English Department to Honor Noted Author and Alumnus Sams Today


MACON – Mercer University's Department of English will hold a remembrance of noted alumnus Dr. Ferrol A. Sams Jr. today at 2 p.m. in Newton Chapel. One of Mercer University's most accomplished graduates, the acclaimed author and rural doctor passed away on Jan. 29 at the age of 90. The event is free and the public is welcome to attend.

Known by many as “Sambo,” Dr. Sams penned eight books, including a trilogy of works featuring Porter Osborne Jr., a character largely based on Dr. Sams' own Georgia boyhood in Fayette County and experiences at Mercer. All of his works are rooted in the oral traditions of Southern humor and folklore, and his novel, The Whisper of the River, to this day is used in the classrooms at Mercer. 

Today's event includes several remembrances, as well as readings from his work and speeches at Mercer. Dr. Gordon Johnston will read his “Ferrol A. Sams, Jr.: A Life in Letters,” and “Sambo's Words, My Words,” by Dr. Anya Silver, will be read by her husband and fellow English professor Dr. Andrew Silver and “Joe Hendricks and The Whisper of the River,” by Eric O'Dell, will be read by Dr. Gordon Johnston. There will also be readings of excerpts from Dr. Sams' fiction, including “Peabody Baptist Church,” “Smooching 101” and “A Horse Tale,” as well as a reading of Dr. Sams' 1986 commencement address at Mercer.

For more on Dr. Sams' life, please read on >

Mercerians and non-Mercerians alike have been influenced by the words and deeds of Dr. Sams. If you would like to share your memories, please do so by writing a remembrance at our memorial site. >