Posted by Sean Flynt on 2012-10-13Samford’s “Golden Bulldog” class of 1962 was literally at center stage for Homecoming 2012 on Saturday, Oct. 13. They dined and shared memories under the spotlights of Leslie S. Wright Concert Hall, which alumnus and former McWhorter School of Pharmacy dean Joe Dean reminded them was named for the president who came to Howard College when they did and shaped their experience as students.
The 50-year alumni took their own turn in shaping the university with an anniversary gift of more than $62,174, going their $50,000 goal one better by matching their class year.
The alumni laughed over their adolescent foibles--playing in the snow in swimsuits and other hijinx for which the statutes of limitation have expired—and caught up on the intervening decades.
For many, their undergraduate experience was just the beginning of their orbit around their Alma Mater. Barbara Crider and husband Bob `61 married during spring break of her senior year. A kind-hearted professor let her take a mid-term exam early so she could rush to Dothan in time for the rehearsal. The couple soon departed for the mission field in Spain but children Todd, Stephanie and Tim attended Samford. The Criders returned to serve as Missionaries in Residence in the late 1980s, when daughter Stephanie was serving on the Spanish language faculty. Barbara Crider eventually replaced Stephanie in that role.
Former Voice major Frank Jacobs came to Samford as an older, married student with a dream of studying music for the first time. His only experience of performance was in “the peanut fields of lower Alabama,” where soloists always “qualified the pianist” by asking if they were able to play a given selection. Auditioning for admission to Samford’s vocal program with his green gospel songbook in hand, he timidly walked up to Howard’s Steinway concert grand, piano, where professor Witold Turkiewicz waited to accompany him. “Can you play this?,” Jacobs asked. “He looked up at me with this little sheepish grin and said, ‘yes. can you sing it?’” Jacobs could, and did, and set out on the path that carried him around the world as a tenor soloist.
The class of `62 recalled such moments of transformation, friendship and love, until they joined voices in a spontaneous verse of “Blessed Assurance”. One of their number reminded them that when a professor was late to class the students sometimes would sing to pass the time, “and it sounded like the A Cappella Choir”. It still does.
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. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 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 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.