Published on May 10, 2019 by Katie Stripling  

Samford University’s Board of Trustees approved new faculty, new academic programs and candidates for spring graduation at their meeting on May 7.

More than 1,200 candidates for spring graduation were approved by the trustees. Following their vote, trustees continued their long-standing tradition of praying for the students as they prepare to graduate.

Trustees also affirmed a new program in School of the Arts and a new major in Howard College of Arts and Sciences. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts will replace the current Bachelor of Science in Fine Arts. This change will provide students with a deeper and more comprehensive professional education in the visual arts. A new Biblical Studies major was also approved. This major is designed for students seeking to learn more about biblical text—its content and interpretation as well as the cultures and lands of its origin—as they prepare for a future in mission, ministry or higher education.

Program and building name changes were also approved. The Department of Religion was renamed the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies to better reflect the department’s commitment to Christian foundations and to emphasize new programs and courses within the department. The Bachelor of Arts in Worship and the Arts was changed to the Bachelor of Arts in Worship Leadership. The Dwight and Lucille Beeson Center, the former home of Samford’s Ida Moffett School of Nursing, was renamed the Dwight and Lucille Beeson Alumni Center. The Dwight and Lucille Beeson Center is currently home to the Office of University of Advancement and the Rotunda Club.

The Samford Parent Leadership Council was renamed the Samford Parent Advisory Board to better reflect their newly-defined role within the university and bring their name in line with other similar groups on campus. The group exists to connect and strengthen the relationship between the university and parents and family members of undergraduate students; encouraging relationships among the Samford family; positively representing the university to others; financially supporting the university and the Samford Parent Scholarship; and identifying and implementing an annual project to undergird the university’s strategic plan.

Two faculty members were appointed to endowed chairs, beginning in the 2019-20 academic year: Paul Wiget as the John R. Sampey, Jr. Research Professor in Chemistry and Paul Kuruk as the Lucille Stewart Beeson Chair in Law.

Trustees also approved 16 new faculty members across 12 different academic disciplines.

The awarding of a Doctor of Divinity honoris causa to Ernest Dewey Walker was approved. Since attending Howard College in 1946, Walker has spent his life as a faithful minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ordained in the Baptist church, he has served as a pastor, mission volunteer and Bible teacher and has inspired and mentored hundreds and men and women to lead lives of productive and meaningful Christian service. 

In a series of reports by university administrators, trustees heard updates on student recruitment, athletics, advancement, marketing, and progress on the campus master plan. The advancement report noted that as of April 26, 2019 more than $162.9 million has been given or pledged to the $300 million Forever Samford campaign. As of March 31, 2019, the university’s endowment was valued at $292.2 million.
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.