After several months and over 100 interested individuals, Samford has a new university provost.
The decision to appoint J. Michael Hardin was announced on Friday by Samford President Andrew Westmoreland.
Hardin is currently the dean of the Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He said he is excited to be coming to Samford in a time where so many new projects and opportunities are taking shape.
“I felt a real sense of vitality, and I’m looking to be a part of that and to help contribute to that,” Hardin said.
Hardin said one of his goals is to be open, accessible and honest with the entire campus. He said he hopes to get to know as many students, faculty and staff as possible, whether through eating lunch in the Caf or visiting groups around campus.
He will officially take over the position on July 1, when current provost Bradley Creed becomes president of Campbell University in North Carolina.
“Dr. Hardin has impressive credentials and a wealth of higher education leadership experience that he brings to his new role as provost. Samford is fortunate to have someone of his caliber as chief academic officer and I wish him the very best as he makes the transition this summer,” Creed said.
Westmoreland said that Hardin’s academic background, his reputation for research and his affection for Samford’s Christian mission were all distinguishing factors in choosing him for the position.
“I believe that we will find Dr. Hardin to be both a careful listener and a person of action,” Westmoreland said. “His appreciation for the breadth of a liberal arts education, his experience in leading a prominent business school, his record of building strong relationships and the intellectual and spiritual depth of his personal faith combine to create perhaps the best person that we could have found to serve as provost at Samford University.”
Hardin said he knows Samford pretty well, having lived in Birmingham in the past and even having gone on his first date with his wife to an event at the Wright Center. However, he hopes students will help him to learn Samford’s many traditions and be a part of campus life.
“I do know about Step Sing, and I’m looking forward to getting to attend my first one,” he said.
Westmoreland said that he and his staff will work with Hardin through July and August to get him acquainted with campus and employees, and they will be arranging events for him to meet students early in the fall semester.