Judson College President David Potts delivered the commencement address for Samford’s Howard College of Arts and Sciences on May 17. Potts was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa in recognition of his accomplishments and service to higher education.
In his address, “An Education for Transcendent Living”, he emphasized the spirit of Christian service that created both Alabama Baptist schools, Judson and Samford, and which continues to find expression in the work of their students, faculty and staff. Potts congratulated the newest graduates of Samford’s Howard College of Arts and Sciences for their excellence not only in the classroom, but through service-learning projects in the Birmingham area and in Perry County, where Samford was founded as Howard College in 1841.
Noting that the idea of Christian higher education is as necessary and relevant today as it was in the 1840s, Potts praised the selfless spirit and generous giving of Samford’s Baptist founders, whose commitment to Christian education, missions service, and cooperation among churches led them to found Howard in 1841, Judson College in 1838, and The Alabama Baptist newspaper in 1843. They were also integrally involved in the establishment of the Home Mission Board in 1845.
“While you and I may not establish a college or university…or organize missions abroad…or publish a religious newspaper, our transformation of heart and spirit impels us to live transcendently,” Potts said. In addition to his efforts to promote Christian higher education, Potts has sought to live transcendently by actively addressing the problem of poverty in Alabama. He has served as a member of the Governor’s Black Belt Action Commission and is a former President of the Alabama Poverty Project, now Alabama Possible. Potts is a founding board member of Sowing Seeds of Hope, a faith-based non-profit organization which seeks to address the systemic causes of poverty in Perry County.
Potts holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Samford University. He began his career in higher education as an Admissions Counselor at Samford in 1972, eventually rising to the position of Director of Financial Aid before becoming Vice President for Development at Judson in 1980. Potts has served as Judson’s president since 1990.
Photo: Judson College President David Potts (left) receives an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree from Samford University Provost J. Bradley Creed (center) with Samford board of trustees chair William Stevens looking on. Photo by Caroline Summers