Published on April 26, 2024 at 5 p.m. by Kameron Brown and Sofia Paglioni  
Smith Shipt Landing
On Friday, April 26, in the Pete Hanna Center, Samford University’s Brock School of Business and Orlean Beeson School of Education recognized 299 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. Anna McEwan, dean of Orlean Beeson School of Education, and Anna-Leigh Stone, associate professor in Brock School of Business, provided the opening invocation and scripture reading, respectively. Bill Smith, founder of Shipt and Landing, was presented with an honorary Doctor of Commerce degree before delivering his commencement address.
“To the graduating class of 2024, let me begin with congratulations,” said Smith. “I’m so honored to be with you today, to celebrate the start of your life beyond this university.”
Smith began by discussing the virtues of compound interest, and how graduating seniors’ investments now, in business, relationships and education, will reap positive returns long after they have graduated.
While emphasizing the impact of compound interest, Smith also pledged a $100,000 donation to Samford University. His generous contribution will enhance the educational landscape of Samford.

During the ceremony, three university awards were presented. Maria Luna Mora Velásquez, a Brock Scholar, was awarded the Velma Wright Irons Award which is presented to the graduating senior with the second-highest cumulative grade point average across campus.
Micaiah Collins, an English and secondary education major, and Anthony McNeil Honea, an economics major, 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.