Published on August 10, 2011  

The Birmingham Consortium for Higher Education (BACHE) has created a "Cultural Passport" program designed to introduce local college freshmen to 12 of the region's great cultural resources.

This fall, students in the entering classes of Samford University, Miles College, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham-Southern College and University of Montevallo will receive a blue-and-gold, passport-size booklet that describes those resources and offers free admission.

The project's cultural partners include Alabama Ballet, Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and Museum, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, American Village, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham Museum of Art, Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington, Opera Birmingham, Sloss Furnaces, Tuscaloosa Museum of Art, Home of the Westervelt Collection, and Vulcan Park and Museum.

BACHE, a partnership among the four-year colleges and universities in the greater Birmingham area, has been led this year by David Chapman, Dean of Samford University's Howard College of Arts and Sciences. Chapman proposed the passport project and Samford instructor Victoria Knierim oversaw creation of the passports themselves and planned an Aug. 18 launch celebration at Vulcan Park and Museum to thank BACHE's cultural partners for their participation.

" BACHE is seeking to enhance educational opportunities for students by encouraging an appreciation for the arts while connecting them to the Birmingham community and surrounding areas," Chapman said. "Our common goal is that these students will become life-long patrons of the arts".

Knierim said the Passport launch celebration will provide an additional opportunity for faculty, students and representatives from the participating cultural venues to discuss cultural opportunities in the Birmingham area. Gail C. Andrews, The R. Hugh Daniel Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art, will address the attendees. Charter Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame musician Dr. Frank E. Adams, Sr. also will perform at the event.

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.