Samford University’s College of Health Sciences held its spring commencement ceremony for its graduate programs, May 4, presenting second-degree bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees to 356 graduates from the college’s four schools: School of Health Professions, Ida Moffett School of Nursing, McWhorter School of Pharmacy and School of Public Health.
The ceremony marked the first degrees awarded for Samford’s Master of Athletic Training, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Science in respiratory care from the School of Health Professions and Master of Science in health informatics from the School of Public Health.
Four students representing each school served as the commencement speakers. They were each asked to share on the topic of calling as it relates to their personal and professional lives.
“Every one of us is sitting here because we have felt a call, a pull, a desire to work in health care—to connect with the hurting, the sick and the broken,” said Stephan Scott, a Doctor of Pharmacy graduate from McWhorter School of Pharmacy. “My hope would be that we never stray too far from remembering that calling.”
Christian Watts, a Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate from the School of Health Professions, shared words of encouragement with her peers, reminding them that by earning their degrees, they are qualified and equipped to go out and make a difference in the world.
But first, “Always remember the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is the gathering of facts and data; wisdom is the practical application of this knowledge,” Watts said.
The ceremony took place in Samford’s Hanna Center, filled to capacity with family and friends in attendance, which each speaker sincerely thanked.
Anette Scott, a graduate from the School of Public Health earned her Master of Social Work while working full-time and caring for her husband and two daughters. “Though it has not been an easy journey, it has been one worth the travel. Social work requires you to have the ability to look past the critical and hurtful judgments that you receive from the very people you are trying to help, in order to help them achieve a better quality of life.”
Many of these graduate earned their terminal degree, like Anna Aultman, a Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate from Ida Moffett School of Nursing. She said she always knew she wanted to be a nurse, feeling called to share the love of Christ through caring for others. But it was during her time on a trauma surgical intensive care unit that she knew she was called for more.
“It was there that I realized my true passion for sharing the art of caring through nursing, as I taught nursing students when they rotated through the unit. Even though I always wanted to have my hand at the bedside in some way, I knew teaching was where my heart was. Now, at the pinnacle of my educational journey, I have earned my Doctor of Nursing Practice in Administration degree with an additional concentration in education, which allows me to not only fulfill my strong desire to teach, but also to lead,” she said.
As graduates look toward the future, Scott challenged his peers to not forget where it all began.
“The calling we have heard, felt and responded to is not finished today as we walk across stage, but instead takes on a new form after graduation. Faithfulness to our calling up until this point has been a dedication to building a foundation of knowledge. While we should never stop learning and growing—moving forward—it is the execution of translating and utilizing that knowledge with compassion and kindness to meet the basic needs of those we serve,” he said.
The ceremony was one of seven Samford is hosting this spring.
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