12 calls to mind scripture in which Moses reminds the children of Israel that they will enjoy houses they did not build, wells they did not dig and olive groves they did not plant.

“The same is true for us,” Westmoreland reminded Legacy League members, citing early female supporters such as benefactor Julia Barron, who helped when the school was founded as Howard College in Marion, Ala., in 1841. The Ladies’ Benevolent Society of Marion, and the Ladies Cooperative Association preceded the Howard College Auxiliary, which was formed in 1925.  In 1988, a scholarship endowment fund became the major emphasis of the Samford University Auxiliary.  Today, the $1.5 million fund supports 18 endowed scholarships.

“I am really excited about the new name and image, and what it tells others about us,” said Westmoreland, who also introduced Sharon Smith as the newly named director of development for Legacy League.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with experience at other non-profit institutions, Smith will begin her work at Samford later this month. She was most recently assistant director of children’s ministry at Mountain Brook Community Church.

Legacy League president Penny Kimrey noted that the sense of excitement at this first meeting of the year felt like the first day of school, with its new shoes and supplies.  “We as an auxiliary are beginning again with new opportunities, ways to give, friends to make and ways to make a difference to students at Samford,” said Kimrey.

One student, Kaleb Loomis, a sophomore communication studies major from Montgomery, Ala.,  expressed appreciation for his scholarship. The financial boost allowed him to have the joy and experience of Samford, which he says is larger than a degree alone.  “It is an experience like no other, to be able to grow in faith and as an individual,” said Loomis, assuring the group that “what you do really does make a difference.”

Heald, author of the popular Bible study book, Becoming a Woman of Excellence and 17 other works, told how her spiritual journey took a turning point when she felt God tapping her on the shoulder and saying to let Him do the driving.

  “From then on, I let God have the steering wheel of my life,” said the mother of four and grandmother of nine, adding that by keeping her hand in God’s hand, her life has been an incredible journey.

Her first book evolved from a fresh look at Old Testament scripture in which Boaz told Ruth, “who had nothing going for her and was doing the lowest work in that society,” that she was a woman of excellence. “It penetrated my heart that Ruth could be a woman of excellence. I told God that I wanted to be in the process of becoming a woman of excellence for the rest of my life,” said Heald, whose ministry has taken her all over the world.

“That’s what happens when you keep your hand in His. God is full of promises,” said Heald.

Her husband of 51 years, Jack, a longtime staff member of Navigators ministry, was with her at the luncheon at Vestavia Hills Country Club.  Earlier in the day, she had visited with her granddaughter, Frances Heald, junior nursing major at Samford.


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.