Graduates from Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, School of Health Professions and School of Public Health were encouraged to confidently pursue their calling to serve as the hands and feet of Christ during the College of Health Sciences commencement ceremony May 13.
“When God obviously speaks to you and calls you, don’t doubt Him,” urged speaker Ryan Rainer, a 1995 alumnus of Samford’s sports medicine program. “Walk through the wide open door that he has pushed you to and start enjoying what he has called you to do.”
Rainer expressed that the 239 health sciences graduates shared a common blessing—a calling to share in one of Jesus’ favorite ministries—the ministry of healing. “Realize that if you will abide in Christ, you will know his will for you and he will equip you to be his hands and feet,” said Rainer.
A challenge from a substitute teacher early in his childhood led Rainer to his calling to be a doctor. “Mr. Price asked us to write a paragraph on what we wanted to be when we grew up and he said to make it something that would make the world a better place,” said Rainer. “In that moment, I knew I wanted to be a doctor and I wrote that I wanted to be one so that I could help people.”
After completing Samford’s sports medicine program, Rainer went on to graduate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School and the Medical Center East Family Medicine residency program. He is a board-certified family practice physician who practices rural family medicine to an underserved population in Cherokee County, Alabama. He is also the medical liaison for the Children’s Advocacy Center for Cherokee County and he considers his practice a ministry to the community.
Rainer urged the class of 2016 to act on their passions and to not be limited by fear or uncertainty. “Don’t miss out on any opportunities in life just because it seems hard or like it would make you uncomfortable. God will allow you to grow greatly through these kinds of experiences.”
In closing, Rainer shared Romans 12:9-18, 21 as encouragement of how graduates should live from this first day of the rest of their lives onward.
“Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself. Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. Take care of God’s needy people and welcome strangers into your home. Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. Be friendly with everyone. Don’t be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people. Don’t mistreat someone who has mistreated you. But try to earn the respect of others, and do your best to live at peace with everyone.”
The College of Health Sciences ceremony included graduates from Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, School of Health Professions and School of Public Health. Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing awarded 173 degrees, including 48 Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 94 Master of Science in Nursing and 31 Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees. Masters students represented the family nurse practitioner, health systems management and leadership, nurse anesthesia and nurse educator programs.
The School of Health Professions awarded 52 Bachelor of Science degrees, including the first graduates from the school’s undergraduate program in Communication Sciences and Disorders. The School of Public Health awarded 11 Bachelor of Science degrees and three Master of Social Work degrees. The three Master of Social Work graduates represent the first graduates from the program.
Retiring nursing professors Joy Whatley and Arlene Hayne were recognized for their respective 41 and 14 years of service to the university. Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates, Kaley Glenn and Katie Kosan, were Commissioned, Second Lieutenant, United States Air Force and were honored at the U.S. Air Force ROTC Spring Commissioning May 12.
Samford’s College of Health Sciences was established in 2013 to further the Samford mission while preparing students in an interprofessional environment for some of the fastest growing health care careers in the country. The College is comprised of four schools—Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing,McWhorter School of Pharmacy, School of Health Professions and School of Public Health.
McWhorter School of Pharmacy hosted its commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 6 with 106 graduates receiving Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Studies degrees and 109 students receiving the Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
The College of Health Sciences ceremony was the fourth of seven ceremonies taking place throughout the week.