Published on February 6, 2014 by Philip Poole  
Snow Heroes Thanks
Posted by Philip Poole on 2014-02-06

In a brief, but emotion-filled moment, the Samford University community expressed appreciation Thursday, Feb. 8, to hundreds of university "snow heroes" from the unexpected winter storm that hit Birmingham on Jan. 28 and paralyzed the city for more than 48 hours.

About 120 employees of the university's facilities, food service, housekeeping, bookstore, public safety and residence life staffs filled the Reid Chapel stage as Samford President Andrew Westmoreland recognized them for work across the campus from mid-day Jan. 28 through the following weekend. The university returned to normal operations on Saturday, Feb. 1, and classes resumed on Monday, Feb. 3, after being canceled for four days.

Samford's spring semester was barely 24 hours old when more than 1,000 commuter students and employees were stranded on campus for two days until area roadways could be cleared of snow and ice to make travel feasible. The university's emergency response team worked with various campus offices to provide for those who were stranded, along with the more than 2,100 students who live in on-campus residence facilities.

"There are lots of folks who worked hard last week to make life more comfortable for all of us," Westmoreland said, "These front-line employees work every day to make our lives better, but we learned last week just how important it is to have people who look out for our needs every day."

The hundreds of students and other employees gathered for the regular Thursday morning convocation service gave the "heroes" a sustained ovation, especially when Westmoreland reported that they would be receiving a gift card from the university as an expression of appreciation.

The ovation continued as the heroes processed down the center aisle and out of the chapel, where about 50 other faculty and staff members greeted them with more sustained applause. Many of the 'heroes' and many in the crowd had tears in their eyes during the recognition.

"We wanted to be able to tell them thanks for all they did last week," Westmoreland said.

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.