Faith | Wisdom | Service
April 3, 2018
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Huntingdon Dedicates New Soccer/Softball Complex
Montgomery, Ala.—Although soccer and softball have been part of Huntingdon College’s athletic teams for nearly 30 years, the teams have not enjoyed separate spaces on campus. Now, with the dedication of the W. James Samford Jr. Soccer and Softball Complex, each sport has its own field for practice and play, as well as new lockers, restrooms, and an indoor press box. The fields, made possible by a gift from the W. James Samford Jr. Foundation, were dedicated March 24.
Huntingdon trustee Lucinda Cannon, sister to W. James (Jimmy) Samford Jr., her cousin, Preston Barnett, and her son, Race Cannon, were instrumental in making the gift to the College that served as a catalyst for the refurbishment of the shared fields. Construction began during the 2016–2017 academic year and continued well into the 2017–2018 academic year.
“The life-blood of any college is its students,” said Huntingdon President J. Cameron West. “Our participation in NCAA Division III athletics has provided a tremendous infusion of students into our college community—students who would not have come here without the opportunity to continue playing the sports they played in middle- and high school. Our athletic events unify our campus community, provide a portal for the Cloverdale and River Region communities to support Huntingdon, and create connections and memories that our student-athletes will carry with them forever. We are so grateful for this gift, which has made it possible to provide dedicated fields and facilities for the men and women who play soccer and for the women who play softball.”
Jimmy Samford, raised in Opelika and educated at Auburn University, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served three years, then returned to higher education, completing his law degree at the University of Alabama. From 1980 until his death in 2003, Samford lived just a few blocks away from the Huntingdon campus, continuing a legacy of relationship between the Samford family and the College that dates back to the College’s founding in Tuskegee. Two ancestors were instrumental in steering the College through times of growth and expansion, including Samford’s great-great grandfather, William Flewellen Samford, who raised funds to expand the residence halls at Tuskegee Female College (Huntingdon’s earliest identity) in 1856. Both of Samford’s and Cannon’s grandmothers attended Tuskegee Female College. Cannon has also continued the family’s close connection to the College as a long-standing member of the Huntingdon Board of Trustees.
“Multiple major gifts over the years by the W. James Samford, Jr. Foundation have propelled Huntingdon athletics into the NCAA era with great momentum, including the construction of our football and lacrosse stadium on the Cloverdale campus, which bears Jimmy Samford’s name,” said West. Huntingdon’s School of Business and Professional Studies is also named in Samford’s memory.
Following the field dedication, the Lady Hawks softball team shut out Brevard College for a pair of wins. They head to the USA South Conference Tournament April 7.
Huntingdon College, grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the United Methodist Church, is committed to nurturing growth in faith, wisdom, and service and to graduating individuals prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Founded in 1854, Huntingdon is a coeducational liberal arts college recognized as a top 10 best buy among regional colleges and in the top tier of regional colleges by U.S. News and World Report; among the top tier of regional colleges by the Princeton Review; among “Colleges that Contribute to the Public Good,” by Washington Monthly; and on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The Huntingdon campus, a Tree Campus USA, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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