At this point in time, I firmly believe that the reality of my graduation and commencement has yet to set in. It feels as if a few months ago I was setting foot on Samford’s campus for the very first time. However, that reality is simply not factual. Rather, I will be graduating from this prestigious university in a matter of weeks.
I classify my time at Samford as both a blessing and an immense learning experience. From the friends and professors I have met along the way to the daily stroll around campus and downtown Birmingham, I am thankful for every second I have spent in the Magic City.
From every Legion FC soccer game to intramural sporting event, I am thankful for my personal involvement in sports within the boundaries of this city. Having that direct access aided me greatly in the process of serving the communication and media department to the best of my ability as sports editor of The Samford Crimson.
I am grateful for every trip to Ensley when I conducted my reporting on the developments of the Ramsay-McCormack building and Enoch Ensley and his Tennessee, Coal, Iron and Railroad Company ventures. I will never forget the people I met there and the conversations I was privileged to have along the way. I know that the ultimate revitalization of Ensley is rapidly approaching and I am thrilled to see the city of Birmingham continue its significant improvements within those neighborhoods.
When it comes to writing and newspaper articles, I would specifically like to thank my previous roommate and former Crimson Editor-in-Chief Daniel Dodson for opening my eyes to the world of journalism and teaching me an abundant amount of facts and skills regarding reporting. If we had never met, I do not believe I would be a part of the Crimson staff today. His talents are not to be overlooked, as he was in charge of bringing our newspaper to #1 in the South at the Southeastern Journalism Conference.
To my current Editor-in-Chief Katy Beth Boyers, I have learned so much from your passion and dedication to each and every product. Your career in journalism is extremely promising and I look forward to keeping in touch with your progress in the future.
To my advisor, Ana Good, I thank you for carefully proofing and editing my stories over the last few years. Your hard work never goes unnoticed during the production of our papers and without you, our ship would never sail smoothly.
While I could spend several hours thanking friends and professors, I would specifically like to call to mind three: Dr. Clay Carey, Dr. Timothy Sutton and Dr. Chuck Stokes. All of you helped shape my skills in the classroom and beyond. I have become a better writer, interviewer, reporter, public speaker and person after several conversations with each of you. In terms of my faith, I have to thank Dr. Sutton and Dr. Stokes in particular, as they truly exemplify what it means to be a Catholic man in modern times.
In addition to those three professors, I must give a shoutout to Dr. Jordan Cissell of the geography department. Dr. Cissell is, without a doubt, the most down-to-earth, attentive and caring professor I have had the privilege of taking in my four years at Samford. I have genuinely enjoyed every single period and our conversations about a plethora of topics ranging from foreign currency to trains to hiking. Having his geography course as one of my final classes is nothing short of the perfect send-off from this institution.
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my parents, John and Gail Sadowey and my brother, Surf.
Dad, I have learned so much from you over the years, especially in regard to being the best I can be, whether that be on a court, field or inside the classroom. For as long as I can remember, I have striven for excellence to make you proud, simply because I know you would do anything for me and love me more than any father loves his son.
Mom, thank you for being the most caring, thoughtful and loving person in my life. You have continuously provided for me over the years and you serve as such an important role model for Surf and me. At the end of the day, it is your hard work and support of our family that holds us all together.
I cannot end on that note regarding my family, however, as I must thank my grandfather as well. My family and friends who know him refer to him as Dido (Дідо), meaning “grandpa” in Ukrainian, so I will do the same now.
Dido, I know you would do anything for me and your love and care means the world to me. I have you to thank for my Ukrainian heritage and passion for the culture. You came to this country with nothing and provided for a family in the most challenging of circumstances. I do not know what it is like to lose a wife to cancer and a daughter to leukemia at a young age, but I know that because of this, you have cared for me and loved me more than any grandfather loves his grandchildren. You love Surf and me more than anyone on this earth and I can never repay you for everything you have done for me. I pray for you and our family every single day and I look forward to seeing you at my graduation. Since you were the driving force in my fascination with the German language and learning it for three years at Samford, I would like to end my note to you with this: Danke für alles. Ich habe dich lieb!
In the near future, I plan to find a full-time job in Birmingham so I can remain in this beautiful city for several years to come. In my free time, I plan on continuing to play any sport I can in my free time while also adding more photography to my railfan Instagram page @birmingham_railfan. I highly recommend checking it out if you have the slightest bit of love for Birmingham, photography or trains.
Although my stint at Samford is coming to an end right in front of my eyes, I will never forget my time spent here. With the utmost sincerity and an appreciative spirit, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Gunnar Sadowey is the sports editor for the Crimson. He is a senior from Elkhart, IN. Gunnar is currently a journalism and mass communications major with a print concentration and a German minor.