81-year-old Melvin Cooper of Prattville was named by Samford last month as the Alabama Baptist layperson of the year. He has taught Sunday School for 63 years and been an active deacon for 45 years, most recently at Montgomery’s First Baptist Church. He was the first executive director of the Alabama Ethics Commission. Nominators cited his church, denominational and community service. He also practices good stewardship, and his family’s budget records show a gift to his church on May 18, 1948 – the first Sunday after he married – of $3.50 on a weekly income of $35.

The world is better because of the faithful service of Melvin Cooper.

About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.