The Samford University Board of Trustees recently announced that Beck A. Taylor will become the 19th president, effective July 1.
Former dean and professor of Samford’s Brock School of Business from 2005 to 2010, Taylor now is president of Whitworth University.
Taylor is succeeding Andrew Westmoreland, who is retiring after serving as president of Samford since 2006.
“I can sum up my feelings in five words,” Taylor said. “It’s great to be back.”
“Samford University hired me as a 35-year-old business school dean, the youngest dean at that time at an accredited business school in the country, and I grew professionally, personally and spiritually at this place,” Taylor said.
According to Bill Stevens, chair of Samford’s board, Taylor was recommended by a 23-member presidential search committee after it completed a six-month search.
“The trustees are very confident that Dr. Taylor is the best person to lead Samford at this point in our 180-year history,” Stevens said.
“Dr. Taylor returns to Samford with an outstanding record of academic accomplishment and personal scholarship,” Stevens continued. “He has served as the 18th president of Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, since July 2010, where he has led an ambitious 10-year vision and strategic plan to elevate Whitworth among the leading Christian universities in the country.”
During his tenure as dean of Samford’s business school, Taylor made positive change a cornerstone of his work.
Stevens noted that Taylor led a transformation of the school of business, giving it its name to honor Harry B. Brock Jr., founder of Compass Bank. He additionally established eight academic programs and the Brock School of Business’ honors program.
According to Taylor, when the search committee reached out to him and, after multiple interviews, offered him the job, “the timing seemed right.”
This summer he will move back to Birmingham with his youngest daughter, Chloe. His oldest child, Zachary, is a Nashville-based recording artist. His older daughter, Lauren, is a recent Whitworth graduate who will soon begin medical school at the University of Washington.
“I want you to know how excited Julie and I are to be returning to a university that we already love and admire,” he said. “To be invited to become Samford’s 19th president is the honor of a lifetime and one that has profound meaning to all of our lives.”
He added that, as the Westmorelands have chosen to remain in Birmingham, he looks forward to continuing his friendship with his predecessor.
“Since I left for Spokane, I have watched this university grow and change,” Taylor said. “The spirit of continuous improvement and of strategic leadership is palpable, even from across the country. I look forward to writing Samford’s next chapter of growth in innovation and leadership.”
His work for the first days, weeks and months of his presidency will be to listen to the Samford community – not just the students, faculty and staff but also the surrounding community, he said.
“Even though I have some familiarity with Samford, I’ve been gone for 11 years and a lot of things have changed,” he said. “So, I look forward to relearning the community and getting to know the ways in which it has grown since I left and working with all of Samford’s constituencies – students, staff, faculty, alumni, trustees and friends – to chart an exciting strategic future for the institution.”
Inauguration ceremonies will take place in the fall. For more information about Samford’s 19th president, visit Samford.edu/PresidentElect.