Published on November 17, 2020  
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Two Samford employees have earned Southern Conference (SoCon) 2020 All-Conference Faculty and Staff Awards.

Orlean Beeson School of Education professor Celeste Hill received the faculty award. Paige Mathis, assistant director of Athletics for Academics, received the staff award. 

The awards are part of the SoCon Academic Exchange, a collaborative effort by the conference's chief academic officers to promote cooperation among the membership to benefit all students–-not just athletes. Those honored have demonstrated the characteristics of dedicated service to their institution through strong contributions in teaching, research, service and campus life. 

Celeste Hill
Celeste Hill is an associate professor in Orlean Beeson School of Education’s Department of Human Development and Family Science at Samford University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations, a master’s degree in educational psychology, a master’s degree in human development and family science and a Ph.D. in educational psychology with an emphasis in human development and family science from the University of Alabama. She served 10 years as a private consultant before becoming a full-time faculty member where she currently teaches infant and child development, gerontology and the family, families and health, human sexuality and family life education. Her research interests include experiential education, online learning and professional identity and development among family scientists. She also serves as the faculty advisor for Samford’s student chapter of the National Council on Family Relations.

Paige Mathis
Paige Mathis is in her eighth year in the Samford athletics department and now serves as the department’s assistant director of Athletics for Academics. She oversees the Academic Enhancement Program for Student-Athletes and is the primary academic counselor for the football team. She also serves on various committees on campus including the Retention Committee. During Mathis’s tenure at Samford, the school’s student-athletes have also posted outstanding results in the classroom, with a total of 1,353 student-athletes being named to the SoCon Honor Roll. Samford’s student-athletes posted an impressive 99% in the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) report, ranking Samford 1st in the nation with an elite group of institutions among all Division I athletic programs. Mathis holds a bachelor’s degree in sport administration from the University of Louisville and a master’s degree in sport and leisure commerce from the University of Memphis.  She is an active volunteer through the Junior League of Birmingham.

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.