Published on September 27, 2017 by Sean Flynt  
Howard John1
Samford's statue of John Howard stands in the lobby of Brooks Hall
Samford University’s Howard College of Arts and Sciences has named its fifth class of John Howard Scholars. The 21 students, led by program coordinator Victoria Smith Knierim, represent a variety of arts and sciences disciplines and are among the finest students in the college. They will meet regularly with dean Tim Hall in order to promote scholarship, service, and learning in the Howard tradition.

The John Howard Scholars program, like the college itself, takes its name from the English reformer John Howard. Born on September 2, 1726, Howard led an unremarkable life as a country squire in Bedfordshire until he was elected as the county sheriff. He was outraged to learn that some prison inmates were held captive even after they were found innocent because they could not afford the jailer’s fee.

Howard made it his life work to survey the jails of Europe in an attempt to bring public attention to the shameful treatment of prisoners. He died in 1790 in the Ukraine during an inspection of the prisons and military hospitals in Eastern Europe. His life became a model of Christian compassion for society’s outcasts, and a statue in St. Paul’s Cathedral was raised in his honor. Fifty years after his death, a group of Alabama Baptists decided to name their new college in honor of this great humanitarian.

One of the projects of the first class of John Howard Scholars was to raise funds for a statue of John Howard, which was unveiled during Samford’s 175th anniversary celebrations and stands inside the main entrance of Brooks Hall.

The 2017-18 Howard Scholars are:

Lillie Baggett (biology) of Clarksville, Tennessee

Sydney Berry (English) of Cordova, Tennessee

Spencer Bissell (history / Classics) of Marietta, Georgia

Zoe Cruz (English / Psychology)

Claire Davis (English / Classics)

Catherine Doerger (international relations / Global Studies) of Knoxville, Tennessee

Gabriela Hoefer (psychology) of Hartford, Connecticut

Lydia Johnson (communication studies) of Louisville, Kentucky

Morgan Johnson (journalism and mass communication / Spanish) of Stone of Mountain, Georgia

Dallas Knight (history / classics) of Albany, Georgia

Robert Lee (biochemistry / chemistry) of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Ashley Mealins (sociology / religion) of Columbiana, Alabama

Jonathan Punt (religion) of Tavares, Florida

Leisl Seigler (communication studies) of Hendersonville, North Carolina

Victoria Shelton (journalism and mass communication) of Fort Worth, Texas

Jared Skinner (history) of Jacksonville, Florida

Claudia Stephens (biochemistry / pre-health) of Brownsboro, Alabama

Emily Thorington (English / history) of Tampa, Florida

Emily Van Dyke  (English) of Court Allen, Texas

Garrett Van Dyke (physics) of Fleming Island, Florida

Emily Youree (English)

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About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.