Published on December 14, 2020  
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Samford University honored 302 graduates who earned either a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree during its virtual winter commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 12. 

The ceremony recognized graduates within the university’s 10 academic schools: School of the Arts, Howard College of Arts and Sciences, Brock School of Business, Beeson Divinity School, Orlean Beeson School of Education, Cumberland School of Law, School of Health Professions,  Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, McWhorter School of Pharmacy and School of Public Health.

Read profiles of ten individuals in the December graduating class

Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing Interim Dean and professor Jane Martin presented the commencement address, challenging graduates to carefully consider how they want to impact the world. 

“Class of 2020, how will you use your unique experiences and perspectives to move us into a new way of thinking, a new way of caring, and a new way of serving our communities, our nation and the world?” Martin said.

Martin shared that she is not the first in her family to live through a global pandemic. Her grandmother was 18 during the Spanish flu pandemic and the experience shaped her life in transformative ways.

“From her relationships to her career, the Spanish flu had a significant impact on my grandmother’s life, but with hindsight, I can now see how she used the experience of hardship to fuel her future and nearly all aspects of her life,” Martin said. 

She encouraged the students to use lessons from their own pandemic experiences to serve others.

“I challenge you to love the people you will lead and serve alongside. You are the future, our future,” she said. “I believe you will bring forth new innovations—transforming and adapting your fields like no one before. Look at the ways you have already adapted yet succeeded this year! Whether your degree is in art, arts and science, business, education, health professions, law, divinity, nursing, pharmacy or public health, use your education and your creativity to make the world a better place.”

University President Andrew Westmoreland also addressed the graduates, noting the importance of the virtual ceremony.

“This is not the ceremony we had envisioned, but it provides each of us an occasion to celebrate a day of hope and thanksgiving in the lives of our graduates and their friends and family members,” he said.

Professor of English Rosemary Fisk offered the opening prayer for the ceremony. Assistant Dean of Howard College of the Arts and Sciences Dana Basinger read the names of the graduates. Professor of economics Jennings B. Marshall provided the ceremony’s closing benediction.

Prior to the reading of the names, Samford’s A Cappella Choir performed “The Road Home.”

Samford’s Orchestra closed the ceremony with a performance of “Joy to the World."

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.