Published on July 8, 2020 at 9 p.m. by Katie Stripling  

The Executive Committee of Samford University’s Board of Trustees approved new faculty, a new academic program and candidates for summer graduation during their telephone meeting on June 23.

Sixty-three candidates for summer graduation were approved by the trustees. Following their vote, they continued their long-standing tradition of praying for the students as they prepare to graduate.

Trustees also approved a new academic program, a Bachelor of Science in Game Design and 3D Animation. In this technology-rich major, students will learn character-focused 3D animation storytelling, live-rendering game engine programming, 3D modeling, programming and other digital 3D technical specialty skills. The program is a collaboration between the Division of Art and Design in Samford’s School of the Arts and the Math and Computer Science Department in Howard College of Arts and Sciences.

Six new faculty members in Howard College of Arts and Sciences and Brock School of Business were approved. Human Development and Family Life Education Professor Clara Gerhardt’s appointment as Distinguished Professor in Orlean Beeson School of Education was also approved. Gerhardt, who is a licensed clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and certified family life educator, has previously served as department chair as well as two terms as chair of the State Board of Examiners in Psychology.

The university’s operating budget for fiscal year 2021 was reviewed and accepted. An update on the university’s Forever Samford campaign reported receipt of cash, property and pledges exceeding $186 million, representing nearly 62% of the $300 million campaign goal. Trustees received reports on the university’s response to COVID-19, budget planning, enrollment, advancement, and marketing. 
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.