Published on October 9, 2019 by Morgan Black  

Families and faculty members gathered in Samford University’s Pete Hanna Center on Oct. 4 as 165 students were officially inducted into Brock School of Business during the ninth annual Rite of Passage ceremony.

Rite of Passage recognizes students entering their junior year who are formally admitted into their Brock School of Business major. The event symbolizes great achievements in their first two years and imparts what is expected as they prepare for their professional careers.

The event, held during Samford’s Family Weekend, welcomed three speakers who spoke to the business school’s past, present and future. 

Kim Lee ’02, founder and chief executive officer of Forge, a coworking space in downtown Birmingham, provided the keynote address.

Lee focused on the past and what she learned from her Brock School of Business experience. She recognized a former accounting professor she had, Sharon Jackson, and how she inspired Lee and her fellow students to be good leaders, good businessmen and women, good mentors, good colleagues, good friends, and even good spouses.

“As she taught basic accounting principles, she shared her life with us—the good and the really hard,” Lee noted. “She invited us to do the same.”

Before closing, Lee challenged the students to approach their course of study through an “other-centered lens.”

“What I learned from Mrs. Jackson is the lifetime impact you can have when you conduct your business and your life in a way that seeks out the flourishment of others,” Lee said. “Just imagine the impact of an organization when all of the employees feel valued and empowered compared to an organization where the employees are left wondering if they are working hard enough to make the cut.” 

Lee added, “As you enter into your studies, watch your professors. Watch how they interact with others and their students. Don’t go to class just for a grade, although that’s very important, go as an investment in yourself and in others. Brock School of Business is not just training you to go into the workforce, your professors are training you to be leaders that seek out the good of others.”

Senior Hank Winch, an accounting and finance major from Atlanta, then addressed his peers, focusing on the present. 

He shared two pieces of advice to the juniors as they enter into their major courses: to trust that they are in the right place, and to be very intentional about getting to know their classmates. 

“I may be biased, but I honestly think the business school is the best school on Samford’s campus,” Winch said. “I admire how the faculty do a great job of teaching us how to keep Christ-centered and how they prepare us for full-time employment upon graduation.”

“Over the next two years, you will have the opportunity to make friendships with those who are likeminded, but also with people who come from a completely different background than you,” Winch said. “The next CEO of Regions may be sitting in your financial institutions class and the next chairman of the Federal Reserve may be sitting in your econometrics class. If you’re intentional about getting to know your classmates, it’ll allow you to make friendships that you may have never expected and friendships that’ll serve you well down the road."

Interim Dean Chad Carson followed Winch by addressing the students and focusing on their future. 

“We have heard wisdom from the past, excitement from the present, but we have a future that remains unclear,” Carson began. “I want to tell you, as full members of Brock School of Business, you have a bright future.”

“Your future is bright because of the investment that your families and loved ones have made in you,” he said. “And your future is bright because of the faculty and staff—these dedicated educators not only want to equip you with knowledge, skills and abilities for the marketplace, they want to guide and mentor you as you start and grow your careers when you leave Samford.”

Carson closed by encouraging the students that their future is bright because of the promise God gives us in Jeremiah 29:11-13.

Following Carson’s address, the students processed through the formal induction ceremony by each signing the official Brock School of Business ledger and receiving a special gift from the school.

The ceremony concluded with the benediction led by Lowell S. Broom, professor of accounting.