Published on December 16, 2017 by Philip Poole  
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“Respect everyone.”

That was the simple, yet profound challenge given by Samford University President Andrew Westmoreland to the 330 graduates during fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 16. 

“We are justifiably proud, and we believe that you are going to put that degree to good use and that the world will be better for all the things you will do,” Westmoreland said. “But, if you haven’t learned to respect everyone, our delivery of a Samford education will have been substandard, and we will have failed you.”

Illustrating his point with a list of the cross-section of people encountered in life, Westmoreland said, “Because God made them all, and God loves them all, and it is the very least – the very least – that we can do to respect them all.”

Included in the two ceremonies were the inaugural graduates of the Master of Science in health law and policy, Master of Science in Education with a concentration in instructional design and Master of Science in nutrition.

Graduates from Cumberland School of Law and the College of Health Sciences – School of Health Professions, Ida Moffett School of Nursing, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, School of Public Health – participated in the first ceremony. The second ceremony honored graduates from the School of the Arts, Howard College of Arts and Sciences, Brock School of Business and Orlean Beeson School of Education. Beeson Divinity School graduates received their degrees in a weather-shortened ceremony on Dec. 8.

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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.