Posted by Philip Poole on 2012-04-30

Samford University hosted British royalty on April 29 as part of a gala weekend in Birmingham coordinated by the Miss America Pageant. It was also the first time a member of the British royal family had ever visited the state of Alabama.

Samford President Andrew Westmoreland and his wife, Jeanna, hosted a brunch for His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, youngest son of Queen Elizabeth. HRH The Prince Edward was in Birmingham to present the Duke of Edinburgh Award to several Miss America and Miss Alabama pageant contestants.

Brunch guests included Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler of Wisconsin, Miss America CEO Sam Haskell and his wife, and Nan Teninbaum, president of the Miss Alabama board of directors.

"On behalf of the extended Samford family, Jeanna and I were pleased to host these honored guests for what I characterized-in humor-as 'just an informal breakfast at the president's home," Westmoreland said. "The members of the Samford staff, including those who serve with Campus Dining, did a flawless job of getting the house in order and planning and serving the meal. His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Miss America Laura Kaeppeler, and our other guests gained a favorable impression of Samford's considerable influence throughout the world."

Westmoreland said the event was "flawless" and that he was able to tell the gathering about Samford's London Study Centre and other academic collaborations in Great Britain.

Among those receiving the Duke of Edinburgh Awards earlier in the weekend festivities were current Samford students Anna Laura Bryan and Kelsey Richter and 2011 Samford alumnae Susan Hamm and Katherine Fuller. The award is named for the prince's father, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and is a two-year program that focuses on community service, special skills, physical fitness and adventurous journeys.

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.