New Samford scholarship to honor alumnus, longtime ministercomment (0)
April 3, 2014
Samford University in Birmingham has announced a new scholarship to honor longtime Baptist minister of music Robert B. Hatfield. Hatfield has served at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, Birmingham, for 35 years.
Priority will be given to academically qualified students pursuing a degree in music and worship who have demonstrated a calling to vocational music ministry, according to Joseph Hopkins, dean of Samford’s School of the Arts. Other criteria reflect Hatfield’s life and ministry and include a commitment to serve in local and global contexts and an interest in multigenerational music ministry.
Birmingham financial planner Phillip Inman, a 1977 Samford MBA graduate, is one of several church lay leaders helping with fundraising for the needed endowment.
“This is personal for me because my wife is in the [Dawson] choir and my daughters came up through Bob’s children’s and youth choir ministries,” Inman said. “He has been an important person in my family’s lives, and he is a wonderful example for all of us.
“When I think about those who have impacted my spiritual life, I think of Bob,” Inman added. “When we began thinking about the scholarship, I asked, ‘Who will be the next generation’s Bob?’”
Inman noted that Hatfield or a member of his family will be involved in the scholarship selection process to ensure that the scholarship recipient is “representative of the Christian framework [Hatfield] has had for his ministry, his life and his family.”
Hatfield received a bachelor of music degree from Samford in 1971 and later earned a doctor of ministry degree in 2001 from Samford’s Beeson Divinity School. He previously was on Samford’s adjunct faculty teaching music and worship.
W. Randy Pittman, Samford’s vice president for advancement, praised the initiative to honor Hatfield and said the scholarship project would be an inspiration for other churches who want to honor a longtime minister.
“What a wonderful example of a church that will perpetuate longtime, meaningful ministry far into the future by honoring one whose life and ministry already have touched thousands,” Pittman said. “It also affirms the strong, decades-long relationship that Samford has had both with Dawson Baptist Church and with the Hatfield family.”