Published on January 3, 2011 by Mary Wimberley  

Tim and Renee Vander Veer are Samford parents twice over: daughter Nancy is a senior; younger daughter Rebecca is a freshman. They are among a growing roster of families who, after paying college costs, still feel led to write one more check to the university. Their additional check helps support the Samford annual fund and several specific interest areas.

Why go the extra measure? “I could tell 100 stories about the things we appreciate about the education, relationships and experiences our girls are having at Samford,” said Renee. “We thank God for this excellent school, its caring faculty, academic excellence and spiritual emphasis. Samford is a great fit for both our daughters.”

Renee contrasts the Samford faculty with professors she and her husband had at their respective college alma maters in Indiana and Colorado.

“About halfway through Nancy’s first year, we realized that she had already had 10 times more contact with professors than both of us had in all four of our college years,” said Renee, adding that their firstborn has benefited from at least four Samford mentors, “all professors,” in addition to her adviser. “We have been floored by the face time our girls have with those who teach them on that lovely campus.”

She says that even though the sisters are opposites in personality—one outgoing and talkative, the other more introverted and quiet—their experiences so far are the same. “The profs are there for them, inside class and out.”

The Huntsville, Ala., couple also appreciates the financial assistance that their daughters have been awarded.

“We aren’t people of means, and Samford has been generous in scholarships for both daughters,” said Renee.

Both sisters excel academically and otherwise. Nancy, a classics major who was a National Merit Finalist and is a Samford Presidential Scholarship recipient, spent last summer as an intern at Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. Rebecca, a nutrition and dietetics major, is a University Fellow and Leadership Scholarship recipient whose other merit awards include a highly competitive national Latin scholarship.

Their parents know a bit about fund-raising, since they were once responsible for raising their own support while on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ. She and her husband understand, said Renee, that it is the many small, faithful contributions that provide a foundation for larger gifts.

“Large donors, foundations and the like, want to see that there is enthusiastic support from constituents, so even our small annual donation contributes toward influencing those big donors’ decisions to give,” explained Renee.

The couple feels privileged that the company Tim works for provides matching gifts to nonprofit organizations such as Samford. Renee strongly recommends that parents and other donors take advantage of that opportunity.

“It’s really simple,” she said of the process. “A half-page form to fill out and send to Samford, and, voila, our gift is doubled.”

To follow their lead, donors who want to see their own gifts magically increased can obtain matching gift forms from the human resources department where they are employed. Then, include the completed form when they send their contribution to the university advancement office.



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.