Published on November 11, 2020  

Samford University’s Student Government Association (SGA) and the Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives are partnering to create the Dr. Eric L. Motley Elevate Others Scholarship to recruit and retain minority students in leadership roles on campus.

The fund honors Eric L. Motley ’96, who was Samford’s first Black SGA president. Motley is currently an executive vice president at the Aspen Institute, responsible for institutional advancement and governance. While attending Samford, Motley studied political science and philosophy, was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and Omicron Delta Kappa national honor society and served as a Samford Ambassador. He was also elected Homecoming King. He was the first recipient of Samford's Outstanding Young Alumnus award in 2009. In 2018, Motley became the first alumnus to be selected as an Orlean Beeson School of Education Corts Distinguished Author. 

SGA president Hope Dawson said Motley embodied the student organization’s mission to embrace responsibility, elevate others and enact vision. “His career and life’s work truly represent the values we aim to reflect in building relationships across campus and elevating the work of minority student leaders,” she said. “There is leadership potential in everyone, and in order to elevate others it is vital that we encourage representation of every student at Samford.” 

SGA public relations committee member AnnaBelle Brown designed an “Elevate Others” t-shirt to aid in the first round of fundraising for the scholarship. SGA aims to raise enough from sales of the shirts and additional efforts that the scholarship will help several students over multiple years.

“We are so grateful for how many people have already purchased shirts, and we’re getting closer and closer to fully funding a scholarship we know will benefit students,” Dawson said.

 Shirts are available for $25 and can be shipped individually. Shirt sales end at midnight on Nov. 20.

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.