On the night of Friday, Nov. 4, Professor Randy Todd of the Classics and Philosophy Department coordinated his annual overnight barbecue event, “Todd on the Quad.”
According to Todd, his earliest on-campus barbecue happened 12 years ago. He purchased an entire pig carcass to roast, and invited students and faculty from the classics department to join him.
“I used to do it with my father,” Todd said.
Before “Todd on the Quad” became the highly-anticipated Homecoming event that it is today, Todd’s late father began the tradition of smoking pork overnight during New Year’s Eve and other family holidays. Shortly after his passing, Todd discovered the recipe and began his own tradition.
Now, Samford faculty, returning alumni, and students from all different departments join Todd annually to eat hearty food and swap stories around the fire. According to alumni present at this year’s cookout, many students – graduates of the Classics Department in particular – used to bring sleeping bags and camp out the entire night, waking up covered in frost on particularly chilly November mornings.
This year’s “Todd on the Quad” followed a familiar itinerary. Todd lit his fires at 8 p.m.; put the meat on the grill at 9 p.m.; cooked up s’mores, chicken and smoked sausage for participants to enjoy; and began a time for storytelling after midnight. Early the next day, Todd would check on his pork and provide more breakfast options.
“We’ll be eating all morning,” Todd said.
The finished pork was served at noon, during Saturday’s tailgate.
However, most of those in attendance agreed that the opportunity for fellowship amongst scholars is the night’s biggest attraction.
“I was a freshman wanting to get plugged in,” recent alumni Margaret Byrd said, “and the community [of this event] drew me in.”
That night, students and teachers of different disciplines gathered, ate, exchanged fond memories and engaged in academic conversations. There were several recitations given by students in both Greek and Old English, and one student performed a song on her violin. All waited for Todd to step forth and tell his first story, and in the meantime recounted a few of his famous tales, including but not limited to a close call with a grizzly bear and an encounter with the mafia.
Finally, around 1:30 a.m., Todd had everyone’s attention.
“You can’t tell anyone I told you this story,” he began.