Samford receives $100M gift—largest in state higher education history

$100M gift , Ssmford University
Marvin Mann—the state of Alabama’s largest higher education donor. Over a $100M gift. (Olivia Moses / Bham Now)

The late Marvin Mann went from being a first generation college student to giving the largest gift in Alabama history right back to the university that gave him that very same opportunity. Through a generous $100M gift, he’ll be giving that same opportunity to thousands of future Samford students from years to come.

Read his story here.

A catalyst for future investment

$100M gift , Ssmford University
President Beck Taylor taking the podium and announcing this once-in-a-lifetime gift. (Olivia Moses / Bham Now)

On Thursday, May 12, Samford University announced the gift of a lifetime. Coming from the estate of the late Marvin Mann, this gift will transform the lives of future Samford students by providing access to educating for undergraduate and graduate students.

Marvin Mann graduated from Samford in 1954 and became a beloved member of the Samford community. From winning the esteemed Alumnus of the Year award, he also received the first Ethics-in-Business award in 2006, eventually renamed the Marvin Mann Ethics-In-Business Award. Both of these awards honor exceptional dedication to service to institutions without sacrificing Christian virtues or charity.

You might be wondering—where will all this money go? $95M of the gift will go toward scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate programs. The remaining $5M will be gifted to the Frances Marlin Mann Center, which he founded in 2008 in honor of his wife, Frances. Samford will continue to honor his legacy through modeling his commitment to service, leadership and generosity.

“I’m simultaneously excited and humbled— feelings I’m sure all of my colleague’s share…This gift represents not the Capstone, of support to this university, but rather it represents a catalyst —a catalyst for future investment in this special place that provides a unique and transformational Christ centered high quality education to its student. Students who then in turn, transform the families and neighborhoods, churches, cities and organizations they call home.” 

-Beck Taylor, President, Samford University

The gift of education

$100M gift , Ssmford University
Pictured above (L-R): Betsy Holloway, Mayor Patrick McClusky, President Beck Taylor, Mayor Randall Woodfin, Randy Pittman and Williams J. Stephens—president of the Samford Board of Trustees. (Olivia Moses / Bham Now)

Also, on hand today was Mayor Randall Woodfin. Woodfin, a alumnus of Samford’s University’s Cumberland School of Law, celebrated the life and donation of Marvin Mann. Woodfin attributed his own education to generous donors such as Marvin Mann, who will impact the lives of graduates to come.

He concluded the announcement with powerful words, incorporating the motto of Samford: For God, For Learning, Forever.

 “I…We… honor the gift of his [Mann’s] life and generosity, the gift of education and all that it can bring, and of course, the gift of Samford University, for God for learning forever.”

-Randall Woodfin, Mayor, City of Birmingham

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Olivia Moses
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