Published on April 27, 2011 by Philip Poole  

Samford University is operating on normal schedules Thursday, April 28, while assessing needs of individual employees and students who were directly impacted by Wednesday's devastating tornadoes across Alabama.

Samford President Andy Westmoreland has offered Samford's assistance to disaster relief efforts being coordinated by the Alabama State Baptist Convention.

He also distributed the following email to the campus community earlier today:

Friends, throughout the day we will continue to learn the depth of the losses suffered by our friends throughout the state and region.  The tragedy is overwhelming.  

For the moment, the best thing that we can do is to go about our routine business on campus.  Damage assessment is underway throughout the area.  Let's allow time for the authorities to do their work.  

I have asked Renie Moss in student affairs to coordinate our volunteer efforts in addressing disaster relief needs.  She will be in touch with you soon.     

I have asked Randy Pittman in university advancement to begin an assessment of the direct impact on Samford families and to coordinate our attempts to provide assistance.  

Having survived an F5 tornado in 1997, Jeanna and I have firsthand experience in understanding the long-term trauma of such a disaster.  Trust me when I say that we need to go about our routine business now, stay out of the damaged areas, comfort each other, and then steel ourselves for an extended period of recovery.    

We mourn the losses; we yearn to help; we cling to the hope we have in Christ.  


At 9:15 p.m. CDT, Sarah C. Latham, vice president for operations and planning, issued the following:

As we now appear to be beyond the immediate weather threats to campus tonight, we wanted to send out another update. We did not have any damage, power outages, or injuries on campus. We know that some members of the Samford family have been affected by situations at their homes, and we continue to keep each of them in our thoughts and prayers. 

At this time, we have no changes to class schedules or events for the morning. If your individual situation affects your attendance tomorrow, please contact your supervisor or professor. We also have reports of road closures in some metro areas. The following link is one source of road info that might be helpful to you as you prepare for your morning commute:    

All my best to each of you and your families as we come to the end of a difficult day in Alabama.


As of 7:45 p.m. CDT, the Samford University campus is clear of immediate tornado threats, with no damage or injuries on campus. The campus does have power at this time.

University administrators will continue to monitor the weather situation through the evening. On-campus residents and employees who have remained on campus have been encouraged to remain close to information sources because conditions continue to change rapidly, according to Sarah C. Latham, vice president for operations and planning.

The university's RAVE emergency alert system was activated at 5:50 p.m. as tornadoes approached metropolitan Birmingham. This followed a series of weather update emails throughout the afternoon.

"We are grateful for the safety of our campus, and we continue to pray for those who were directly affected by these devastating storms," said Samford President Andy Westmoreland. "We will respond as a university community to those who have needs as we can." 


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.