Published on August 22, 2018 by Bill Nunnelley  
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Samford University has reached and surpassed the halfway point in its $300 million Forever Samford campaign, by far the most ambitious fund-raising effort in the university’s history. “Our total of gifts, pledges, planned estate gifts and grants has reached $150.1 million,” Samford Vice President for University Advancement Randy Pittman announced Aug. 17.

“Reaching the halfway point is a really significant milestone,” Pittman said. “It means the campaign is fulfilling the purpose of solidifying the future of Samford.” He likened the effort to “planting trees, the shade of which we might not sit under for years.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God for His blessings on Samford in the last year,” Pittman said. "Gifts of all sizes are important to this campaign. We are grateful for the $25 and $50 gifts and pledges we have received from so many alumni and friends, as well as the significant estate gifts we have received. Every gift – regardless of the amount – is important to Samford." 

He noted that fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30, included 7,326 donors—a record number for any year in Samford’s history.

Gifts and pledges to Forever Samford have been made as follows during the course of the campaign: $91.4 million for scholarships; $23.8 million for academic programs, $ 7 million for places and spaces (construction/renovation); and $27.9 million for a solid foundation (day-to-day operations)

These gifts have come from 12,483 donors since the inception of the campaign in November 2014.

“I am most pleased to report that 81 percent of our faculty and staff have made a gift to the campaign, and 14 percent of our 51,000 living alumni and 31 percent of the parents of our undergraduate students have also made gifts or pledges,” he said.

Pittman said that “engagement” is important to the success of any campaign. Samford alumni Bill and Kimeran Stevens of Birmingham are serving as campaign cochairs and leading a steering committee of volunteers. Pittman said that Howard Walthall, professor of law, is heading the employee portion of the campaign

“When our alumni, friends, employees and parents are engaged as volunteers, we deepen relationships, extend the reach of the university, and attract new donors,” he said. “I believe our Samford family is more engaged than ever before.”

He noted that Samford has Alumni Association chapters active in nine cities and Alumni Clubs (precursors to future chapters) in 12 additional cities; very active Samford Black Alumni Association and Samford Young Alumni groups; and a hard-working group of Samford Legacy League members. 

“About 1,200 people from these and other organizations worked with our office as volunteers last year because they love our university and are committed to its mission,” he said.

The Legacy League last year raised $243,000 in funds for scholarships, its annual emphasis.

Pittman said the driving force behind all of Samford’s fund-raising endeavors is “to encourage God’s people to support students as they develop in their intellect, creativity, faith and personhood.”

He said a recent note he received from a student underscored the importance of that effort.

“I have been truly blessed with scholarships that are supported by donors,” the student wrote. “If not for scholarships, I would not have been able to attend Samford. Because of Samford’s generous supporters, I will graduate in May 2019.”

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.