Samford University Board of Trustees, circa late 80's
President Thomas Corts, front row, light grey suit, 5th from left
My dad, Mark S. Espy, Sr., the youngest looking of the bunch, standing in the back center
In the coming days I plan to add some funny and interesting anecdotes about Dad being a trustee and how that influenced Mark's and my life at Samford when we went to school there. I also will share some other facts about the board, and how Dad actually came to be a trustee. So check back in! Dad served in this capacity for over a decade.
I'm sure that Daddy could have told you "a lot" about Uncle Major. Definitely one of those "larger than life" figures. Based probably solely on his recommendation, I got into Cumberland Law School. - cousin Mike Vann
These two images of Major Watt Espy at Howard College in the '20s are a teaser of more to come. Hope to post all that I have sometime next summer.
My first week at Samford a small number of students got invited to President Corts' home in Mountain Brook for a welcoming party for incoming freshman. Another student who had been invited - Trey, I think - picked me up in his car and took me over to Corts' home. We all sat out on the back patio and ate refreshments and drank some beverages (non-alcoholic, of course!). I can't remember if we had burgers or hotdogs. The only thing I really recall is that after Dr. Corts gave us a pep talk on life at Samford and what role models we'd surely become, we then all shared a bit about ourselves. I don't remember what I said, but I know I was nervous!!
Later, my senior year, I was one of the students invited to speak at a coat-and-tie Samford fundraiser dinner at the Mountain Brook Country Club. I only had to make a few remarks, and I remember specifically mentioning my grandfather graduating from Samford (Howard) and that he was a trustee for many years. What I do know is that I probably should have prepared a little better!!! Just hope Samford achieved its fundraising goals that year!
While at Samford, my brother Mark had a "funny" encounter with the Dean of Students, Dean Cox. I will have to get the story right from Mark. It all ended with Cox stating, "Now.... don't you and I both know one of the trustees?" (referring to Dad). I think Mark got the point.
When Mark graduated, Dad, being an trustee, was given the honor of presenting Mark his diploma. By the time I had finished, Dad's tenure as a Samford trustee had already come to an end, so mine was done the traditional way. Dr. Corts presented me my diploma.
In the mid-90s, when I was working at the bank in Headland, Bud Casey, the running back coach at Auburn during the Pat Dye and Bo Jackson era, came by to see my dad. Bud was on a local sports TV talk show then, and I believe he was in the bank seeing if we'd like to advertise on his program. I had met Bud when I was young - on recruiting trips he made to the Wiregrass and at various functions and games I went to with Dad. I walked back to the lobby, near Dad's office, and Bud is standing around, laughing it up with Dad and couple of other bank executives, both of whom, like Dad, were Auburn graduates. Very quickly, in front of Bud, somebody said, "Well, you know, Auburn is the best school around." I piped up, "Excluding Samford!" And one of them said, "Bud, give us your two cents on that," just knowing he would side with Auburn. Bud paused for a second, and then said, "I travel around this whole state raising money and trying to get advertising, and one thing I notice: the Samford graduates own the banks, and the Auburn graduates work for them." All I noticed were red faces, starting with Dad's!
Bud Casey - Sugar Bowl, 1984
Family members who went to Samford: Major W. Espy, Sr., Edward Gray Jackson, Theodore Jackson, James Burhman Espy, Dewitt Barnette* (my grandmother Dot's brother, who played football there), Marilyn Espy (McClendon), Mila Espy (Woods), Mark C. Espy, Jr., and Major Allen Espy. Mila's daughter Valerie Woods (Smith) studied there a year. Cousin Abigail Sessions finished Samford. And cousin J. Theodore Jackson Jr. of Montgomery is a current trustee. There may be more!!!
And for all blog posts with mentions of Samford University, including my brother Mark's election as sophomore class president, click here and scroll.
*must confirm this one
Updated October 30, 2016. BUT THIS POST IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS.