Published on December 13, 2023 by Scarlet Thompson  
Samford Business of the Year

The Homewood Chamber of Commerce honored Samford Athletics as its “Business of the Year” on Tuesday, December 12, at its annual membership meeting.  The honor is given to a chamber member that has provided significant service to the community and the chamber at large.

Samford University President Beck A. Taylor, Director of Athletics Martin Newton, and the head coaches of several Samford athletic teams were on hand to accept the award.  The president of the Homewood Chamber shared with the crowd a long list of successes for Samford’s athletes, and overall, Samford University.  That list included 11 conference championships in the 2022-2023 season, an athletic graduation success rate score that is tied for second in the country, and more than 700 community service hours logged by students involved in athletics.

“The student athletes in particular having brought home several conference championships shines a spotlight on Homewood and encourages visitors from around the country to visit our city,” said Catherine Bode, Marketing and Community Relations Manager for the Homewood Chamber of Commerce.

Samford athletics department at ceremony

The chamber also spotlighted a very active annual civic engagement day that was organized by Samford Athletics in the past year.  Approximately 140 athletes volunteered for dozens of Birmingham area charities.  It’s only one way the group made a difference in the community in 2023.  Examples include the recent “Hoops in Homewood” event where the basketball teams took the court to the downtown area of the city to include members of the community, and the dedicated events put on by the football team, like the First Responders Appreciation Day. 

“On behalf of our student athletes, coaches and staff, we thank the Homewood Chamber of Commerce for this prestigious award,” said Director of Athletics Martin Newton.  “Our student athletes understand the importance of giving back to the community and serving as ambassadors for the university through assisting in various community events and representing Samford Athletics in campus wide outreach.  We take great pride in being Homewood’s team.”

Leaders with the Homewood Chamber say Samford is an integral part of the community.

“Samford has a significant impact on the city through student involvement in the community whether they are shopping or dining in Homewood or participating in volunteer activities,” said Bode.  “Homewood also sees long term benefit when students choose to work and live here post-graduation.”

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.