Published on August 31, 2021  
president taylor first convo

In President Beck A. Taylor’s first opening convocation address for Samford University, he encouraged students, faculty and staff to be strong, courageous and keep the faith throughout the 2021-2022 academic year.

Reading verses from chapters 13 and 14 of the book of Numbers, Taylor discussed how change is hard and changing identities, such as moving or starting a new school year, is exhausting. With a special nod to the class of 2025, he encouraged the Samford community to trust in God while accepting change.

“I want to encourage you that the same God who brought you here is not a God who brought you to a new land and then seemingly abandons you,” Taylor said. “He promises to always be with us. He does not give us anything we cannot handle. Be strong and courageous. Keep the faith.”

Three Samford employees were also recognized for their outstanding work and service to the university.

Tracy Luke received the Bill Nunnelley Award, which recognizes outstanding job performance by a non-faculty employee whose work regularly and consistently exceeds expectations and reflects a high level of service, trustworthiness and respect. Luke is a clinical education program coordinator at Cumberland School of Law.

Professor Chris Metress received the John H. Buchanan Award. The award for excellence in classroom teaching is given annually to an outstanding member of the faculty. Metress was named University Professor, an appointment reserved for faculty with an accomplished record of interdisciplinary teaching, service, and scholarship. Prior to this, he served as associate provost for academics and was an English professor. He continues to teach in the English Department.

Professor Art Carden received the Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award, which recognizes sustained scholarly contributions to a faculty member’s disciple and the academy over the years. Carden is a professor of economics in Samford’s Brock School of Business and a senior fellow with the American Institute for Economic Research and the Fraser Institute.

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.