Published on July 1, 2021 by Holly Gainer  
president taylor sitting

President Beck A. Taylor officially began his tenure as the 19th president of Samford University on Thursday, July 1, which marked his first day in office. Accompanied by his wife, First Lady and Executive Director of Legacy League Julie A. Taylor, he began the day with a morning prayer service in Hodges Chapel where he provided the benediction.

“Words cannot express the excitement that Julie, Chloe and I share as we rejoin this amazing community of learning and faith,” President Taylor said. “My family and I thank you for the hundreds of emails, cards, and phone calls welcoming us back to Birmingham, and for your sustaining prayers as we said our goodbyes to a community we love in Spokane and traveled 2,250 miles to our new home here.”

Taylor, who most recently served as president of Whitworth University, a position he assumed in 2010, is no stranger to the Samford community. He served as dean and professor of economics for Samford’s Brock School of Business from 2005-2010.

“I do not think there is another school like Samford in the country that combines great academics and a faithful community, and prepares students for lives of meaning and purpose in the world,” Taylor said. “Only Samford could call me back and we are overjoyed to be here.”

While addressing his top priorities as president, he said he plans to consider two words: continuity and change. For Taylor, continuity means sustaining the aspects that have persisted within the Samford community for 180 years.

“These include an emphasis on the Lordship of Jesus Christ, an insatiable appetite for academic and co-curricular excellence, a primary focus on the moral and professional development of our students, an investment in the professional and vocational well-being of our employees, and a fierce dedication to ensuring that all of Samford’s citizens are treated with love, dignity, and respect.”

As for change, he hopes to lead the university as it prepares students to engage with an ever-changing world.

“It is our job to continuously reinvent the university – sometimes in small ways and occasionally on a larger scale – to remain relevant and to serve our students and communities well. Samford has shown an ability to innovate and change to meet these evolving needs, and together, we will continue to look for ways to add value to our students’ educational experiences.”

Taylor’s top priorities that he would like to achieve during his first year in office include meeting as many students, faculty, staff and alumni as possible and learning about their Samford experiences, implementing immediate work on the initiatives in the report from the Task Force on Racial Justice, building positive and productive relationships with Samford’s trustees and major benefactors, listening to the aspirations of campus and beginning to develop a narrative that will inform an eventual update to the strategic plan, completing the Forever Samford campaign, and celebrating the university’s newfound community after two pandemic-disrupted academic years.

He also plans to visit alumni chapters around the country, churches and other supporting organizations, meet with other leaders in Birmingham and Alabama to assess how Samford can best contribute to the flourishing of its home communities, and finally, eat a lot of barbecue.

“The best days of Samford are still ahead, and I can’t wait to work with our faculty, our staff, our students, our alumni all over the world and our friends to chart an exciting vision for the institution going forward.”

Learn more about President Taylor.

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.