Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2012-02-14


Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School has honored Daven Watkins as its 2012 Master of Divinity Alumnus of the Year. Watkins, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Pleasant Grove, Ala., was recognized during a Beeson worship service on Feb. 7.

Watkins, who received a Master of Divinity degree from Beeson in 1999, was cited for his role in shepherding his congregation following devastating losses from tornadoes in April, 2011. The community suffered much property damage and loss of life from the storm outbreak.

A graduate of Georgetown College, Watkins holds a doctor of ministry degree in preaching from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Prior to being named to the Pleasant Grove post in 2008, he was pastor of First Baptist Church in Owenton, Ky. He and his wife, Jane Ellen, have two children, Molly Grace and Nathan.

Watkins, who gave the sermon at the Feb. 7 service, was presented the alumnus award by Beeson professor Dr. Charles T. Carter.


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.