Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2008-05-17

Samford University graduating seniors were urged to live by the five virtues that the Apostle Paul used to describe Jesus' way of life during baccalaureate service Friday, May 16.

Dr. Fisher Humphreys based his remarks on Colossians 3:12 in which Paul advises to "clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

"In this verse it is clear that Christianity is both a supernatural religion and a practical religion," said Humphreys, noting that Christianity is about a transcendent God "who has created us and who has called us together to be the people of God," and is also about a way of life that God "calls us to live in the world."

"We are to live the way of life that Jesus lived and taught," said Humphreys, who retires this year after 40 years in religious education, the last 18 on the faculty of Samford's Beeson Divinity School.

"Wouldn't you like to have a friend who is compassionate when you suffer, who is kind when you make mistakes, who has respect for you and for the Lord, who never attempts to control you, and who never becomes impatient with you or gives up on your relationship?" asked Humphreys.

"That is, of course, a description of Jesus. And that is the kind of person each of us is called by God to become," he said.

The invocation was offered by Daniel Aragon, whose daughter, Jill Aragon, is in the graduating class. Rev. Aragon, a former Sandinista soldier who became a Christian 11 years ago, is now pastor of a Baptist church in Cedro Galan, Nicaragua, and director of Christian schools in that country. Jill provided translation for his invocation, prayed in his native Spanish.

The Baccalaureate service was held in Wright Center Concert Hall for all graduating seniors and their families. The event followed a day of commencement ceremonies for graduates of McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Brock School of Business and Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, and an afternoon reception hosted by President Andrew Westmoreland.

Commencement ceremonies for graduates in other Samford academic units are scheduled for Saturday.

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.