Published on August 25, 2020 by Sarah Cain  
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University President Andrew Westmoreland addressed the virtual audience at opening convocation with words of hope and confidence for the new school year.

“As we mark the opening of our 179th opening session, we recognize that this coming year will be like none we have ever faced. It will require the best from each of us,” he said. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I have confidence this year will produce a harvest of these fruits of the Holy Spirit.” 

In addition to his wishes for the new semester, Westmoreland also offered special words for the freshmen class. 

“We especially welcome today the class of 2024. Students, I hope you will make the most of your time here until you join the 55,000 alumni who have preceded you,” he said. “We are committed to giving you our very best this year as you write the next chapter of Samford’s very long story.” 

Following Westmoreland’s address, Samford Provost J. Michael Hardin presented three university awards to faculty and staff. 

Jason Wallace, Richard Stockham Jr. Chair in Western Intellectual History and director of the Core Texts Program in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences received the John L. Buchanan Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching. The recipient of this award is selected by a faculty committee through a process using nominations provided by graduating seniors from the class of 2020.  

Greg Gorman, professor and vice chair in the Department of Pharmaceutical, Social and Administrative Sciences in the McWhorter School of Pharmacy, received the Outstanding Scholarship Award, which honors full-time faculty who make a significant and sustained scholarly contribution to their discipline over their career. 

Nick Madsen, director of Campus Recreation, received the Bill Nunnelley Award, which recognizes outstanding job performance by a nonfaculty employee whose work regularly and consistently exceeds expectations and reflects a high level of service, trustworthiness and respect. 

Following the awards, Westmoreland formally announced a special recognition to former dean of Ida Moffett School of Nursing Nena Sanders, who retired in May 2020. In recognition of her tremendous contributions, Westmoreland announced the Ida Moffett School of Nursing will be renamed to honor current namesake Ida V. Moffett and Sanders. The school will now be known as Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing.

“To have my name forever linked to the Moffett School of Nursing is an honor, and I am blessed beyond measure by this naming,” Sanders said. “My prayer is that the vision and values, academic excellence, caring, compassionate service laid by Mrs. Moffett will continue to serve the school as a strong foundation for the next century. Thank you for this recognition. It is beyond measure.”

Student Government Association President Hope Dawson offered the invocation, and Jane Martin, interim dean of the Moffett & Sanders Nursing School, gave the closing prayer.

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. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 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 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.