The annual J. Roderick Davis Lecture is Samford University's premier public arts and sciences event. Each year's topic connects with important issues, current events, and historical milestones that reflect Samford's commitment to a broad liberal arts education.
The lecture series honors J. Roderick Davis, a 1958 Howard College alumnus and later the dean of Samford's Howard College of Arts and Sciences. When Davis retired from his office in 2001, his colleagues honored him by establishing a lecture series in his name that would bring to campus recognized scholars and public intellectuals.
- 2019 - Roosevelt Montás, Liberal Education and Human Freedom
- 2018 - Rosalind Picard, Artificial Intelligence, Emotion and Humanity
- 2017 - Dan Fagin, Pollution and the Crisis in Journalism
- 2016 - Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy
- 2015 - Joan Breton Connelly, Memory and Values
- 2014 - Stephen Post, The Power of Compassionate Love
- 2013 - Anne McKee, Inside the Helmet: Repeated Head Trauma and Degenerative Brain Disease
- 2012 - Taylor Branch, Myth and Miracles from the King Years
- 2011 - Garret G. Fagan, The Lure of the Arena
- 2010 - Kevin Davies, The $1,000 Genome
- 2009 - Orville Vernon Burton, The Age of Lincoln
- 2008 - Eugene Robinson, Election: The Highest Stakes
- 2007 - Walter Isaacson, Einstein’s Creativity
- 2006 - Juan Hernandez, The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?
- 2005 - Fawaz A. Gerges, The Far Enemy: How and Why Jihad Went Global
- 2004 - Jean Bethke Elshtain, Democracy and Human Dignity
- 2003 - Andrew von Eschenbach
- 2002 - Susan Eisenhower