With “a complete sense of peace,” Samford University President Andrew Westmoreland announced Aug. 28 his plans to retire from the presidency effective June 30, 2021.
Westmoreland, who has led the institution since 2006, shared the news with Samford’s board of trustees at a called meeting on Aug. 27, and then sent out the public announcement to students, employees and alumni via email the next morning.
“Forty-five years ago today, Aug. 28, 1975, I attended my first class as a college freshman. As a first-generation college student, I was confused and anxious — and with no idea that, as my career unfolded, I would remain within the mysterious world of higher education for a lifetime,” he wrote in the message.
“I’ve said so often that, despite my many flaws, I am a better person because of my association with Samford. Jeanna and I agree that serving here is the greatest honor of our lives.”
Westmoreland’s tenure as Samford’s president has been marked by enrollment growth, new and enhanced campus facilities and a growing national reputation for academic quality.
The university also has raised more than $400 million in philanthropic gifts.
Westmoreland said “mountains of work must be accomplished this fall and next spring,” and he plans to be fully engaged until the arrival of a new president.
Topping his list of what he has treasured most while serving as a college president are the personal relationships on campus.
First, developing the student contacts and connections, and a close second, the joy of hiring wonderful people, he said.
“I have enjoyed trying to do my best to encourage them to succeed,” he said.
Westmoreland came to Samford following 27 years of service in higher education, including eight as president at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
After retirement from the presidency, Westmoreland plans to reside in Birmingham and serve in a part-time capacity as executive director of Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership.
A search for Samford’s next president will begin immediately.
Trustees Tim Vines, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, and Beth Thorne Stukes, a corporate and civic leader from Jasper, will serve as co-chairs of the 23-member search committee consisting of trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni.
To see the full slate of committee members, click here.
The trustees will further discuss the presidential search and other business at their meeting on Sept. 11.
Samford board of trustees chair Bill Stevens said, “As we begin this transition in the university’s leadership it is important to remember Samford is stronger today than at any time in its 179-year history.
“We all are immensely grateful for the tremendous service of President Westmoreland.” (TAB, Samford)
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