Published on February 21, 2017 by Sean Flynt  
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Samford University’s 175-year history is one of academic excellence and leadership, producing students and graduates capable of addressing the profound challenges facing today’s society. The university’s decades-long involvement in the Fulbright Scholars and Students programs supports the university’s strong academic reputation.

Samford is one of only 23 masters institutions in the nation included on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of Top Producers of Fulbright Scholars and Students, 2016–17. Samford is the only institution in Alabama recognized for its success in student applications to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.

Samford's record number of successful 2016 student applications included alumni Natalie Bennie '16 (communication studies major, German minor,) Analeigh Horton '15 (communication studies major, Spanish and Latin American studies minor) and Samantha Hurley '15 (nursing major, Spanish minor,) who were accepted to the prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program. The three are currently teaching English language abroad, serving as cultural ambassadors, and taking part in activities specific to their professional interests and aspirations.

“Samford’s recognition as a top Fulbright producer is the most recent example of the quality of our faculty and students, and the increased awareness of the rigor and relevance of our academic programs,” said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland. “Those of us at Samford are honored to play a role in supporting the goals of the Fulbright Program at locations throughout the world.”

Classics and University Fellows professor Shannon Flynt serves as Samford’s Fulbright Program adviser. As a 1999 Fulbright Fellow in Austria, she knows from her own experience how much thought and work a Fulbright application requires, not to mention the challenges of living abroad for a year, often in a very different culture.

“Just going through the process is demanding,” Flynt said. “Students really have to think about their goals in international education. They have to think about how what they’ve done here has prepared them for that next step, and how that Fulbright year will be a further step in their academic or professional plans.”

Applying for a Fulbright grant not only reflects a student’s education, but also becomes part of it, Flynt said. She hopes many more top Samford students will take on the challenge when the 2018 application process opens this April.

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.