I’d like to introduce myself
Though you’ve seen me ‘round
Well, I’m a new man in town
Some of you may have notice a new ominous figure in Brooks Hall. He made his entrance late last week, but quickly took cover beneath a blue table cloth. He emerged victorious on Saturday morning with the help of Dean Chapman, the A Capella Choir and the Howard Scholars. John Howard is the newest addition to the commemorative statues on Samford’s campus. We are all familiar with iconic Mr. Beeson who greets every visitor, but let’s review the rest of the Samford bronze and marble family.
John Howard 1726-1790
The original namesake of Samford University, John Howard, devoted his life to prison reform. Commissioned by Dean Chapman, the statue reminds students of Samford’s Christian mission. The installation includes an electronic device detailing Howard’s life, prison reform work, and the original statue in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry 1825-1903
Jabez Curry was the third president of Howard College, serving from 1865-1868. Originally part of the National Statuary Hall Collection, the statue was relocated to its current position in the University Center in 2009 after Helen Keller took his place in D.C. Now, he stands guard as students rush to class or grab a quick bite from the food court.
Frank Park Samford 1893-1973
Businessman, philanthropist, and builder of Liberty National Life Insurance Company, Frank Park Samford served on our Board of Trustees for 34 years and was instrumental in relocating the college from East Lake to Homewood in 1957. Because of his dedication and service to the campus, Howard College was renamed Samford University in 1965. His bust greets visitors at the top of the stairs in the administration building.
Bobby Bowden 1929-
At every Samford football game, fans now pass Bobby Bowden with his playbook in hand, as they enter the gates to the stadium. Bowden served as Samford’s football coach from 1959-1962 and led the Howard bulldogs to a winning 31-6 record. His success as a coach earned him a spot in the College Football Hall-of-Fame with the second most wins in Division 1. Many of his loyal players still gather on campus each summer for a reunion with the Bowden Boys.
Dr. Martha Myers 1945-2002
Samford Alumna Dr. Martha Myers ’67 was a medical missionary to Yemen for more than twenty years where she became a local symbol for kindness and compassion. She was killed by a Muslim extremist on December 30, 2002, the final operating day of the hospital. The statue displays her passion for the Yemeni people with the words “She Loves God” written in English and Arabic.
Ralph Waldo Beeson 1900-1990
As the greatest individual donor in Samford’s history, Ralph Waldo Beeson’s gifts to the university have provided for the establishment and endowment of Beeson Divinity School, the construction of Beeson Woods, construction and equipment of the School of Education, completion of an addition to the University Center, scholarships to Samford students pursuing ministry careers and much more. An iconic Samford symbol, the statue has become the hallmark of countless selfies and memories made on campus.
Harwell Davis 1882-1977
The bust of Samford’s fifteenth president sits at the entrance to the library and offers luck to all who rub his nose. Davis led the college at a time of tumult after the Great Depression, plotting a course to avoid bankruptcy and the loss of accreditation. It wasn’t luck that saved the school, it was Davis’s hard work and dedication.
Justice Tempered by Mercy
The statue in the courtyard of Cumberland School of Law represents what students at Cumberland are defending. The inspiration for the statue came from Mrs. Lucille Beeson who encouraged the law school to “Seek wisdom and temper justice with compassion.”
Angel of Mercy
The Angel of Mercy represents the values of the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. The bronze statue was created by former Samford student Tim Britton and Italian sculptor Urbano Burratti.
The lives of the men and women commemorated by these statues remind all of us, faculty, staff, and students, that we stand in the shades of trees we did not plant. From John Howard’s work to reform the prison system to Dr. Martha Myers’s life witness to the people of Yemen we have inspiration all around us to strive to work hard, conduct ourselves in fairness, give out of our abundances, and be merciful to those in need. The world will be better for it.
Flynt, Sean. 160 Years of Samford University. Arcadia Publishing. 2001.
“Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry.” Samford University. https://www.samford.edu/alabama-mens-hall-of-fame/inductees/Curry.html
Wimberley, Mary. “Curry Statue Has New Home on Samford Campus.” Samford University. 25 November 2009. https://www.samford.edu/news/2009/Curry-statue-has-new-home-on-Samford-campus
“Frank Park Samford, Sr.” Samford University. https://www.samford.edu/alabama-mens-hall-of-fame/inductees/Samford.html
Michael Scovetta. “Knowledge Base: Samford University.” http://www.scovetta.com/projects/knowledge/wiki/au/Samford_University.html
Wimberley, Mary. “Missionary Martha Myers Memorial Sculpture Dedicated at Samford.” 5/15/2007. http://www.samford.edu/news/2007/Missionary-Martha-Myers-Memorial-Sculpture-Dedicated-At-Samford
Flynt, Sean. “Samford to Dedicate Statue to John Howard Feb. 13.” Samford University. 1 February 2016. https://www.samford.edu/arts-and-sciences/news/Samford-to-Dedicate-Statue-to-John-Howard-Feb-13