In President Beck A. Taylor’s opening convocation address to the Samford University community on Aug. 30, he encouraged students, faculty and staff to embrace hope throughout the 2022-2023 academic year and to do so by placing one’s hope in God.
To emphasize this, Taylor read Isaiah 40:31: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”
“What kind of hope can we express when we think about our collective futures in this place?” Taylor asked.
“Friends, I’ve never been more confident about something than I am about this: God, in His sovereignty, has brought each of us to this place at this time. God has ordained our steps to bring us here, together. Whether you are a new or returning student or a faculty or staff person, you are here for a reason. God has led you here,” Taylor said. “And if God has brought you here, God will meet you here—God is meeting you here. God wants you to succeed here. He wants you to flourish. He’s got big plans for you. He wants you to soar, to soar on wings like eagles. But we must place our hope in Him.”
He also encouraged the community to remember to place one’s hope in God, especially during challenging circumstances and times of uncertainty.
“It won’t always be easy. We might hit a setback or two, but we’ll do it together. But have hope. Embrace the certainty that God is weaving your life’s journeys in ways that will ultimately bring about His purposes.”
Later in the service, three employees were recognized for their outstanding work and service to the university.
Lisa Dodd 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. Dodd is the supervisor of the Samford Print Shop.
Beth McGinnis received the John H. Buchanan Award. The award for excellence in classroom teaching is given annually to an outstanding member of the faculty. McGinnis is an assistant professor of musicology and class piano and is the coordinator of Community Music Initiatives in the School of the Arts.
Josh Reeves received the Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award, which recognizes sustained scholarly contributions to a faculty member’s disciple and the academy over the years. Reeves is the director of the Center for Science and Religion in Howard College of Arts and Sciences.