Builder of Liberty National Life Insurance Company (now Torchmark Corporation), Alabama’s largest life insurance company, promoter of higher education, and outstanding business leader, Frank Park Samford, Sr. was an exemplary citizen.
He was born in Troy, Alabama November 1, 1893, to Kate Park Samford and William Hodges Samford. His father was a judge on the Alabama Court of Appeals and his grandfather was governor of Alabama. Frank Samford received his AB degree from Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University) and was later to receive honorary doctoral degrees from Auburn University, The University of Alabama, and Samford University.
In 1919 he was married to Hattie Mae Noland, who shared in his higher education interests. They had two children, Frank Park Samford, Jr. and Ann (Mrs. Samuel E. Upchurch).
Frank Samford served 27 years on the Board of Trustees of Auburn University and 34 years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Howard College later to be named Samford University. He is credited with his participation in efforts to move the campus from the East Lake neighborhood in Birmingham to its current campus in Homewood, Alabama. The University was named for him in 1965. He also served as a Trustee of Southern Research Institute. Practically every educational and charitable organization in Alabama has benefitted from his generosity. Mr. Samford was selected in 1958 as Man of the South by Dixie Business Magazine and appointed Citizen of the Year in 1965 by the Alabama Broadcasting Association. He was also named Citizen of the Century for Birmingham by the Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Boards of Southern Research Institute, Community Chest, Alabama Heart Association, and Associated Industries. In addition to numerous business, civic, educational, cultural, financial, and charitable organizations, he also served as a deacon and benefactor of Southside Baptist Church in Birmingham.
Frank Park Samford, Sr. was inducted into the Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame in 1989.
Biographical information provided by Samford University.