Published on June 25, 2012 by William Nunnelley  

MARION, Ala.---Judson College awarded an honorary doctorate to longtime Samford University supporter Elouise Wilkins Williams and presented the national Algernon Sydney Sullivan Non-Student Award to Samford University President Andrew Westmoreland during commencement Saturday, June 23.

Williams served as president of the Samford University Auxiliary--now the Legacy League--for many years, leading the organization in funding scholarships for Samford students. She attended Judson before earning degrees from the University of Alabama and Columbia University.

Dr. Westmoreland, who delivered Judson's commencement address, was honored for his involvement in Samford's outreach in Perry County, where Judson is located, and his leadership in encouraging more Alabama Baptist convention funds go to Judson and the University of Mobile.

Judson President David Potts presented both awards.

"You must see, feel and reach a world crying out for help," Westmoreland told the graduates. "The world can be across the globe, or it can be next door. This class has done a good job in reaching out to others."

The point was one of three ideas he left with the graduates that he said were simple to remember "but important enough to build a joyous life."

"First," he said, "you must look up to Christ."  He reminded them that they have the advantage of a Christ-centered education which, he said, was endangered in a secular world.

"You've been taught to honor God," he said. "This is primary in life."

He also asked them to "look down," noting that the students must "stay grounded" and never forget who they are.

At the outset of his remarks, Westmoreland laughingly called himself a "bona fide commencement professional" since he had participated in some 85 commencement ceremonies, noting that most of the addresses he had heard or delivered himself had been unremarkable.

He closed by saying, "Class of 2012, I applaud your intellect, your hands and your heart."


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.