Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2008-05-16

Financial planner Gregory R. Powell asked graduates to consider what they would do if they couldn't fail during graduation exercises for Samford University's Brock School of Business Friday, May 16.

Without a fear of failure, there would be total confidence and no anxiety to limit fulfilling dreams and goals, said Powell, citing visionaries such as Lee Iacocca, Abraham Lincoln and J.K. Rowling as ones whose vision was based on their individual talents and the value they saw in their causes and beliefs.

"They overcame anxiety, and with confidence, pursued their goals," said Powell, a 1981 Samford graduate who is president and chief executive officer of Fi-Plan Partners in Birmingham. He is chair of the Brock School of Business Advisory Board and vice president of the Samford Alumni Association.

"Today," he told the graduates, "you are receiving a piece of paper, your diploma that becomes your Declaration of Independence. It is your freedom to stand fully for your beliefs, your values. You have the knowledge that gives you confidence to overcome and confront your fears."

Calling life a constant learning experience, Powell said that education does not stop at graduation, but begins "as you take your dreams, goals and visions to a higher level to achieve more, to give back more, to share with others in your life, your community and your world."

"No one is successful or fulfilled unless they touch the lives around them and create value for all," he said.

Powell noted his respect for Harry B. Brock, Jr., for whom the business school was named last fall. Powell said that he has known the retired banker since he was Samford student government president and Brock was a Samford trustee.

Brock business dean Dr. Beck Taylor observed that during the graduates' time at Samford, the business school has seen a name change and the addition of new programs.

"Know that the Brock School of Business will hold tightly to its core values, but at the same time will change in ways to serve an ever changing world," said Taylor.

Commencement for the 121 business graduates was held in Wright Center Concert Hall.

Degrees were awarded to 83 Bachelor of Science in Business Administration candidates, eight Master of Accountancy candidates and 30 Master of Business Administration candidates.

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.