Published on April 29, 2023 by Kameron Brown  
Cartledge Commencement Vertical
Barbara Cartledge, senior assistant dean in Brock School of Business, addresses Samford's 2023 business and education graduates.
On Friday, April 28, in the Pete Hanna Center, Samford University’s Brock School of Business and Orlean Beeson School of Education recognized 270 graduates who either earned a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree during their spring commencement ceremony.
Samford President Beck A. Taylor offered welcoming remarks. Les Ennis and Jonathan Davis, professors in the School of Education, provided the opening invocation and scripture reading, respectively. Chad Carson, dean of Brock School of Business, introduced the speaker, Barbara Cartledge, M.B.A. ’94, Ed.D. ’12, senior assistant dean in Brock School of Business.
Having received two Samford degrees, Cartledge stated that she was honored and thankful to have given the commencement address for her two Samford alma mater schools, thus thankfulness became the theme of her address.
“As I prayed for the Lord’s guidance for today’s remarks, I was led to the admonition for each of us to be thankful in all circumstances and thus glorify the Lord. 2 Corinthians 4:15 states: ‘For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God’,” Cartledge said.
While addressing the graduates, Cartledge focused on three areas in which everyone should remember to be thankful. The first is the beginning of post-graduate life when one may or may not find happy employment. The second is early in a career in which many new challenges and difficulties present themselves. The third is in personal journeys through adulthood in which various issues and challenges may arise.
Cartledge continued by thanking the students, reflecting on the difficulties faced by all universities in the past four years.
“Today as I look at the graduating classes of 2023, I’m reminded of the fact that most of you were in your degree program during the outbreak of COVID. I had many of you in class as first-year business students during the spring 2020 term,” she said. “You, the student, demonstrated grace and patience as each day unfolded on Zoom. That term was challenging for you, the faculty and staff. But upon reflection, there is and was thanksgiving. That season allowed each of us to draw upon one another for support and endurance. Thank you, the students, for your patience as the faculty and staff navigated the uncharted waters of your online education delivery. The conclusion of that tumultuous term brought thankfulness.”
She then charged the graduates to offer thanksgiving to the “cheerleaders” of their lives—families, pastors, high school counselors and teachers, coworkers, friends and the Samford professors and staff.
She said, “Then, as you embark on your professional and personal post-graduation career, find people and circumstances in which to be thankful including job searches, a challenging boss or co-worker and life’s unexpected turns so that our Lord may be glorified.”
Cartledge concluded with a reading from I Thessalonians 5:16-18—Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. She said, “May I be one of the first to congratulate you with today’s achievement and thank you and the administration for the honor to share God’s encouragement!”
During the ceremony, three university awards were presented. Lauren Dumar, a Brock Scholar accounting major from Tampa, Florida, received the Velma Wright Irons Award which is presented to the graduating senior with the second-highest cumulative grade point average across all campus colleges and schools.
Bill Mouchette, an economics and finance major from Gallatin, Tennessee, and Cooper Shull, a finance major from Ringgold, Georgia, both received the John C. Pittman Spirit Award. Named for a Samford alumnus and longtime trustee, the award recognizes graduating seniors who exhibit a serious commitment to being a student and achieving academically, to honoring Christ and to personal health and involvement in student life.
The degrees were presented by Samford Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs J. Michael Hardin and conferred by President Taylor.
In the weeks and days leading up to commencement, Brock School of Business and Orlean Beeson School of Education both held awards ceremonies honoring their graduates. 
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.