Published on April 29, 2024 by Alison Ingle and Eric Holsomback  

Samford University's College of Health Sciences (CHS) held its spring pinning, hooding and commencement ceremonies from April 25-27. The four schools in the college—McWhorter School of Pharmacy, the School of Health Professions, Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing and the School of Public Health — awarded 278 graduates with a bachelor's degree and 309 with a master or doctoral degree.  

Throughout the ceremonies, a central theme emerged: the resilience and determination exhibited by the class of 2024. Despite encountering unprecedented challenges during their college journey, these graduates demonstrated remarkable strength in navigating the uncertainties imposed by a global pandemic while transitioning into university life or graduate school. Each speaker emphasized the importance of perseverance and encouraged the graduates to carry forward this tenacity into their future endeavors, assuring them of their potential for success. 

During the undergraduate commencement address, Kendell Jno-Finn, DPT, imparted wisdom to the graduating class. He urged students to recognize that growth often occurs in the valleys of life, challenging them to confront life's challenges with purpose and determination.  

"Today, tomorrow next week, next year... double down. Reconnect with your why. Reconnect with your purpose. It doesn't matter what it is, what matters is that you lean into it."  

Jno-Finn is a 2004 graduate of Samford University and founded M3 Endeavors, a physical therapy practice with three locations in the Birmingham area.  

At the Doctor of Pharmacy hooding ceremony, Stephen Brown, JD, PharmD, reflected on the unique challenges faced by students who commenced their pharmacy education during the pandemic. Despite these obstacles, Brown emphasized the importance of aspiring to excellence and making positive contributions, irrespective of circumstances.  

"Because no matter where you are or what you're doing, you can make things better. Better for yourself. Better for those around you. Better for your communities," Brown stated. 

Ashley Turner ‘00, a professor in the School of Nursing, shared valuable lessons with graduates during the undergraduate pinning ceremony. She highlighted the importance of patience, communication and prayer in the nursing profession, urging graduates to be patient with themselves, communicate openly with others, and seek guidance through prayer as they embark on their professional journeys. 

The class of 2024 is distinguished by their resilience and determination, forged in the face of adversity during the pandemic. Their academic growth and personal development deserve not only  our applause but our admiration.

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.