Published on December 18, 2022 by Morgan Black  
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In December 2022, Samford University honored 330 graduates who either earned a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree during its winter commencement ceremonies.
On Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Pete Hanna Center, the midday ceremony recognized 311 graduates of nine of Samford’s 10 academic schools: Brock School of Business, Cumberland School of Law, Howard College of Arts and Sciences, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, Orlean Beeson School of Education, the School of the Arts, the School of Health Professions and the School of Public Health.
Blake Hudson, who was installed as dean of Cumberland School of Law in July, provided the opening invocation. Samford President Beck A. Taylor offered welcoming remarks and introduced the commencement speaker, Mechelle Wilder ’83, a Samford trustee and founding partner of ARC Realty.
In her talk, titled “39 Years of Life Lessons,” Wilder focused on the importance of learning from other’s victories and mistakes and shared several of her own since graduating from Samford.
In summary, her eight points included:
  • You must know God for yourself;
  • Believe that His purpose is so much greater than you can imagine;
  • Life is not always fair, but God is faithful and good, and He will make a way for you, even through the wilderness;
  • When God challenges you to give up something you love, it’s because He wants to give you something greater;
  • Everyone’s path is different, so don’t compare yourself to others—know your lane;
  • Write the vision and make it plain—have goals and work towards achieving them;
  • Be a lifelong learner—you never know where it might lead you;
  • And, your success in this life will not be measured by the earthly possessions you have accumulated or titles given to you—live to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 
To close, Wilder said, “There are so many other lessons that I wish that I had time to share…but I don’t want to stand in the way of you starting your graduation festivities. Have fun today, and enjoy this opportunity you have been given to impact this world for God’s glory—and for your good.” 
The degrees were presented by Samford Provost Mike Hardin and conferred by President Taylor.
In a separate ceremony held Dec. 9 in Hodges Chapel, 19 students graduated with a Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School. During the ceremony and service of consecration, Laurent Mbanda, archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, delivered the commencement sermon, titled “Go and Be Fruitful.”
“Graduation marks a turning point in the life of the student and on the part of those who played a significant role in the journey of their education,” Mbanda said. “You are stepping out at a time the church is experiencing significant issues and, in a way, a crisis in different denominations. My prayer is that you trust the Lord who called you. Relying on your own strength and knowledge is dangerous for your life and your ministry.”
Read the full story of Beeson’s December 2022 commencement here.
On Friday, Dec. 16, Samford’s Alumni Association hosted a joint reception for all December graduates and their families and guests.
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.