By: Kate Young
On Friday Aug. 28, Andrew Westmoreland announced his retirement after 14 years of serving as Samford University’s 18th president.
“Jeanna and I agree that serving here is the greatest honor of our lives,” Westmoreland said in his email to students disclosing his retirement plans.
A presidential search committee of 23 members, including students, staff and alumni, was tasked with selecting Westmoreland’s replacement. Their goal is to find a Christian leader who embodies Samford’s values.
A statement released by Dr. Michael Morgan, secretary of the committee, disclosed that in their Sept. 18 meeting, “Members discussed an outline for the national search process. The committee has not yet developed a specific timeline, although current Samford President Andrew Westmoreland has announced his intention to retire from the presidency on June 30, 2021.”
The first step in the search process will involve surveys and consultations with the Samford community. Next, the committee will review qualified candidates. Finalists will be selected among those candidates who will then be interviewed. The final step will be a board of trustees election.
In his email, Westmoreland expressed faith in the trustees responsible for picking his replacement.
“I am absolutely confident that the trustees will make a wise, thoughtful, God-honoring choice,” Westmoreland said. “Jeanna and I will be first in line to offer our support. The trustees will bring great wisdom to the discerning process of accomplishing the goals of both continuity and change.”
A beloved figure on campus, Westmoreland promised to continue to be a part of the Samford community even after his retirement.
“The trustees have previously indicated to me that they would like for me to serve, after retirement, in a part-time capacity as Executive Director of the Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, following a break from the campus next fall, so my involvement with Samford will not come to a screeching halt,” Westmoreland said.
Though Westmoreland’s announcement to retire adds a layer of uncertainty for the future to the already unusual circumstances, Beth Thorne Stukes, co-chair of the search committee, reassured students about the future.
“The committee is eager to begin the process of finding the next leader for our Christian university,” Stukes said. “Samford is in a great position and we will find the right person to continue and grow our national and global prominence in Christian higher education.”