Dear Samford Students, Faculty and Staff,

By now you have read the message from Dr. Westmoreland regarding his plans for retirement next summer.  While we wish that Dr. Westmoreland would continue to serve as our president for many years to come, I am grateful that he will be with us to give calm and careful attention to Samford throughout this entire year.  Our board members trust him to remain fully in charge of all aspects of Samford right up until the end of his tenure.  The early notice of his plans will enable us to organize a search for his successor so that a new president can be in place next summer.  On behalf of the members of our Board of Trustees, I want to thank Andy and Jeanna for their long service to Samford and for their love for this institution.  It is not time to say goodbye to them yet, but we will certainly find the ways next spring to express our appreciation to them and to celebrate their retirement.  We are also glad that Dr. Westmoreland will continue his association with the Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, even in retirement.

Very soon, we will move forward with organizing the search process to recruit and hire Samford’s nineteenth president.  It will begin, of course, with the appointment of a search committee.  I have already asked Mr. Tim Vines and Mrs. Beth Stukes to serve as co-chairs of the committee.  Mr. Vines and Mrs. Stukes served most recently as chair and vice chair of the Board of Trustees, so they are well aware of Samford’s people, programs and policies.  I anticipate that we will have representatives from Samford’s many constituent groups, including faculty, staff, students and alumni.  While previous presidential search committees at Samford have not included students, I believe it will add great strength to the process to include these important voices.  I will be in touch with students and employees periodically regarding the details of the process.  Through individual meetings and surveys, we will seek input from everyone as we begin our search.

Samford’s position within the world of higher education is stronger than ever.  I am confident that God will guide us to the right person.  I also believe that the transition from Dr. Westmoreland to the next president will be among the smoothest in our history. 

I know that you will join me in praying for Andy and Jeanna, for our Board of Trustees and for the entire process of naming a new president.  As Dr. Westmoreland has said so often, we sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.  It is time for us to sit in the shade of one presidency and plant a tree for another. 

I will write to you regularly with updates.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Bill Stevens
Chair, Samford University Board of Trustees