November 18, 2005

Samford Business Network Links Alumni, School, Business Communities

"... When we professionals find vocation, we find purpose--a purpose that transcends careerism, a purpose that encourages us to think about who we are, and whose we are..."

Samford Business Network Links Alumni, School, Business CommunitiesThe new Samford Business Network held its inaugural breakfast on Wednesday, November 15 at the Harbert Center in Birmingham. William J. Stevens, president and CEO of Motion Industries, Inc., and chairman of Samford's Board of Trustees, spoke along with Samford School of Business Dean Beck Taylor.

Taylor, who joined Samford in August, said the initiative is intended to engage alumni and business professionals in meaningful opportunities to connect with other business professionals and promote continued learning and involvement in the life and mission of Samford University.

"This is our flagship program in the School of Business to reach out to our alumni, not only in Birmingham, but in other major cities, including Nashville and Atlanta," Taylor said. He added that he plans to visit Nashville at the end of November to work with an alumni leadership team there to create an SBN chapter in that city. A similar trip to Atlanta is also in the works.

Taylor said more than 200 people attended the inaugural event in Birmingham. "The event was a resounding success," he said. "It proves that Samford University has a strong and vibrant alumni base which is eager to be involved."

Stevens spoke about the future at Samford, specifically about the presidential transition. Taylor shared news from the school and offered his thoughts on the role of Samford Business in the overall landscape of business higher education, emphasizing the need for professional education that holds students to strong ethical standards. He said higher education in general and schools of business in particular must bear some of the blame for the business scandals of recent years because they have failed to provide a moral context for professional education.

"It is instructive, and perhaps prophetic," Taylor said, "that just as many of the professions were abandoning their traditions in apprenticeship and moving into colleges and universities in the early twentieth century, those same places of learning were beginning to abandon their commitment to moral education in favor of amoral teaching, that is, teaching void of moral context. Perhaps some combination of the two is now warranted."

Citing the work of noted ethicist William F. May, Taylor also noted that, "within the soul of each profession lies a sense of calling--vocare--that reaffirms our career choices, justifies our enormous investments in education and training, and inspires us toward the common good. When we professionals find vocation, we find purpose--a purpose that transcends careerism, a purpose that encourages us to think about who we are, and whose we are."

The next Samford Business Network event will take place on Tuesday, February 14, at 7 a.m. at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Marvin Mann, founder and CEO emeritus of Lexmark Corporation will be the featured speaker at that event, which is free-of-charge and open to the public. Mann also will speak in convocation at Samford that day, and will receive the School of Business's first Ethics in Business Award.

Call 726-2364 for information and registration.

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