Published on May 6, 2013 by Brad Radice  

In a take-off on popular athletics signing day events, Samford University is planning a live webcast May 10 to announce new academic scholars who will enroll for the 2013-14 academic year.

The "Academic Scholars Signing Day" live stream will begin at 1 p.m. and will recognize students who have accepted Samford offers for its Presidential Scholars, Preministerial Scholars and University Fellows programs. University officials expect at least 50 confirmed students to be announced during the event.

The live stream is being coordinated by Samford's Office of Marketing and Communication in conjunction with the various scholars programs and the offices of admission and financial aid.

Philip Poole, Samford's executive director of marketing and communication, said the purpose of the event is to feature the university's strong academic programs. Students selected for the three programs must pass additional, strenuous admission requirements in addition to the university's already rigorous admission requirements.

Many universities and high schools use athletics signing days, particularly with football and basketball, to highlight the talents of student-athletes, Poole noted. While athletics is a strong component at Samford, the university always has emphasized its nationally-recognized academic programs.

"We thought it would be a great idea to give the same attention to our top academic scholars as we might to our student-athletes," Poole said. "These students have been chosen for these top programs because of their achievements in the classroom. That ultimately is what we are about as a university."

Poole said new student scholars are being invited to attend the event on campus if they can, but families and high school counselors are being encouraged to use the live stream as an event to celebrate with students who cannot attend in person.

University Fellows is Samford's academic honors program and is directed by Bryan Johnson, associate professor of English. The program is open to students from all Samford undergraduate majors, but students must be admitted as high school seniors.

According to Lane Smith, Samford's director of financial aid, Presidential Scholarships are awarded to incoming freshman students in any major whose distinction encompasses outstanding academic achievement and extensive involvement in critical leadership roles in school, church and the community.

Preministerial Scholars is a preprofessional and scholarship program that combines the academic study of religion with the practical experience of internships and cadres, according to program director James Barnette. The program, which Barnette describes as "highly competitive," seeks to equip students for church-related ministries.

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.