Posted by Philip Poole on 2005-10-10

Being active in where your child is in school is important for the family and for the institution.

That was the assessment of Mike Fenwick of Old Hickory, Tenn., to parents of Samford University students gathered Oct. 9 for the annual meeting of the Samford Parents Association. The meeting was held in conjunction with the University's annual Family Weekend, which attracted about 500 family members to campus for a weekend of parties, small group sessions, flag football contest and worship service.

"Taking an active role means that you know what is going on, but it also means that the University knows that you are interested," Fenwick said.

Fenwick and his wife, Debbie, have two Samford students and are members of the Parents Association executive board.

"When our daughter was looking for a college, she was encouraged to find a school where she saw people like she wanted to become," Debbie Fenwick said of daughter, Courtney, a third-year doctor of pharmacy student.

The Fenwicks' son, Jim, is a Samford freshman. "We already can see a different level of maturity because of his college experiences," Debbie Fenwick said.

Association board members Jack and Bette Len Mitchell of Jacksonville, Fla., encouraged parents to volunteer to help with special events and other Parents Association activities.

The Mitchells related experiences from hosting a send-off party last summer for Jacksonville-area students coming to Samford.

"It is amazing how these events affect an entire family," Mitchell said. He told of the sister of one Samford freshman who, because of what she heard at the party, has decided that she wants to attend Samford.

"It is all about building relationships," Mitchell said.

The Samford Parents Association includes parents of all current and former students. Association members assist with send-off parties and other special events during the year and coordinates prayer and other networking opportunities for parents.

Jim Edwards, a Montgomery, Ala., attorney, is Association president.


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.