Published on December 15, 2015 by Philip Poole  
Cooney Hall Ribbon Cutting

Campus expansion, record enrollments and top national recognition were just some of the highlights of 2015 at Samford University. Although there were dozens of significant stories during the year, here are the top 10 as determined by the university’s news staff.

#1 — Business School Moves into New Building Named for Samford Alumnus

Brock School of Business moved into a new 73,000-square-foot, state-of-the art building in the summer. On the same day as the official dedication in September, the board of trustees voted to name the building for 1974 alumnus Gary Cooney, who provided the lead gift for construction.

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#2 — Samford Announces Another Record Enrollment

Samford announced its seventh consecutive record enrollment in late August, topping 5,000 for the first time in university history. The total also included a record freshman class.

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#3 — Michael Hardin Named Provost

J. Michael Hardin became Samford Provost on July 1, replacing J. Bradley Creed, who left to become president of Campbell University in North Carolina. Hardin had been an academic dean at the University of Alabama.

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#4 — Classics Major Sam Hahn Named Rhodes Scholar Finalist

Sam Hahn, a classics major and University Fellow from Siloam Springs, Arkansas, was named as Samford’s first Rhodes Scholar finalist since 2007.

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#5 — The Economist Ranks Samford in the Top 100 Nationally

In a new college ranking published by The Economist, Samford was ranked 87th nationally and was the highest ranked university in Alabama.

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#6 — Laura Bush Headlines School of Education Centennial

Former U.S. First Lady Laura Bush was keynote speaker for the yearlong centennial celebration for Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education.

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#7 — Samford Dedicates New Art Lofts

Samford’s Department of Visual Arts occupied new classroom, studio and office space in the fall. The former maintenance facility was refurbished into state-of-the-art space that was officially dedicated during homecoming weekend.

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#8 — Samford Theatre Gains First-Ever Accreditation

The Department of Theatre and Dance realized a longtime dream when it received full accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theater, putting Samford in an elite group nationally.

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#9 — Eleven Teams Post Perfect Scores in NCAA Graduation Success Ratings

Eleven varsity athletics teams posted perfect scores of 1,000 in the NCAA’s annual Graduation Success Ratings for 2016, and football’s score of 98 led the nation.

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#10 — Samford Students Invest Community 712,902 Engagement Hours

Samford University students logged 716,902 hours, valued at $16.5 million, serving the community during the 2014–15 academic year, according to a report compiled by Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership.

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Other major stories during the year included a new dean for health professions, a Fulbright Scholar; a Lilly Graduate Fellow; Southern Conference championships for soccer, track and field, and women’s tennis; a new sorority; a prestigious national leadership role for Samford’s president; a special honor for Samford women’s athletics; and the start of a centennial year for Samford Arts.

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 2nd nationally for student engagement and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance names Samford 34th among private universities for value and affordability. Samford enrolls 5,729 students from 47 states and 30 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.