Published on December 7, 2023 by Diamond Nunnally  
Bill and Janie Roland pictured with their family.
Bill and Janie Roland pictured with their family. (Photograph Courtesy: John Roland)

When Bill and Janie Roland drafted their will, they knew they wanted to give to a worthy cause. So, they put their two sons, John '96 and Jason '00, in charge of choosing the charity. As two proud Samford alumni, they couldn't think of a better way of giving back than to invest in the future of the university. So, they established the endowed Bill & Janie Roland Scholarship, benefiting Howard College of Arts and Sciences students.  

"I can think of no better place than Samford to steward their memory and honor their lasting legacy of humility, generosity, wisdom, graciousness, being selfless servants of Christ with a tremendous spiritual gift of hospitality,” John said. “Mom and Dad are Godly parents of faith who instilled in their family an insistence upon integrity in all things, an unfailing confidence in the power of perseverance, a dedication to the value of education and an abiding love of Christ borne out of their Baptist heritage."  

The Roland family has a long history of investment in the university. In addition to John and Jason, their daughters-in-law, Amy Gluth Roland '98 and Elizabeth Mayse Roland '00, are graduates. John's son, JD, is a current Samford student. Jason also worked at Samford for two years, and John is currently serving as the advancement officer for Howard College of Arts and Sciences.  

"Samford is where I met and fell in love with my wife," Jason said. "It's the place I met some of my closest friends. It's where I grew academically, emotionally and most importantly, spiritually." 

"Samford is a beloved place, cherished in my memories from my days as a student," John said. "Now, as a Samford parent, seeing my son experience this amazing place is one of the highest moments in my life as a father." 

Bill and Janie are first-generation college graduates. Their endowed scholarship will be awarded to Howard College freshmen or transfer students, with preference given to first-generation needs-based students from Florida known for their character, faith, integrity and commitment to living a Christian lifestyle. The scholarship is eligible for renewal for up to four years. 

"There are so many students who want to be at Samford, who get accepted but can't afford to attend," Jason said. "Oftentimes, families just need a little help, which can make a world of difference. And with this being an endowment, it will be helping students in perpetuity. For as long as there is Samford University, there will be a Bill & Janie Roland Scholarship." 

The Roland family believes Howard College and the liberal arts education it provides is doing important work. They are committed to supporting the college's mission while honoring their parents' legacy.  

"Establishing this endowed scholarship has been a wonderful experience for us all," said John. 

 Support the Bill and Janie Roland Scholarship


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.