Posted by William Nunnelley on 2003-04-28

Samford University has been selected to host the fourth annual Lilly Fellows National Research Conference in the fall of 2004. The theme of the November conference will be "Christianity and Human Rights." Scholars from around the nation will be invited to present papers. The conference will also include several prominent plenary speakers and numerous scholarly panels. Lilly has awarded Samford a grant of $83,500 to host the conference.

The University of Notre Dame hosted the first Lilly National Research Conference in 2001, followed by Baylor University in 2002 and Seattle Pacific University this year. Lilly National Research Conferences foster and promote research that addresses issues of faith and learning, Christian practices of teaching, the relationship of religion and the academic disciplines, the relationship of the sacred and the secular, and other aspects of church-related higher education.

Dr. Fred Shepherd, chair of Political Science, and Dr. Chris Metress, associate professor of English, co-wrote Samford's proposal to host the conference. They will serve as co-directors.

"The conference will bring scores of academics and activists from across the country to focus on an important set of religious and political issues," said Dr. Shepherd. "Samford is delighted to have been selected as host in a highly competitive process."

About 30 scholarly papers on various aspects of the conference theme will be presented during the three-day program, in addition to plenary speakers. The Lilly Fellows Program is headquartered at Valparaiso University in Indiana.


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. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 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 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.