A forming legacy

In the weeks following the death of beloved Samford professor Steve Donaldson, the way he will be remembered is forming through his own words and those of people who knew him.

“If you’re not afraid of the truth, then you’re not afraid of exploring for it,” Donaldson was once quoted as saying in a Samford press release.

In this search for truth, the Birmingham native combined two subjects that many see as at odds- science and faith- and found the harmony between them. An example of this is in when he co-founded Samford’s Center for Science and Religion in 2009.

“Many of us feel like unless we can put science and religion together, neither one has a whole lot of validity in terms of how it affects us and who we are and what we are,” Donaldson once said of the program in a promo video. “Our educational and our research objectives are all oriented toward trying to promote that type of compatibility, to try to help people understand how there can be that kind of compatibility.”

Donaldson’s heart for others and fearlessly pointing them toward truth is evident in his work in and out of the classroom. Other than being a professor, he was a published author on the combination of his favored subject, being the author of books like “Dimensions of Faith: Understanding Faith Through the Lens of Science and Religion” and co-authoring “A Little Book for New Scientists: Why and How to Study Science.” He also co-edited “Christian Perspectives on Transhumanism and the Church: Chips in the Brain, Immortality, and the World of Tomorrow.”

As for his work in the classroom, anonymous reviews from RateMyProfessor describe Donaldson as “incredibly kind and caring,” “maybe the most humble and helpful professor I’ve ever had,” “overall great guy and excellent professor,” “extremely helpful at all times he is on campus,” and more.

Other  professors  saw similar  features in Donaldson. University Fellows Director Bryan Johnson said of him, “Dr. Donaldson was a model of the fully engaged teacher scholar. He was also kind, funny, and thoroughly decent, someone I looked up to as a mentor.”

His intelligent and caring reputation was not only seen by his students and peers, as Samford University president Andrew Westmoreland said of Donaldson in a press release, “He was completely, utterly engaged in a fusion of the life of the mind and the life of the spirit.”

The Donaldson family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Samford’s Center for Science and Religion, or the Dawson Memorial Educational Fund.

For more information about the Center for Science and Religion, visit: www.samford.edu/science-and-religion.


Kathryn Jordan, Features Editor

Photo courtesy of Sean Flynt