Published on May 6, 2015 by Sean Flynt  
Nathan Smolin

Senior Samford University classics major and University Fellows honors student Nathan Smolin has been named a Fellow in the Eighth Cohort of the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program. He is one of only ten students chosen from graduates of the 97 Lilly Fellows Program Network Schools.

The prestigious program supports three years of graduate education for exceptionally well-qualified young graduates of LFP Network Schools who seek to become teacher-scholars at church-related colleges and universities in the United States.

Smolin and the rest of the 2015-2018 Lilly Graduate Fellows will enter graduate school in fall 2015. They, along with two mentors who are senior scholars, will communicate and collaborate with each other in areas of research, teaching and professional development.

Smolin will pursue a Ph.D. in classics at the University of North Carolina, with a particular focus on the intersection between early Christian and Roman ideas of religion, philosophy and culture. He hopes, ultimately, to be a professor.

“There is so much depth and richness in the historical Christian intellectual tradition, much of which is unfortunately unknown to both non-Christians and Christians in our day, and I hope to continue to plumb those depths, apply them, and make them known throughout my career,” Smolin said. “From the time I first heard about it, I thought that the Lilly Fellows Program was a good fit with my interests and goals.”

Smolin also praised the ways Samford’s Classics Department prepared him to meet those goals. “I'm one of the people who are of the opinion that a university can hardly call itself a university if it doesn't have a classics department--and this is doubly so for liberal arts schools,” he said. “Classical knowledge is the foundation of everything we do, and has enormous relevance in all times.” Smolin said Samford’s department carries that tradition “in a superb way.” “The professors in the department are all excellent scholars committed to helping their students learn and develop as people, and I've been privileged to get to know them and learn from them over the years.”

Smolin is the second Samford University graduate to be chosen for the Lilly Fellows program. Current music faculty member Joel Scott Davis was part of the program's second cohort.

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About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.