Posted by Philip Poole on 2014-01-27

Kevin Blackwell of Birmingham has been named assistant to the president for church relations at Samford University. The new position will centralize activities and programs that had been assigned to several offices.blackwell

Blackwell will be coordinating the 27 Samford Extension Center sites around the state. First established in 1947, these centers provide local theological and practical ministry training opportunities for church leaders. Blackwell said one of his goals is to expand the extension centers to areas where theological training is not currently accessible.

He will serve as a liaison for the university with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and its member churches. This will include speaking in churches and coordinating the university's involvement with Baptist associations in the state. He also will work to strengthen the university's relationships with non-Baptist groups and churches that have students attending Samford.

"I want to maintain, nurture and strengthen the collaborative efforts between Samford and the thousands of churches around us," Blackwell said. "The commitment between Samford and [Alabama Baptists] is stronger than ever."

Blackwell is a 1997 Samford graduate with a bachelor's degree in biblical studies. He later earned the master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

"We are pleased to have Kevin Blackwell, a Samford graduate and a respected Alabama Baptist pastor, to help the university continue to strengthen its relationships with our Alabama Baptist churches and friends," said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland. "His experience as a pastor and in denominational leadership will serve the university well and help our students as they prepare for similar roles in their futures."

Most recently he had been pastor of Valley Creek Baptist Church in Hueytown, Ala., since 2005. He is president of the Alabama Baptist pastors conference. In 2011 he received the Alabama convention's Troy L. Morrison Award for Pastoral leadership.

Blackwell and his wife, Lorrie, have four children and live in suburban McCalla.


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.