Posted by Philip Poole on 2012-07-30

Jody Baker, minister of education and administration at Birmingham's McElwain Baptist Church, will receive Samford University's James A. Auchmuty Congregational Leadership Fellowship for 2012. 

During the spring 2013 semester, Baker plans to pursue her interest in the ministry of health and wellness in congregational settings. She will consult with faculty in Samford's department of kinesiology and nutrition science and attend conferences in Chicago and Niagara, N.Y. 

The fellowship is named in honor of a 1957 Samford graduate and the pastor emeritus of Birmingham's Shades Crest Baptist Church. Awarded every other year, the fellowship funds sabbatical and ministerial continuing education opportunities proposed by the recipient. 

Baker is a 1980 Samford graduate and later earned a master of religious education degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She joined the McElwain church staff in 1981.

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.