"Every action you take matters to all of us and for all time," speaker and author Andy Andrews told a recent audience of Samford University supporters.
Whether it is funding scholarships that change the lives of students, or seeking wisdom to make good decisions, everything you do matters, said Andrews, speaking at Samford's Legacy League scholarship gala at Vestavia Country Club on May 3.
Andrews used humor and insight to share the principles that he includes in his first novel, The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success. The book was on The New York Times best seller list for 17 weeks and has been translated into 20 languages.
Taking responsibility, seeking wisdom, becoming a person of action, having a decided heart, choosing to be happy, having a forgiving spirit, and persisting without exception, Andrews said, "all make a mark in the lives of other people."
"These seven things are God's principles, and work every time," said Andrews, whose 23 books include The Noticer and The Butterfly Effect.
He told how he defined the principles after reading biographies of more than 200 great and successful men and women. The reading list was given to him years ago by an older friend who helped Andrews understand the importance of knowing how he would react when life's circumstances don't seem fair.
"We live in a society where everybody is obsessed with how people feel, but what's more important is how we act," said Andrews, whose late parents, Joyce and Larry Andrews, met as Samford students. "Everything that happens to you comes from how you act."
He complimented Legacy League members for the work they do in support of Samford students.
"You invest yourselves in other people," he said, citing the long term positive effects of the scholarships they award to students such as Cassie Sizemore, who had earlier shared her story with the audience.
Sizemore, a senior communication studies major, told how her difficult and complex family situation made attending a school such as Samford seem out of the question. After her mother died when she was age 10 and her father was incarcerated, she said, she spent the next decade living in various places throughout the southeast.
"To my amazement, a gracious group chose to participate in the establishment of my financial capability to attend my dream school-Samford University," said Sizemore. "The Legacy League sought to extend its generous support of my ambitions and thus allowed for me to further pursue the desires of my heart."
Sizemore, whose future plans include a career involving music therapy, is one of 13 Samford students currently receiving 2011-2012 Legacy League scholarships.
Legacy League executive director Dr. Jeanna Westmoreland noted that the scholarship gala provided a time to celebrate the vision of the founders of the scholarship fund and to honor the donors who make the ongoing assistance to deserving students possible.
The Legacy League, said Westmoreland, has awarded almost $500,000 in scholarships since the endowment fund was established in 1988, and has touched the lives of more than 150 deserving students.
The newest scholarship, The Legacy Scholarship, she said, was created through the contributions of more than 200 Legacy League members and friends.
Program speakers included Legacy League president Penny Kimrey and ways and means committee chair Lisbeth Cease. Violinist Layla Humphries, a Samford graduate and director of Dawson Music Academy, provided music during the meal.
The gala celebrated the end of an eventful year for the Legacy League, which unveiled its new name in October and in December hosted its first Christmas home tour. The 750-member group was formerly known as Samford University Auxiliary.