Intellectual. Educator. Visionary. These are all words Judge Stephen Dillard used to describe the 19th president of Samford University, Beck A. Taylor. The Wright Center was humming with excitement as well as beautiful hymns and fanfare on Thursday, Nov. 4 during Taylor’s historic inauguration. President Taylor is just the third president to be inaugurated at Samford in 60 years.
Prior to his presidency at Whitworth, Taylor served as both an economics professor and Dean of the Brock School of Business for five years. Samford faculty, staff, students and honored guests welcomed Taylor back with eager enthusiasm.
Taylor’s chosen theme for both his inauguration and presidency is taken from Ephisians 3:17, which says, “rooted and grounded in love.” Multiple speakers, including interim President at Whitworth University Scott Mcquikin, President of Miles College Bobby Knight and SGA President Tyler Kendall, spoke to President Taylor’s leadership and what it means to be a true steward of the Lord. Speakers described how Taylor embodies sincerity and love throughout all aspects of both his professional and personal life. Hundreds of students and honored guests alike have seen the true impact of Taylor’s leadership and love in their lives. Taylor has already been actively involved in the Samford community by attending football games, meeting with students and immersing himself in the Samford culture.
Taylor and his wife, Julie, will continue the legacy of immediate past President Andrew Westmoreland and his wife Jeanna Westmoreland who led Samford for 15 years.
Taylor laid his hand on the Bible as Chair of Samford Board of Trustees Bill Stevens led him in the oath of office. After Taylor was sworn in, he addressed the students for the first time as the official president of Samford University. Taylor’s message to the Samford community was centered around love.
“Why love? Because the world is yearning for it,” Taylor said in his address.
Taylor emphasized that Samford students’ love for others and the Lord comes before anything else, and that, “if we don’t base our work in the love of Christ, we will have little eternal impact.” Taylor encouraged Christ-like love throughout every aspect of Samford student’s lives and said the world will be a better place once we are recognized for our love rather than our achievements or academics.
“We will be confident that the Good Lord will protect our humble offerings, nurturing those tiny seeds — those acts of love we will produce — until great timber’s of goodness, and truth and beauty are established and graciously provide their welcome shade to future generations, and generations beyond those, until the Lord comes again,” Taylor said.
This momentous presidential inauguration only marks the beginning of the years to come. The Samford community will start this new chapter under Taylor with a new meaning of an old mantra stated by Taylor himself.
“For God, For Learning, Forever, For Love.”