April 24, 2013
Hidden Gems: The Busts of Frank Park Samford
There are two hidden gems at different locations on Samford's campus that look strikingly similar. In fact, the items, two busts of Frank Park Samford, are exactly identical.
Samford served as chairman of the board of trustees for nearly 40 years and was instrumental in the relocation of Howard College from the East Lake area of Birmingham to Homewood.
In 1958, the board of trustees voted to name the campus's new administration building Frank Park Samford Hall, and a bust of Samford was placed on the second floor of the building.
After Howard College gained university status in 1965, the name was changed to Samford University in honor of the Samford family's contributions to the university, who at the time were the university's largest donors.
Samford also served as president of Liberty National Life Insurance Co. When Liberty National moved its headquarters from Birmingham to McKinney, Texas, the company gave a gift to the university: another bust of Samford.
The second bust of Samford now sits on the second floor of the Harwell G. Davis library.
The identical busts represent an individual who dedicated countless hours to the well-being of Samford University and the Baptist tradition in Alabama.
In his book, Towards a History of Samford University, James F. Sulzby, Jr. writes, "He (Samford) was widely known as a most energetic businessman and life insurance executive, and as a faithful, consistent Christian in all enterprises. His influence was ever given to sustain the moral character of Howard."
[Editor's Note: This article is one in a recurring series on "hidden gems" on the Samford University campus.]