Published on August 7, 2023 by Holly Gainer  
Photo credit: Black & White Photography
Photo credit: Black & White Photography

Each year, the Bill Nunnelley Award is presented to the staff member whose work regularly and consistently exceeds expectations and reflects a high level of service, trustworthiness and respect.

In 2022, Samford announced the expansion of the annual award, with the quarterly recognition of staff members who embody these values. Throughout the year, the Samford community is invited to nominate staff through quarterly nomination cycles. Selected nominees are announced to the Samford community and will be automatically considered as a nominee for the annual Bill Nunnelley Award.

The Staff Advisory Council is pleased to announce its third round of quarterly honorees:

Julie Stewart

Director of payroll

Stewart is the director of payroll for the university. Her colleagues write, “Julie does not shy away from a challenge, or from offering her help to anyone that is in need. Julie Stewart gives her time to the Samford community graciously. Ask anyone that has come to see her or who has called her. Julie is always willing to help with anything from a new project to just offering kind words and prayers of encouragement. To know Julie Stewart is to truly appreciate what she means to her coworkers and what she means to Samford University.

Casey Ramey

Executive director of alumni and philanthropic engagement, Samford University Alumni Association

Ramey is the executive director of alumni and philanthropic engagement for Samford’s Alumni Association. Her colleagues write, “Casey fulfills the mission of Samford every day through her service to alumni and friends around the world with positivity, grace and enthusiasm. She cares deeply about the desires and thoughts of Samford alumni and friends and will always stop to listen to them. This year Casey’s role expanded from supervising three employees to supervising six employees. During a season of transition, Casey has excelled at supporting new colleagues, learning new areas of her work, and listening well to her team. She is passionate about her team's success and professional development and is supportive of their lives at Samford and at home.”

Melissa Matthews

Administrative assistant, Beeson Divinity School

Melissa Matthews is an administrative assistant in Beeson Divinity School. Her colleagues write, “Like Mr. Nunnelley, Melissa gives her gift of service and dedication in a more quiet way, rarely if ever, seeking praise or the spotlight. Melissa, now in her 16th year at Beeson Divinity School, currently serves as the assistant to the associate dean, having served the university and our school in a couple of different capacities. She serves with compassion, strength, excellence, helpfulness, confidentiality, and a desire and willingness to make things run smoothly and consistently. As a staff member in the Beeson community, Melissa supports the divinity school in many and various ways and does her part in bringing our mission to fruition.”

Tommy Taylor

Chief police officer, director of public safety

Tommy Taylor is Samford’s chief police officer and the director of public safety. His colleagues write, “Quite simply, it is impossible for me to think of any employee who more dynamically supports Samford's mission. What other university chief of public safety gives out his cell phone number to students and families? Tommy stays up to date in his field. He is a recognized leader in law enforcement. He is a reliable advisor when bad weather is expected, and he is vigilant for Samford 24/7.”
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.