Posted by William Nunnelley on 2011-06-20

By the time Jim Stanford, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Sylacauga., Ala., retired last fall, he had built a library of more than 1,800 books on religion and ministry-related subjects.  Because he had participated in activities sponsored by Samford University’s Resource Center for Pastoral Excellence (RCPE) over the past few years, he decided to donate his library to the RCPE.

            “It was his hope the books would continue to be used as resources for ministry,” said RCPE director Michael Wilson.  Stanford’s collection arrived at Samford in 40 boxes, Wilson reported.

            “We welcomed the books,” he said, “but were faced with deciding how best to use each volume.”  He enlisted the help of University Library director Kim Herndon and theological librarian Mike Garrett.

            “This was a sizeable gift that provided some very useful material to further build out the divinity and theology collections,” said Herndon.

            Garrett selected a large number, “a few of which were rare treasures,” to include in the University Library collection, said Wilson.

            The RCPE selected almost 200 volumes for a new resource office on campus used by rural and smaller church leaders and pastors on sabbatical leave, said Wilson.  He delivered two boxes to the Pickens Baptist Association for use by an RCPE rural pastors group.

            Six boxes were shipped to a missionary school in India, according to Herndon.

            “In other words, Jim Stanford’s books grew feet and wings—and have landed all over,” said Wilson.  “We thank him for his generosity.”


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.