Published on April 17, 2014 by Mary Wimberley  
Bob Barnett

Bob Barnett, a senior computer science major from Vestavia Hills, Ala., is Samford University's 2014 Student Employee of the Year.

Barnett, who works in the reference department of the Samford library, was recognized at a special ceremony Thursday, April 17. He received a $200 cash award and other gifts presented by Samford president Andrew Westmoreland.

As a reference student assistant since 2011, Barnett helps staff the reference desk, shelves books, processes government documents and items for interlibrary loan and delivery, does data entry, pulls books and photocopies materials.

The honoree "does what he says he will do, often going above and beyond his regular tasks," agree his nominators, Samford reference department librarian Stephanie Rollins and interlibrary loan specialist Gail P. Barton, adding that he is a tremendous "team player" and strong leader who is professional and pleasant.

Barnett was cited for exhibiting a rare combination of dedication, caring, speed and accuracy that has enabled him to produce a very high volume of work while maintaining a heavy student course load and high standards for quality.

"He is a spectacular mentor with newly hired students, giving them tips about what to watch for or little things to do in order for tasks to go more smoothly," Rollins noted.  "Completing tasks in a matter that surpasses expectations regularly, he tackles repetitive or mundane task with gusto, believing that a job well done is the best reward."

Barnett, son of Sharon and Scott Barnett, is a graduate of Shades Mountain Christian School.  He will now compete for regional and possibly national honors in a program sponsored by the National Student Employment Association.

Finalists for the Samford honor were Sarah Fort, Tanner Hixson, Charita Lewis, Sam Rogers, Thomas Whatley and Sarah Zadick.

Westmoreland congratulated all of the nominees and thanked the staff members who nominated them.

He noted that he learned much from his own experience as a student worker at his undergraduate alma mater, a factor that may have led to his choice of college administration as a career. He encouraged the students to learn as much as possible while on the job.

"There is a familiar saying that 'a whole is the sum of its parts,'" Westmoreland said.  "One thing you should learn from your student work experience is how to be a good part. That way, the whole gets better."

The annual Samford student employee recognition is in celebration of National Student Employee week.

More than 900 Samford student employees have served in a variety of ways during the 2013-14 academic year, according to Samford assistant director of payroll Janet Goodwin.  

"These students work in many areas on campus and off-campus at non-profit agencies through the Federal Work Study/Community Work Service program," Goodwin said.


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.