Last summer, Dean Joe Hopkins asked Dr. Eric L. Mathis to assume the role of Interim Associate Dean for the Division of Music. According to Hopkins, “We could all see his success in the classroom, his leadership of the Center for Worship and the Arts, and the promise of his administrative abilities. Over the past few months, we have come to appreciate his style, clarity, and strength. In less than a year, it seems he has built community and esprit while enhancing quality and efficiency. Speaking for the administration, we are grateful for the many ways he has kept us apprised and even brought us closer to our music faculty, staff, and students. For these reasons and many more, I am pleased to report that Dr. Mathis has accepted the position of Associate Dean for the Division of Music.”
Mathis came to Samford nine years ago as an instructor while completing his doctorate. Since that time, he has become an associate professor and founded the Center for Worship and the Arts which is changing the landscape for young worship leaders.
The associate dean position is one of “leading from the middle” and providing a voice for the students and faculty in the Division of Music according to Mathis. He wants to see the Division of Music continue to grow and produce whole musicians who are committed to excellence and “can speak the language of music fluently to a twenty-first century audience no matter their location.”
“Samford is a rare and beautiful place to work,” said Mathis. “Like the rest of Samford, the Division of Music remains unapologetically Christian. My hope is that we can build on our Christian identity with important conversations characterized by depth, conviction, and humility, while modeling to the church and the world what it means to be a musician who is first and foremost a disciple of Christ.”
Mathis sees the relevance of a music degree today. “Music is deeply embedded in our society, and musicians are making the world a better place. Musicians are getting paid to make meaningful contributions as teachers, worship leaders, therapists, administrators, entrepreneurs, performers, academics, technicians, composers, and doctors in schools, houses of worship, hospitals, nursing homes, non-profit organizations, recording studios, and on and on the list goes. We are training, and we will continue to equip students to get these jobs and enter these places as capable, competent, and confident leaders in their musical abilities.”
According to Mathis, Samford has been very “fertile soil” not only for his career but also for the students who study and are enriched by this unique community.