Published on May 16, 2024 by Kameron Brown  
Samford Online Annual Award Winners

Each year, Samford Online presents the Joe O. Lewis and James L. Treadway scholar awards to faculty and students within their undergraduate programs.

The Joe O. Lewis Faculty Scholar award recognizes the excellence exhibited by the Samford Online faculty. Students are called upon to nominate one of their instructors who demonstrates superior teaching skills, exhibits concern for Samford Online students and the program, and has a supportive and respectful attitude.  

This year’s recipients of the Joe O. Lewis Faculty Scholar award are Bryan Gill, director of Samford’s Office of Faith, Learning and Vocation, and David Wilson, chief executive officer and founder of Wilson Executive Group and a former global sales training manager for UPS.

Like many of Samford Online’s faculty, Wilson approaches his course work and his students with a level of care that is infused with empathy and understanding, prioritizing the student’s well-being.

“Some adult learners may be traveling, or having family issues, or things like that come up and I am always very sympathetic to them. If you need to extra time to complete an assignment, no problem, I understand, you’re doing studies and life at the same time,” said Wilson. “I think that is one of the Samford advantages, that we understand that, and we’ve been through the same journey.”

The James L. Treadway Student Scholar award is determined by both faculty and students and recognizes the excellence exhibited by a graduating senior. Candidates must have maintained a 3.0 grade point average, completed their first bachelor’s degree, demonstrated admirable demeanor towards their fellow students, faculty and staff and shown commitment to academic excellence. 

This year’s recipient of the James L. Treadway Student Scholar award is Candice Hightower ’24, who has just completed her Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies.

“What an honor to be named,” said Hightower. “I cannot say enough positive things about Samford University. This has been the most rewarding experience of my life, and I am so very thankful for it.”

For many students like Hightower, Samford Online provides top quality education with the flexibility necessary to manage many different responsibilities.

Hightower said, “Working as a full-time nurse, owning a small business, and being a student, on top of other responsibilities as a wife and mother, sometimes felt impossible. I hope through my journey my own children have learned these same lessons of perseverance.”

Samford Online offers a range of programs, from undergraduate degrees in Human Development and Family Science, Public Health and more to graduate degrees and certifications from across all of Samford’s 10 academic schools. Students will receive an educational experience anchored in Christian understanding, world class faculty and a commitment to ensuring quality content and delivery.

Learn more about Samford Online and its programs.

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.