Published on February 2, 2024 by Eric Holsomback  
 Daphne McLendon '37
Daphne McLendon '37

Within Samford University's Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, there is a strong connection to the past, especially for assistant professor Ashley Turner. Turner's journey is not just one of personal achievement but also a tribute to her grandmother, Daphne McLendon, whose legacy continues to inspire generations in their family.

Daphne McLendon's story began in 1937 when she received her nursing diploma from the Birmingham Baptist School of Nursing, now known as the Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing. Her dedication to the nursing profession was evident as she embarked on her career, working alongside Dr. Dan C. Donald in Birmingham before eventually settling in Camden, Alabama. Despite facing challenges, McLendon's devotion to her family and her profession left an indelible mark on those who knew her.

For Turner, her grandmother's legacy is more than a memory—it's a light that lit her own path. Graduating from Samford in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and again in 2003 with a Master of Science in Nursing, Turner's academic achievements went above and beyond what her grandmother was offered.

Turner's decision to attend Samford was not solely based on family ties but also on the warm welcome she received, and the nurturing environment fostered by the university. Interactions with people like Jan Paine, director of undergraduate student services, whose genuine care and mentorship in the beginning left a lasting impression, solidified Turner's decision to call Samford her home.

"I felt valued as an individual," Turner said. "The faculty, the students—the entire community—embraced me wholeheartedly, providing unwavering support in my journey as both a Christian and a nurse. 

At the heart of Turner's experience at Samford is the one-on-one relationships she made in the Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing. It's a place where former faculty members like Geri Beers and Gloria Russell tirelessly prepared students for the challenges ahead, instilling in them not only clinical skills but also the compassion and empathy essential to the nursing profession.

Turner fondly remembers her unique study sessions with Professor Beers—sessions that took place not in a classroom but on the trails, running side by side. "We ran countless miles, discussing disease processes and adult health," Turner recalls. "It was a testament to the holistic approach to nursing education embraced by Samford."

Upon graduation, Turner wasted no time in returning to her alma mater, taking on the role of clinical associate at the Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing. Over the years, her dedication and passion for nursing education led her to become a full-time faculty member in 2016, a role she embraces with pride and humility.

Through her journey, Turner proves the bonds of family and the legacy of the past can serve as powerful catalysts for personal and professional growth, shaping not only individual lives but also the future of nursing education.
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.