Published on June 18, 2024 by Dakota Rice  

Recently, the American Council on Education (ACE) launched the ACE Commission on Faith-based Colleges and Universities. Among those chosen to serve on the commission’s inaugural executive committee is Samford University President Beck A. Taylor who will work alongside other university presidents to foster collaboration between faith-based and nonreligious colleges and universities.

According to ACE’s announcement, “The commission’s mission is to increase visibility for the important contributions of religious and faith-based colleges and universities and to foster collaboration between religious and nonreligious colleges and universities that benefits the whole of higher education, such as on access, affordability, and completion.”

When asked how Samford will contribute to the vision of this commission, Taylor said, “Samford is a leader in faith-based educational circles, and it claims a prominent role among all universities for its academic quality and successful student outcomes. As such, it is perfectly positioned to lead collaboration between faithful and secular institutions and associations. I think it speaks volumes about how Samford is regarded among colleges and universities in the U.S.”

ACE, which represents more than 1,600 institutions of higher education, recognizes there are many challenges facing college students socially, economically and environmentally. Those can include affordability, career development, civil discourse, curricular innovation and community impact. President Taylor is encouraged by the fact that institutions of all types can learn from each other on how to combat these challenges, and faith-based institutions like Samford have much to offer.

Students choose Samford because they seek an outstanding education that invites them to bring their whole selves on the educational journey. Samford thrives in navigating the pressures of access, affordability and completion, so President Taylor is hopeful that other institutions who are struggling may have the opportunity to learn from the way the university’s holistic approach aids in its success.

President Taylor’s personal faith has influenced his own leadership style and the way he makes decisions regarding the direction of the university, stating, “My faith in Christ shapes my approach to leadership. Knowing that I am blessed to lead an institution that has for 183 years lived faithfully into its Christian commitments gives me great confidence in the Lord’s provision and great humility knowing that this place is bigger than any one person, group of people, or moment in time.”

The commission will hold events throughout the year, bringing leaders together to explore ideas and seek solutions facing higher education. President Taylor shared, “Having a seat at the table among other highly regarded faithful colleges and universities will place Samford in an enviable and valuable position to both share and learn from the best of the best. I’m excited about how my involvement will benefit Samford’s future.” Other members of the executive committee include presidents from 12 other faith-based universities including the University of Notre Dame, Pepperdine University and The Catholic University of America.

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.