Posted by William Nunnelley on 2000-03-01

Birmingham attorney Joseph W. "Bill" Mathews, Jr., of the firm of Lange, Simpson, Robinson & Somerville LLP has been named Vice President for Business Affairs and General Counsel of Samford University.

Mathews will officially occupy his position at Samford in June, at the start of the next fiscal year. Until then, he will be familiarizing himself with his new role from time to time. The newly-structured position combines responsibilities for Samford's business affairs division and legal counsel.

Laverne A. Farmer, Samford Vice President for Business Affairs since 1994, will retire at the end of June. Farmer has been a member of the Samford administration since 1983, serving as Assistant Vice President and Controller for one year and Assistant to the President for Management and Budget for 10 years before being named vice president. He implemented a new system of oversight for the Samford endowment and played a key role in the outsourcing of numerous services.

"Laverne Farmer has brought great sincerity and skill to a difficulty position," said Samford President Thomas E. Corts. "His integrity and friendship cause us to feel we are losing our security blanket. He may have as much about Samford in his mind as anyone alive.

"It is unusual," Corts continued, "for one of a city's leading lawyers to develop a second career at this point, but that is our good fortune. Bill Mathews has captained our legal affairs and earned the confidence, respect and friendship of the Samford community."

Mathews served as Samford counsel as part of his responsibilities with Lange, Simpson, Robinson and Somerville. His practice areas at the firm have included corporate, education, banking and real estate law.

As Vice President and General Counsel, Mathews will be responsible for Samford's accounting, budget, computer and telecommunications, human resources, physical plant, purchasing and athletic departments in addition to legal counsel.

Mathews holds the J.D. degree from Vanderbilt Law School and Master of Laws in Taxation degree from the University of Florida. He is also a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, where he was Phi Beta Kappa, and Marion Military Institute, where he was Cadet Commander and Valedictorian.

The Birmingham native is listed in the publication The Best Lawyers in America. He is a member of Leadership Birmingham, Class of 1996, and was a charter member and chairman of the AlabamaGermany partnership in 1998-99.

Farmer came to Samford from the University of Miami, where he had served as Director of Business and Finance for the Department of Athletics and Director of Business, Auxiliary and Medical Support Services.

A Crossville, Tenn., native, Farmer was president of a Pompano Beach, Fla., marketing sales firm and Director of Printing at Georgetown (Ky.) College before joining the University of Miami.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.