Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2007-12-15

The scripture beneath the Samford University sign at the campus entrance in Homewood sends a good message for graduates as they take their degrees into the future, Dr. Paul A. Richardson said during Commencement exercises Saturday, Dec. 15.

"I can't think of a better sign for what we aim to do here and what we hope to inspire you to do beyond," he said of the verse from Luke that advises "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself."

Jesus, Richardson said, would suggest that "heart" includes the will to do something, the will be to be something, the will to make a commitment and carry it out.

"But heart, soul and strength,' even with the addition of mind,' isn't a checklist," said Richardson. "It is a way of saying that God, who has given us all we are, calls us to invest all we are. That is the Christian vocation-whether as teacher, lawyer, nurse, journalist or accountant."

Richardson, who teaches in Samford's School of the Arts, delivered the fall commencement address as the current holder of the John H. Buchanan Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching.

About 3,000 faculty, family members and friends joined the 297 graduating seniors in the first graduation exercises to be held in Samford's new Pete Hanna Center.

Richardson told the graduates that he and other faculty members do not intend, much less assume, that they will all think in the same way, serve in the same way or all have the same feelings about the most critical issues they will face.

"It is, however, our hope, our prayer, our investment in you, that you will live lives wholly committed to God and neighbor," he said.

Earlier on Saturday, five Master of Accountancy degree candidates and 15 Master of Business Administration degree candidates were recognized during "hooding" ceremonies for Samford's Brock School of Business.

On Friday, 31 graduates of Samford's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing participated in the traditional pinning ceremony. Also on Friday, Benjamin Edward Dennis of Birmingham was commissioned a second lieutenant through Samford's Air Force ROTC unit. Dennis received a bachelor's degree in computer science on Saturday.

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.