The school survived two fires, the Civil War, a century of financial turmoil and two relocations to become one of the premier, nationally ranked Christian universities. From its meager beginnings in Marion, Alabama, with only 31 students, Samford is now home to approximately 5,800 students on a beautiful Georgian-Colonial style campus in Homewood, Alabama.

John Howard statue closeup

1841 Incorporation

The Alabama Baptist State Convention established a college for men, naming it Howard College in honor of John Howard, an 18th-century English social reformer.
East Lake Campus

1887 Move to East Lake

In a controversial decision spurred by racial, economic and rural/urban tensions, Howard College relocated from Marion to East Lake, starting the year with 83 students.
Anna Judge

1896 Coeducation

Anna Judge became Howard's first female graduate. Coeducation was thereafter suspended for "lack of proper facilities." Five other women were admitted between the years of 1895-1896.
Accreditation Article

1920 Accreditation

The school gained membership in and accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Homewood Campus

1957 Move to Homewood

The campus relocated from the aging East Lake campus to Homewood. Construction of the Georgian-Colonial buildings began in 1953, with the first building dedicated in 1955.
Cumberland Law School

1961 Law School

Samford acquired the historic Cumberland School of Law, established in 1847 in Lebanon, Tennessee.
Name change to Samford

1965 Name Change

Howard College attained university status and renamed itself in honor of insurance executive and longtime trustee Frank Park Samford Sr. Howard College of Arts and Sciences retained the original name.
Elizabeth Sloan Ragland

1967 Integration

Audrey Gaston became the first full-time African-American student, enrolling in Cumberland School of Law and graduating in 1970. In 1969, Elizabeth Sloan became the first African-American female to live on campus. She moved into Vail Hall and graduated in 1973.
International Students

1984 International Study Programs Expand

The university purchased the London Study Centre, located in the heart of London and later renamed it the Daniel House in honor of the Daniel family. 
US News & World Report ranking

1990 Top 10 in Academics

Samford attained ranking in the top 10 in its category by U.S. News & World Report. Samford is recognized as a top-ranked university in Alabama in rankings published by Forbes Inc., The Economist and The Wall Street Journal

2008 Move to SoCon

Samford began competing in the storied NCAA Division I Southern Conference where it has accumulated more than 75 conference championships and has seen many athletes drafted into professional sports.
CHS Angel

2013 College of Health Sciences

Samford announced the formation of the College of Health Sciences, incorporating the historic Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing and McWhorter School of Pharmacy with new Schools of Health Professions and Public Health. In 2016 the college moved into renovated facilities in the former Southern Progress Corporation headquarters purchased in 2014.
Master Plan

2022 Strategic Plan

University trustees adopted a comprehensive strategic plan, Fidelitas: Faith and Future, that will provide for the physical and academic needs of the university for decades to come.