Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2001-10-17

A retired chemistry professor and a Canadian pharmacy executive will be honored as Alumni of the Year as Samford University celebrates Homecoming Oct. 26-28.

Howard G. Clark, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Duke University, Durham, N.C., and Francois J. Coutu, president and chief operating officer of The Jean Coutu Group, Montreal, Quebec, will be recognized at the Homecoming football game Saturday, Oct. 27.

Dr. Clark, a 1947 Samford graduate, has served on the Duke faculty since 1968, most recently as professor of biomedical and biochemical engineering. He is the author of numerous publications dealing with polymer science.

Clark, who has combined research and teaching during his long career, holds seven patents. He is a pioneer in research that led to development of a stent that allows targeted drug delivery to a specific tissue in the body. The stent is frequently used following angioplasty surgery in order to hold open the artery while it heals.

In 1998, Clark established the Harold E. Wilcox Scholarship to assist Samford science students and to honor a former professor. Clark holds a master's degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

Coutu, a 1981 graduate of Samford's McWhorter School of Pharmacy, will be recognized as Samford's first International Alumnus of the Year. He has been head of the Coutu pharmacy group, which owns more than 500 stores in Canada and New England, since 1990. He previously held positions as vice president of pharmacies and public relations and vice president of operations and marketing with the company.

He began his career in 1982 as a drugstore trainee in Hollywood, Fla., before returning to his native Quebec in 1983. Coutu also holds a business administration degree from McGill University, Montreal.

Samford Homecoming weekend activities begin Friday with dedication of the new Sciencenter and a concert by Better Than Ezra. Saturday events include reunions, hot air balloon rides, Sciencenter open house, a talk by alumna Margaret Armbrester, co-editor of Alabama Governors: A Political History of the State, and a 1 p.m. football game against UT-Martin. Sunday events include a 9:30 a.m. worship service in Beeson Divinity Chapel and a 2 p.m. service of gratitude at Ruhama Baptist Church.


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.