Former Alabama governor Albert P. Brewer has served Samford University in many ways through the years: distinguished professor of law and government, founding president of the Samford-based Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, trustee and unofficial goodwill ambassador.
The partially retired Brewer found it hard to refuse Dr. Andrew Westmoreland when the Samford president asked him to take on one more role: that of steering committee chair for the school’s “Samford: The World is Better for It” campaign.
“Samford has meant much to many of us, and the campaign is a way of giving back to this great university,” said Brewer.”The opportunities here are impressive and can be realized only with additional resources.”
His appreciation for the school began several decades before he joined the faculty in 1987.
“I have known Samford all my life, first as Howard College, then as Samford,” recalls Brewer, who, as a young attorney and Baptist layman in Morgan County was a campaign leader to raise funds for the school’s move from East Lake to Homewood in the 1950s.
In the 1960s, he was a member of the Alabama legislature when the name was changed from Howard College to Samford University, and in 1968 he received an honorary degree from the school.
Brewer and his late wife, Martha, underscored their long-standing appreciation for the school by establishing scholarships for undergraduate and law students.
“We wanted to help students who might otherwise be unable to attend Samford,” said Brewer, noting that the couple delighted in following the careers of recipients and having pride in their accomplishments.
An additional scholarship has been established in his honor, and in 2008 the striking Martha F. and Albert P. Brewer Plaza was made possible by statewide contributions from a broad cross-section of people. The site in front of Robinson law building is enjoyed by all Samford students and faculty.
Brewer, who has taught Cumberland law students as well as undergraduate history and political science students, was honored in 2001 with Samford’s George Macon Memorial Award for outstanding performance as a teacher.
One nominator hailed Brewer for his generosity of time as he patiently helped students understand the intricacies of the legal and political systems of Alabama, and also for his many admirable personal attributes.
“He exudes from the core of his being an unwavering commitment to the highest ideals of the legal profession: justice, compassion and the importance of contributing to one’s community,” wrote the admirer.
Brewer was lieutenant governor of Alabama during 1967-68 and governor during 1968-71. He is recognized for achieving much-needed reforms and new programs for the state. Historians have called him Alabama’s first New South governor.
His numerous honors and accolades cite, among other things, his commitment to state constitutional reform efforts. He has been a board member of the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform and the Alabama Citizens Constitution Commission.
Brewer retired from fulltime teaching in 2005, but continues to teach a law course in professional responsibility.
Although a graduate of the University of Alabama with bachelor’s and law degrees, Brewer is never shy about his pride in Samford, its mission and its worthiness of support.
“Samford is a special place,” says Brewer. “Its ability to provide a Christian higher education is dependent upon our providing the resources to achieve our campaign objectives.”
“Every contribution is an investment in the future of the outstanding young people who attend Samford and of our state and nation, and even the world, where they will serve with character and ability.”