Samford University President's Home
The Samford University President's Home is an official residence, owned and maintained by Samford University, for the use of the University President and their family, and for hosting official functions and guests. The current president's home is located at 1994 Shades Crest Road in Vestavia Hills, overlooking the campus in Homewood.
Until 1959, the University's presidents kept their own residence. Harwell Davis' residence on Essex Road in Forest Park was frequently used as a gathering place for friends of their children, who were students at what was then Howard College when he began serving in 1939. Despite its distance from Howard's East Lake campus, the home also hosted a number of official events.
The estate of John W. & Lucille Inzer had provided a bequest from the sale of their property. "to provide a president's home for Howard College as a contribution to Christian education and the kingdom of God."
During the planning of the college's Shades Valley campus, a President's Home was envisioned as part of the development, but was never built. Board chair Frank Samford explained in 1958 that a committee of trustees, "gave consideration to the possibility of building a house on campus, but after a study of construction estimates, the committee determined that the space required for a president's house would be more nearly met by the purchase of an existing house than by building a new one on the campus." The Lucille Stewart Beeson Law Library was eventually constructed on the hillside site often suggested.
In 1959 the University purchased a 4-bedroom Colonial-style house and guesthouse on 7 acre lot at 112 Shades Creek Parkway, near the cloverleaf interchange with Independence Drive. The family of new President Leslie Wright relocated there from their temporary housing in December.
In 1971 Margaret Bush deeded her 5-bedroom French manor-style house, dubbed "Manoir Minette" on a 6.1-acre parcel at 4132 Old Leeds Road to the university. She advised the trustees that, compared to the Wrights' current house, "it is newer and of much finer construction. The rooms are much larger and far better suited to entertaining large groups of faculty, students, and others. The grounds are beautifully landscaped."
The Wrights moved to that home and used it until his retirement in 1983. Samford sold both houses in 1984. First Baptist Church of Birmingham bought the Shades Creek Parkway property for its move from downtown Birmingham.
New Samford president Thomas Corts was installed in a new university-owned President's Home at 2829 Overton Road. That house suited the Corts family well, but its location made it inconvenient to accommodate large groups. It was sold after his retirement in 2006. New president Andrew Westmoreland took up residence in a large home in the Greystone subdivision in Hoover, which was donated to the university by Joseph and Jenna Cassese.
In December 2007 Samford's board of trustees approved the $2.5 million purchase of the current President's Home, as well as a $1.3 million renovation and addition project designed by Neal Davis and carried out by contractor Gary C. Wyatt. A large banquet room was added to the rear of the home, overlooking the campus. Nancy Brock assisted in the interior decoration of the residence, featuring numerous artifacts and artworks from the university's special collections. The home adjoins the parking lot of First Church of the Nazarene, which is used for parking for many large events at the home.
- Cooper, Lauren B. (September 14, 2008) "Samford spends $4M for new president's home." Birmingham Business Journal
- "Presidents' Homes" (Fall 2009) Seasons, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 11–13