Monday Mission, April 22, 2019

Precious words from the mother and father of a member of the Samford Class of 2019, received this weekend:

We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Samford’s faculty and administration.  A special thank you to professors Amanda Howard and Gregory Kawell for their mentorship, availability and caring attitude.  Our daughter thrived during her undergraduate studies at Samford due to the institution’s high academic standards coupled with a Christian-based value system.  Thank you for setting the bar high!  She is leaving as a very confident, self-reliant and highly motivated young adult.  During her four years at Samford, she was challenged academically, participated in a number of Samford-sponsored community outreach programs as well as other extracurricular activities.  She was able to discover her passions and grow both intellectually and spiritually through these experiences.  Consequently, she is well-prepared to embark on her graduate studies this fall. 

The world is better because of Samford’s all-encompassing approach to education—and the extra efforts of faculty members like Amanda Howard and Greg Kawell.

Monday Mission, April 15, 2019

Dr. Brian Gregory of our Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry told me last week of one of his graduates—Alex Davis—who was facing a very difficult decision regarding two highly-coveted graduate fellowships.

Alex is currently pursuing graduate study in physics at Auburn.  After careful reflection, Alex chose an offer from the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) program.  Last year, NDSEG made 69 awards from an applicant pool of 3,100, so the competition is fierce. “I know that there were so many amazing applicants and it is truly an honor that they would choose me,” Alex wrote to Dr. Gregory.  Congratulations, Alex.   

The world is better because of Samford’s commitment to academic, career and ethical competency.

Monday Mission, April 8, 2019

Patty Roark is a Financial Aid Advisor at Samford.

You’ll find her on the ground floor of Ingalls Hall with the other members of our competent staff in Student Financial Services.  Patty’s job is challenging, interacting with students and parents each day, pursuing solutions to their problems.  Last week as I dashed to the library to buy a cup of coffee, the mom of one of our students stopped me to ask, “Do you have time for some praise?”  She told me how, during her association with Samford through the enrollment of two daughters, Patty has offered consistent, caring service.  The person who told me this story is of great influence in her own community, but my guess is that Patty has no idea of that fact.  She respects each person, regardless of personal circumstances, offering kind and helpful attention. 

The world is better because of Patty Roark and our staff in Student Financial Services.

Monday Mission, April 1, 2019

Samford’s reputation is built as graduates demonstrate, throughout their lives, intellect, creativity, faith and personhood.

Dr. David Little of our Orlean Beeson School of Education forwarded to me last week this message from a recent graduate, now a first-year teacher in a school in another state, following her “summative meeting” with her principal and first-year teacher advisor:

“They both told me they could not believe I was a first year teacher! They said I had a great teacher presence, wonderful classroom management, great student relationships, promoted higher order thinking, and noticed that I focused a lot on social/emotional development.  All I could say was, ‘I had a wonderful master's program and teachers!!!’  Thank you for everything.”

The world is better because of the ceaseless investment of Samford faculty members in the lives of their students.

Monday Mission, March 25, 2019

While many of us are engaged in watching the basketball version of March Madness unfold, our friends in Samford’s Print Shop recognize that every day is filled with madness as their clients ask for impossibly quick results.

The staff is no larger than the number of refs required to officiate a collegiate basketball game—three—with employees Judi Moore and Alise Stone supervised by Lisa Dodd.  Lisa’s involvement dates to 1989.  The staff members earn double-double status each day:  double-digit service and double-digit speed.    

The world is better because of the slam dunk team in Samford’s Print Shop.

Monday Mission, March 18, 2019

At 12 Ashburn Gardens in South Kensington, London, dawn broke about six hours ago.

The property is known to us as Daniel House, and last night marked the first time that it has been inhabited by Samford students and faculty since an extensive renovation began last year.  Construction is ongoing, so access to portions of the house will be restricted for a few additional weeks, but the guests are now inside, safe and sound.  My thanks turn this morning to the hundreds of people who have made gifts to support the project, to the London-based staff who support the operations there, to our architects and contractor in London, and especially to Lauren Doss, Nancy Biggio and Jeff Poleshek, who labored long last week to prepare the house.  They’re headed home today.

The world is better because of the life-changing experiences that have occurred—and will occur—at the Daniel House.

Monday Mission, March 4, 2019

Last week I had an e-mail message from Porter Rivers, a graduate of two years ago.

In his senior year, Porter served as our SGA president, and it was especially through that relationship that I came to know him.  Employed by a local, successful business, Porter told me that he was going to be on campus on Thursday for a career fair (recruiting Samford students for positions within his company) and he hoped we could chat for a few minutes.  I arranged to meet him at the career fair, then we walked—in the rain—to take a look at the construction in the University Center, talking constantly during our few minutes together.  Porter was married a few months ago, he loves his job, and his future is exceptionally bright.  Walking back to my office—in the rain—I was reminded of the ways in which Porter’s life was touched here, and I was grateful for his family and for those who invested in him while he was a student at Samford.  

The world is better because of Porter Rivers and those who poured their wisdom and knowledge into him.

Monday Mission, February 25, 2019

This is the time of year when prospective students are coming to grips with one of the most significant decisions of their lives, their college choice, so it isn’t surprising that the campus is crowded in February and March with families, having conversations with admission staff, taking one more tour, and generally assessing their options.

 Last week I visited briefly with one of those families and listened as they related their observations.  I have no idea if the prospect will choose Samford, but if she does, I suspect it will be largely because of the interaction that she had with members of our faculty members in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences.  Sitting in on a couple of classes and talking with faculty members later, she left with a deep appreciation for the attention afforded our students.

The world is better because of the engagement of our faculty in the development of our students—and our prospective students.

Monday Mission, February 18, 2019

A couple of weeks ago I spoke to about 100 people gathered for a prayer breakfast in the town of West Jefferson, located along the northwest border of Jefferson County, joining Walker County.

The town itself has a population of slightly more than 300 people.  Although they lost their high school several years ago, they’ve managed to hold on to their elementary school (which has an enrollment of about 150 students).  Gathered on the morning of the prayer breakfast were emergency and law enforcement personnel from the area, the Mayor and other officials, the community’s Senator and Representative in the Alabama legislature, and other men and women who care deeply about the quality of life in their town.  Before and after the breakfast I managed to meet most of the guests and chat with them, and I was gratified—as I always am—when encountering the Samford connections in the group.  “My daughter graduated there,” “I know Jennings Marshall on your faculty,” “my grandchildren are there now,” “you’ve got a great school,” “Samford has been a positive influence on Alabama.”  Samford’s “community” extends to the largest cities on the planet and to towns like West Jefferson, Alabama.

The world is better because of Samford’s “service to God, to family, to one another, and to the community.”

Monday Mission, February 11, 2019

Last week several folks forwarded to me the most recent attempt to spoof my e-mail account so that it appears that I’m sending messages to random people with lines like, “Are you available?”

I did as I always do on such occasions, dutifully forwarding the messages to our friends in Technology Services so that they could do whatever it is they do.  Then I stopped to realize the extent to which I take these staff members for granted.  Each day they perform hundreds of tasks to maintain our systems, fix our computers and answer my inept questions—and they do it all with competence and grace.

The world is better because of Samford’s dedicated employees in Technology Services, who always answer “yes” when asked if they are available!

Monday Mission, February 4, 2019

Friday morning we lost a dear friend, William “Bill” Self Propst, Sr., one of the most successful graduates in Samford’s history.

Mr. Propst was a pioneer in the pharmacy industry, first opening his own store in Huntsville, Alabama, and later overseeing the installation of pharmacies in Kmarts across the United States.  As his career progressed, he purchased a small operation to produce generic drugs and built the business to the extent that it became one of the largest such enterprises in the country.  He will be remembered for his business acumen, but he would say that the greatest elements of his legacy are his family and the investment he made in charitable causes.  Among those investments is Samford University.  Mr. Propst was one of the most generous people I have ever known, and many of us learned significant life lessons from him.  We miss him—and we’ll see him again. 

The world is better because of Bill Propst.

Monday Mission, January 28, 2019

We are only one week into the spring semester and already—given the pace—I’m remembering these comforting, challenging words from a prayer offered last August by Dr. Ahinee Amamoo, Associate Professor in our School of Public Health:

In the hustle and bustle of the semester help us to stop and see the needs of our students.  Help us to minister to them as you see fit. We recognize that we are providing our students an invaluable education here at Samford, but help us to see and realize that each of our students come to campus with different needs, concerns and issues.  Use us, God, to show them your love and compassion and help us, help them grow closer to you. 

The world is better when, at our best, we are seeking to fulfill the hope offered in Ahinee’s prayer.

Monday Mission, January 14, 2019

If you are considering a trip to Kigali, Rwanda, a recent article in The New York Times offered “five places to go.”

Number two on the list is The Women’s Bakery.  If you drop by the bakery, you might encounter Rachel Carroll, a Samford graduate, the Program Manager.  Here’s the link from The New York Times, just to whet your appetite: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/travel/five-places-to-go-in-kigali.html.  Samford graduates are everywhere.

The world is better because of Rachel Carroll and the work done each day in The Women’s Bakery.

Monday Mission, January 7, 2019

A career passing total of 14,584 yards, now the record in FCS NCAA Division I football; FCS records now held for completions and attempts; leading the nation in 2018 in passing yards per game (389.4), total passing yards (4,283) and total offense per game (417.8); and now Samford QB Devlin Hodges is the recipient of the Walter Payton Award, given to the top offensive player in all of FCS football.

He is the first Samford player ever to receive the award and it is only the seventh occasion for the honor to go to a representative of the Southern Conference.  When I wrote to congratulate him on Friday evening, he replied by shifting the focus elsewhere:  “What a great honor to represent Samford!” 

The world is better because of Devlin Hodges.

Monday Mission, December 31, 2018

Timothy George, Dean of Samford’s Beeson Divinity School, offered a beautiful, challenging message to our December graduates at our winter commencement ceremony.

His closing statement to our graduates is an appropriate way to mark the end of 2018 and to embrace, as he said to our graduates, “the stewardship of starting all over again.”

Amidst the brokenness all around us, and sometimes even within us, we are summoned today to be faithful to God’s calling.  We are to be steadfast, persevering in discipleship so as to bear witness to the beauty, the light, and the divine reality that we shall forever enjoy in heaven.  We are called to do this in a culture that seems, at times, fragile and beset by dangers we cannot predict.  You will not do this perfectly—you will fail, as all human beings do—but reach out and claim the promise of God’s forgiveness.  Reach out and accept the gift of a new beginning, the stewardship of starting all over again.

The world is better because, through God’s grace, we may accept the gift of a new beginning. 

Monday Mission, December 24, 2018

In an interview published earlier this month in the Georgia Bar Journal, Court of Appeals of Georgia Chief Judge Stephen Louis A. Dillard, also the current President of the Samford Alumni Association, was asked the question, “why is Samford University so special to you?”

Our General Counsel, Clark Watson, after reading the Judge’s comments, said, “The opinion of Judge Dillard on this matter will not be reversed on appeal!”

Here are Judge Dillard’s thoughts about Samford:

Samford was the first place that I chose to call home, and where I met my wife and soulmate (we will celebrate 25 years of marriage on Jan. 2, 2019). It is the place where I not only received a world-class education, but also spent my formative years as a young adult. I love that Samford is a school where faith and reason are not at odds, and that the university cares deeply about graduating students who are well-rounded, caring, and thoughtful individuals, and who are committed to their faith and the common good. The values that were instilled in me at Samford are values that I carry with me to this very day, such as seeking to glorify God in everything that I do and treating every person with respect and dignity. Samford emphasizes service to others, and encourages its students to go out into the world and live out their faith. I received more than a degree from Samford. It is my forever home and an institution that continuously challenges me to be a better person. I would not trade my Samford education and experience for anything. It is an amazing university.

Thank you, Judge Dillard.  The world is better because of you.  Merry Christmas to all!

Monday Mission, December 17, 2018

Saturday morning, as I was checking final details in the Hanna Center prior to Commencement, headed the length of the gym floor to the hallways where students and faculty were gathering, I heard my name called from the stands.

 It was the father of one of our soon-to-be graduates from the Brock School of Business, leaning over the railing.  “I’ve been following you down the court, hoping to catch you,” he said.  And then he expressed, in a strong voice but with eyes that were melting, his appreciation for all that his son received here.  He concluded with a phrase that I hear so often:  “The investment was worth it.”  So this morning our story once again turns to the faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni, parents, friends—and above all, to God—for creating and sustaining a university that is worthy of continued investment.

The world is better because of the abundant joy that is found, nurtured and shared at Samford. 

Monday Mission, December 10, 2018

The Samford Recruitment Team (SRT) is comprised of undergraduates who lead campus tours, assist with Preview Days, and generally support all outreach efforts to prospective students and families.

The students are easily identifiable when they’re working because of the red polo shirts they wear.  SRT member Shelly Fulks was not on “red polo duty” when she saw the family of a prospective student a few days ago, but she quickly did all she could to put the guests at ease.  Here is the description of her kindness that we received last week from the visiting family:

Kudos to student, Shelly Fulks!!!  She saw our family waiting to order food in the Health Sciences Building.  She offered her last two meal swipes to us since she was going out of town for the weekend.  After we ordered, she invited the three of us to sit and eat with her while she told us all about her Samford experience!  She really connected with our daughter and made her feel at home!

The world is better because of Shelly and all the students in red polo shirts who regularly practice the gift of hospitality to our guests.

Monday Mission, December 3, 2018

A few days ago one of our graduates, currently enrolled in a graduate program at Vanderbilt, sent a heartwarming message to Dr. Jonathan Davis of our Department of Human Development and Family Life Education.

After offering examples of how her courses at Samford had prepared her for the rigors of a graduate program, she closed with this sentiment: 

So, in this crazy time of the semester, and in the spirit of giving thanks, I wanted to be sure you knew how impactful and influential your classes were for me at Samford.  My graduate work at Vanderbilt is extremely challenging, but my HDFE background has served me well through each and every challenge. Thank you for helping me get to where I am today! 

The world is better because of the ways in which Samford faculty members nurture their students.

Monday Mission, November 26, 2018

Continuing Samford’s lineage of success of intercollegiate Ethics Bowl teams, our current band of students—Will Featherston, Sierra Outerbridge, Rowan Rosewarne, Natalie Tidwell and Jones Willingham—won the Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament a few days ago, clearing the way for their entry in the national championship tournament in Baltimore in February.

To win the regional tournament, the Samford team defeated (such a harsh word in the context of ethics, right?) teams from Wake Forest, Ole Miss, Augusta University, the University of Maryland, Clemson and the University of Central Florida.  The team members thank their coaches—Mike Janas, Wilton Bunch and Chris Metress—for their wise counsel and support.

The world is better because of the vigorous learning of Samford students.

Monday Mission, November 19, 2018

Chris Hatcher, our head football coach, had a few things on his mind in early November.

Among his assortment of priorities was to work with his team, amidst unexpected adversity, to carve out a winning season (which occurred against East Tennessee State University last Saturday).  But one day earlier this month, Chris found the time to send a Samford jersey, on which he had scrawled “Go Dogs!” and “Chris Hatcher, Head Coach,” to a young man in a hospital in Atlanta.  The young man, a high school senior who already had his heart set on attending Samford next year, was seriously injured when the driver of another vehicle ran a red light.  His recovery is long and excruciating.  The young man wants to be an archeologist, not a football player, so Chris violated no obscure NCAA recruitment rule in sending him the jersey.  I’m not certain that Chris even knows the young man, nor his family.  But he saw an opportunity on a November morning, and he took the time to meet the need.

Chris Hatcher loves to win.  More than winning football games, however, Chris Hatcher cares for people.  I’m glad he’s our football coach.     

The world is better because of the winning ways of Chris Hatcher.

Monday Mission, November 12, 2018

Another airport story, this one from Dr. P. J. Hughes, Associate Professor in our McWhorter School of Pharmacy.

Here’s P. J.’s commentary from an encounter a few weeks ago:

Flying back home from a trip, my wife (Beth) and I are standing in line waiting to board our flight to Atlanta.  We are discussing travel-related things and a pilot who is in line in front of us turns around and engages us in pleasant discussion.  One thing leads to the other, and he tells us he’s based in Atlanta.  He asks where we are from, and we respond, “Birmingham.”  The gentleman then says, “Oh, my son attends Samford.”  I then told him I worked at Samford.  His face immediately lit up.  We engaged in a five-minute conversation regarding Samford, the wonderful community, beautiful campus, excellent academic rigor, but most importantly, how good he felt about sending his son to Samford.

The world is better because Samford people make possible so many great stories.

Monday Mission, November 5, 2018

Homecoming is a memory, but much of the recovery remains.

Tents and chairs still dot the Quad this morning, our backs are aching from the strain of the past few days, and the projects that were held in abeyance have now reached a level of urgency.  Hundreds of conversations with happy alums are a blur for me this morning, but they meld into a common refrain:  we loved Samford because of faculty who taught and inspired us and friends who cared for us.  The campus is beautiful, yes.  The progress is great, yes.  But we remember the people who touched our lives, then and now.

The world is better because of the dedicated faculty and staff and caring friends who have preceded us at Samford.

Monday Mission, October 22, 2018

Last week I wrote to you with a vignette about a voicemail message from the father of a prospective student.

Here’s another voicemail story, this time from the father of a recent graduate of our Ida Moffett School of Nursing.  “In only his second month (of employment at a hospital), they had an emergency where someone was nonresponsive.  It was my son who performed chest compressions and saved the patient’s life.  The charge nurse was there, was present, and commended him for it.  Again, it’s a testament to the outstanding training and education at Samford.  He’s too humble to tell you, but I’m a proud dad for what he did.”   

The world is better because of the competence, compassion and readiness of Samford graduates. 

Monday Mission, October 15, 2018

Sandra Wilson is our Veterans Affairs Certification Officer and Counselor.

She works each day with veterans and their families to assist in their pursuit of a Samford education.  Last week I received a voicemail message from a 30-year veteran who is also the father of a prospective student.  He simply wanted those of us at Samford to know of the quality of Sandra’s work.  “She really, really impressed us,” the father said.  “We don’t normally find somebody that is that dedicated and that enthusiastic and that positive.”  Because I am familiar with Sandra’s work, I was not at all surprised to hear these sentiments.  She offers this same level of service to each person she encounters.

The world is better because of the faithful, effective service of Sandra Wilson.

Monday Mission, October 1, 2018

I was lapsing into sleep on a flight this past Saturday from Heathrow to Atlanta when I heard a person behind me say, “She’s narrowed her choices to two universities.”

The next thing I heard was that “Samford University in Birmingham” was one of the two.  I pulled a business card from my pocket and turned around to hand the card to the mother of a prospective student, as the mom was making casual conversation with a flight attendant.  We exchanged the customary “small world” banter, then I tried to explain that I wasn’t really eavesdropping on their conversation (which I suppose isn’t entirely truthful). 

When the plane landed, we finished our chat.  In response to my question about why her daughter is drawn to Samford, she said that every encounter with Samford had felt very personal—and that it was clear that Samford is a place that values individual students.   

The world is better because of the goodness of so many people associated with Samford.  (By the way, I checked the definition of “goodness” just now:  “the quality of being good, in particular.”  It fits.)

Monday Mission, September 17, 2018

The past weekend is still unfocused for me, given the thousands of people who visited the campus for Family Weekend and the hundreds of conversations—some brief and some extended—that I had with so many parents and other friends.

As I was recollecting my memories this morning, one image stood out from the others.  It was a brief, simple exchange with two of our faculty members—Greg Kawell and Chuck Stokes—as I met them at about 1 pm on Saturday in the University Center construction site.  They had each finished their morning sessions with prospective students and families and they were carrying the boxed displays from their departments, but they couldn’t resist taking some extra time to examine the emerging details of progress within the UC.  We stopped for a few seconds for quick laughs, then we parted company.  As I walked away, I smiled as I thought of Chuck and Greg and the ways in which our faculty and staff live out the mission, vision and values expressed below. 

The world is better because of Greg Kawell, Chuck Stokes and more than 1,100 other dedicated faculty and staff members at Samford.

Monday Mission, September 10, 2018

Congratulations to our friends in the Brock School of Business upon the news that Samford students had the highest CPA exam scores and passing rate of any university in Alabama during the 2017 testing period.

Competent, caring, demanding faculty members, working with bright, persistent students: a good formula for success in every discipline. 

The world is better because of Samford’s approach to the development of intellect, creativity, faith, and personhood.

Monday Mission, September 3, 2018

This morning I’m remembering lunch with Steve Donaldson, Professor of Math and Computer Science and co-founder of our Center for Science and Religion, two summers ago.

The setting is a small restaurant in Oxford, England.  Steve and his family have been there for several weeks for a seminar on science and religion, sponsored by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, but I’ve just arrived for the concluding days of the conference.  As he recounted his conversations with bright faculty and authors from other universities around the world, I remember one detail.  His eyes.  They literally danced as he spoke of his own intellectual, spiritual development.  He was completely, utterly engaged in a fusion of the life of the mind and the life of the spirit.  I’m treasuring that memory as I think of him this morning.

I recall imagery that Steve employed in a book that he authored a couple of years ago on the examination of science and faith.  He wrote of “cairns,” piles of rock left behind by hikers and mountain climbers to mark a route for those who follow behind.  Aren’t we grateful for the cairns that Steve left for us?

In his passing yesterday, we lost a stalwart friend, a gifted faculty member, a dreamer, a realist, and a committed follower of Christ.  Some within our Samford family lost a husband, father, son, brother.  To Carol, his wife, their five children, to Dr. and Mrs. Frank Donaldson, his mother and father, and to Steve’s extended family, we offer our love and prayers today and for the days ahead. 

The world is better because of Steve Donaldson.

 

Monday Mission, August 27, 2018

Today marks the “official” beginning of fall term classes at Samford.

Throughout the past week, filled as it was with meetings, preparation, and the arrival and return of students, I’ve never seen a better spirit of camaraderie at Samford.  (Which is NOT to imply that we didn’t have our moments of tension!)  Hundreds of people came together last week to renew their individual and corporate commitment to providing an environment of hospitality, from which will spring, beginning this morning, a season of teaching and learning.  I wish that my powers of communication were adequate to express the depth of my thanks to each person who has contributed to the successful beginning of this new year.  Perhaps this brief video will provide a glimpse of the gratitude of our students and their families for all that you have done: https://youtu.be/r352zQOcepw.  One young lady, her thoughts captured in the video, said it best:  “I’m over the moon.”       

The world is better because hospitality abounds at Samford, preparing the way for extraordinary teaching and learning.

 

Monday Mission, August 20, 2018

More than 220 students—Resident Assistants, Orientation Leaders and Connections Leaders—invaded the president’s home last night, taking a breather in their planning for the arrival of new and returning undergrads.

They consumed vast amounts of food, took selfies and created new hashtags (#LookinDandyWithAndy).  (Which, curiously, does not include a photo with Andy, which is dandy with me.)  The collective volume of their conversations was deafening and their enthusiasm was palpable—and their presence was a great reminder to a tired president (and his wife) that there are no happier moments on a university campus than during the beginning of a new academic year.  They’re back . . . and aren’t we glad?   

The world is better because of the bright promise of a new year at Samford.

Monday Mission, August 13, 2018

A story about family memories, a great faculty member, and a thoughtful student . . .

Dr. Amy Broeseker is a beloved faculty member in our McWhorter School of Pharmacy.  This past Saturday she drove to campus, stopping by the recycling bin in Beeson Woods to drop off a few items left over after clearing out the home her parents had occupied in Florida since 1957.  As she placed the material in the bin, she noticed that one of the boxes still had her mother’s handwriting, so she got out her phone to take a photograph of the box.  I imagine that Amy then took a few minutes to wipe away tears.  She returned to her car, did a few additional errands and drove home—to discover that her cell phone was missing.  She searched, to no avail.  Then she called her number from her land line (yes, Amy apparently still has a land line) to see if she could hear the ring in her house.  No success.  She was about to hang up when someone said, “Hello.”

The person who answered Amy’s phone is Jaleel Laguins, a Samford student.  As turns out, Jaleel was driving through the Beeson Woods parking lot with his father on Saturday, shortly after Amy’s visit.  He noticed the cell phone lying near the recycling bin, stopped, picked it up, and had the presence of mind to think that the owner might call the phone, seeking to retrieve it.  Jaleel was correct, although he may have been surprised that Amy called so quickly.  Fifteen minutes later, Amy met Jaleel on campus and her phone, packed with photos of her family and other important information, was thoughtfully returned to her.  Jaleel was gracious and respectful.

Returning home, Amy wondered about this young man, Jaleel Laguins, so she googled his name.  To her surprise, she learned that he is new to Samford, transferring from the University of Georgia.  When he was recruited as a senior in high school, he was rated among the top 10 inside linebackers in the nation.  Amy even tracked down this story:  https://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/05/25/sanford-to-samford-ex-georgia-lb-jaleel-laguins-heads-to-fcs/.         

Amy has this to say to Coach Chris Hatcher:  “Coach Hatcher, your team has not yet played a game this season and I know that Samford is slated to win the SoCon this year.  I certainly wish you and your team all the best.  However, even if you don’t win a game this year, you will have had a winning season in my book if your players have the character of Jaleel Laguins.” 

The world is better because of Jaleel Laguins, a young man who is switching bulldogs, but maintaining his character.  The world is also better for a wonderful, understandably absent-minded faculty member named Amy Broeseker.

Monday Mission, August 6, 2018

Please take a moment to scroll two inches down this page to read Samford’s mission statement, then click on the link below to watch a news story regarding the opening of the Chattanooga Preparatory School for boys.

Sixty-seven sixth graders enrolled last week.  The story leaves out the fact that the school is the brainchild of two Samford alums, Ted and Kelly Alling, and that the purpose of the school is to help break the cycle of poverty among families in the Chattanooga area.  In an interview that was published as the school was envisioned, Kelly said, “We want to take care of the whole person.”  Ted and Kelly are living out the full extent of the Samford mission.   

Here's the video, and you can click “not now” when the Facebook box appears:  https://www.facebook.com/204811986340015/videos/1103527253135146/

The world is better because of Ted and Kelly Alling.

Our Mission

The mission of Samford University is to nurture persons in their development of intellect, creativity, faith, and personhood.  As a Christian university, the community fosters academic, career, and ethical competency while encouraging social and civic responsibility, and service to others.

Monday Mission, July 30, 2018

We sometimes take for granted the high level of scholarship performed by members of our faculty.

Dr. Dennis Sansom, chair of the Department of Philosophy in our Howard College of Arts and Sciences, presented a paper earlier this month at the annual meeting of the Baptist World Alliance in Zurich.  He provided me a copy of his paper, which I found to be remarkably well developed.  The topic was fascinating:  “Blessed Are Those That Mourn:  Evangelism Through and In the Compassionate Community.”  In a meeting last week, we discussed the closing section of his paper, in which he examines the hypothetical impact that could be felt throughout the world if the members of the Body of Christ truly practiced the compassion found within this beatitude. 

The world is better because of the scholarship—and the soul—of Dennis Sansom.

Monday Mission, July 23, 2018

For each of the past nine summers, Michael Wilson, Director of our Center for Congregational Resources, has worked with friends through the Ministering to Ministers Foundation to host a retreat for ministers and their families who have lived through forced termination.

For those among us who grew up in the homes of ministers, we are familiar with the stress that comes when things aren’t going well in the congregation served by parents, so I have a particular appreciation for this program.  This morning I opened a card from a husband and wife who participated in the Samford retreat, expressing thanks for the support they received during their visit.  “It gave us time, space, and a community to allow God’s healing to take place,” they said.   

The world is better because of the quiet work accomplished through Michael Wilson and his colleagues.

Monday Mission, July 16, 2018

Philip Poole, recently retired as Samford’s Executive Director of University Communications, has written and edited a few thousand news releases, making known the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Turning the tables on Philip, he was featured in a release last week from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), announcing his selection as one of 11 new inductees of the College of Fellows, an organization comprised of approximately 350 public relations professionals from across the United States.  The PRSA characterizes the selection as “the pinnacle of a professional’s career.”  Philip has earned this recognition and we are proud of him and grateful for his service.  Despite his new membership in the prestigious College of Fellows, I think Philip might say that the pinnacle of his career has actually been found through the investment of his life in the lives of others.  Our very best wishes to Philip and Shellyn.   

The world is better because of the faithful service of Philip Poole.

Monday Mission, June 25, 2018

You’re probably heard that our A Cappella Choir received top honors at the Laurea Mundi Budapest Choral Competition last month, winning first place in the categories of mixed choirs, musica sacra and folk-pop-spirituals.

While in Europe, gathered 130 below the surface of the earth in a salt mine in Poland, they gave an impromptu performance.  The lyrics:  “I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.  I believe in love, even when I feel it not.  I believe in God, even when He is silent.”  Watch and listen to the performance here:  https://www.facebook.com/SamfordUniversity/posts/10155202914376012

The world is better because Samford people understand that now we know in part, but then we shall know, even as we are known.  Thanks to the members of the A Cappella Choir for touching our hearts.

Monday Mission, June 18, 2018

Last week one of our new undergrads was attending Bulldog Days on campus when, headed toward her registration session, she tumbled on the sidewalk, injuring her knee.

As demonstrated in this social media post from her mom, Samford faculty and staff quickly stepped in: 

Her advisor took over her registration, the campus police took her to the health center, and somehow her orientation leader found out and called my husband.  We weren’t at the health center for more than a couple of minutes before the director of orientation and her orientation leader both came to check on her.  Her advisor made sure she got all the classes she wanted and called to check on her on our drive home.  Who wouldn’t feel good about sending their student to a school like this?!  And she is going to be fine.  Banged up, bloody and bruised knee, but it will heal.

As this posting was forwarded to me last week, I realized that this mom was giving credit for the things that Samford people do on a routine basis.  I’m honored to work with so many members of our faculty and staff who do and say the right things with such consistency.

The world is better because of the ordinary, extraordinary efforts of Samford people.

Monday Mission, June 11, 2018

As larger numbers of Baby Boomers contemplate where they’ll spend their remaining years, they’re looking for answers.

Last week I received a kind letter from the editor of Where to Retire magazine, a publication devoted to—what else?—assisting people in knowing some of their options for places to retire.  The editor praised the work of our own Don Bradley, Associate Dean of the Howard College of Arts and Sciences, for producing four articles for the magazine, based on careful research of United States census data.  The articles examined the fascinating topic of retirement migration, an issue with major implications for cities and states across the country.

By the way, after reading Don’s articles, I’ve decided to retire in Birmingham, Alabama.  Looks like a great place to live.

The world is better because of the engagement of members of the Samford faculty with important issues of the day.

Monday Mission, May 14, 2018

Stephan Scott, PharmD, Class of 2018, arrived at Samford several years ago as an undergraduate, and I knew him from day one.
He excelled in his classes, participated in campus life and gave tours for the admissions office.  I would frequently interrupt his tours to chat with Stephan and the families alongside him.  Fast forward:  Stephan was fully accepted into the McWhorter School of Pharmacy and—no surprise—he did well in that program, too.  He was elected class president, again, no surprise.  On the evening before the commencement ceremony for his class, Stephan spoke to his colleagues and the assembled faculty of the pharmacy school.  This is what he said:
 
As many of you know I have a unique perspective on the concept of family.  At the age of 11, the pastor of my local church and his wife, CB and Karen Scott, became my parents when they adopted me into their family.  At the age of 12, I was adopted into the family of God by his Grace.  And in 2014, all of us were adopted into this pharmacy family, and into the Samford family.  My dad has always told me, ‘Family is everything. Everyone else is just a friend or an enemy.’  I truly believe this applies to this group as much as it could to any other.  We have all been given a wonderful gift, which we should cherish.  We have been given the gift of this community of support, encouragement and love as we pursued our degree.  We have developed many different relationships, and we have each found the groups to which we gravitate.  However, I believe we have achieved a fellowship unique to our class.  Whether that fellowship was found in late night, coffee fueled study sessions, or through singing happy birthday to one another in our special way.  As we enter into a world where most everyone is either a friend or an enemy, I want you all to reflect back to this time we’ve had together.  The time when we were all in this together.  The time when we would help one another selflessly, and support each other through good days and the tough days. Use this reflection to impact the setting in which you practice, and recreate this environment as much as you can. 
 
To Stephan’s comments, I would add, simply, in one way or another, we’ve all been adopted into a family.  I’m still grateful that Samford adopted me.  Perhaps you are grateful that Samford adopted you, too.
 
The world is better because of Stephan Scott and all of our 2018 graduates.

Monday Mission, April 30, 2018

If you attended one of the performances of “Children of Eden,” produced by our School of the Arts last week, you witnessed the incredible talent of our students and the influence of our faculty as they brought this complex production to the stage of the Wright Center.

 Jeanna and I assisted Joe and Suzanne Hopkins in welcoming guests for the performances.  One of the guests, unaware that our students were the performers, asked during intermission if the cast was a touring company.  “No, this is a student production,” I said, with a smile.   

The world is better because of the students, faculty and staff in Samford’s School of the Arts.

Monday Mission, April 16, 2018

“Samford Gives Back” is a service project sponsored by our Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, involving hundreds of our students.

The event occurred on Saturday.  Here is a story shared by Philip Poole, our Executive Director of University Communication:

One of the Samford Gives Back Day projects that I covered this morning involved 14 members of Delta Omicron at Galleria Woods nursing facility in Hoover. I wanted to share this with you because it’s one of the best SGB Day things I’ve covered in my years here at Samford. I’ll also admit that it was especially emotional for me because it brought back memories of my own mother in her final months.  I arrived later than anticipated and missed the first 30 minutes or so of the students going down halls and from room-to-room singing and playing instruments, taking requests from individual residents. Rebekah Sexton, the program coordinator working with the students today, got so emotional trying to tell me about one incident that happened before my arrival. One of the students stopped in one room to play her violin for an Alzheimer’s resident who apparently is nonresponsive. As the student was playing, the resident starting mimicking her fingerings and tears were running down her cheeks. She was a former violinist! Rebekah said it a moving experience for everyone, especially since many of the residents in skilled care respond better to music than any other stimulus the staff can provide.  The students were kind, gentle, patient, loving, caring, sweet, friendly  -- everything you would hope and expect from Samford students. Ms. Sexton could not say enough positive things about our students and their willingness to do what they did. The responses from the students were equally inspiring and compelling and made me proud of all of them.

The world is better because a structured day of service at Samford last Saturday became a time of genuine, human connection.