Last Thursday I was visited in my office by a young man who completed the requirements for his undergraduate degree last summer. I had allowed 30 minutes for the appointment, but it took us 45 minutes (apologies to the person waiting outside my office) to finish our conversation. He transferred to Samford a few years ago at a time when the walls had closed in on him. The depth of his story would consume a dozen “Monday Missions,” but the substance of his commentary might be summarized in one line: “I received what I needed at Samford in ways that I could not have found at any other university.” I responded by saying that similar experiences might have been found at many other institutions, but I was glad that God allowed them to happen for him at Samford.
My young friend spoke from a grateful heart about the members of our faculty and staff who pushed and encouraged him throughout his Samford experience, and of the friends who held him accountable. (When we say that we “nurture persons,” we believe that nurturing includes straight talk and accountability.) Of the names that he mentioned, the most frequent reference was to the work of Dana Basinger, Assistant Dean in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences. “I could not have made it without her help,” he said. From listening to other students over the years, I have the feeling that dozens, perhaps hundreds, of students might say the same thing.
The world is better because of lots of things, including, according to this young man, Samford University and Dana Basinger.