Samford University

Birmingham, AL
Student Size
College Type
Private University|Religious

About Our College

In 1841, Samford University was founded as Howard College in Marion, Alabama.[8][9] Some of the land was donated by Reverend James H. DeVotie, who served on the Samford Board of Trustees for fifteen years and as its president for two years.[10][11] The first financial gift, $4,000, was given by Julia Tarrant Barron and both she and her son also gave land to establish the college.[12] The university was established after the Alabama Baptist State Convention decided to build a school for men in Perry County, Alabama. The college's first nine students began studies in January 1842 with a traditional curriculum of language, literature and sciences.[13] In those early years the graduation addresses of several distinguished speakers were published, including those by Thomas G. Keen of Mobile, Joseph Walters Taylor, Noah K. Davis and Samuel Sterling Sherman.[14] In October 1854, a fire destroyed all of the college's property, including its only building.[13][15] While the college recovered from the fire, the Civil War began.[13] Howard College was converted to a military hospital by the Confederate government in 1863.[15] During this time, the college's remaining faculty offered basic instruction to soldiers recovering at the hospital.[13] For a short period after the war, federal troops occupied the college and sheltered freed slaves on its campus.

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