Posted by William Nunnelley on 2006-12-18

Samford University department chair Chuck Sands urged Samford graduates to remember the importance of relationships and relating to other people as they complete their university experience and head off into life.

"Right relationships are the key to life," Dr. Sands said at fall commencement Saturday, Dec. 16. "It begins with focusing on others and not on self."

The head of Samford's exercise science and sports medicine department, Sands addressed an audience of more than 2,200 in Wright Center at Samford. Some 314 seniors received degrees.

"My sense is that in many respects we have lost, or we are losing, the ability and the art of relating to each other," he said. "I don't think we are lacking in our attempts to communicate information, but I wonder about the impact of technology on our ability to relate."

He cited the growth of cell phone users and email messages in the past five years as evidence that "we are transmitting data and information at a record pace."

Technology provides many advantages, he said, but asked his audience to recognize that "one potential negative of this increase in technology is a reduction in the development of relationships." One result of this, he said, is the "social isolation" described by author Robert Putnam in a New York Times article Friday, Dec. 15.

Sands quoted William J. Bennett, former secretary of education, as saying Americans have lost their ability and desire to serve others. "Rarely do I see people working together for the common good," said Sands. He urged his audience to work at serving others through their relationships.

Sands received Samford's annual John H. Buchanan Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching at the start of the 2006 fall term. With his remarks, Samford began a tradition of having each year's Buchanan winner speak at fall commencement.

As part of Commencement Weekend, Samford held its pinning ceremony for graduates of Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing Friday. Also on Saturday, Samford held hooding ceremonies for School of Business master's degree recipients and a commissioning ceremony for Air Force ROTC graduates.

About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.