Posted by Philip Poole on 2005-12-05

Updated: 12/6/05, 8:41 a.m.

Three constituent reference panels will meet Dec. 6 as part of the Samford University presidential search process. The panels are part of the search process outlined in April when current Samford President Thomas E. Corts announced plans to retire at the end of the 2005-06 academic year.

The panels, representing faculty/staff, students, and alumni/friends of the University, were invited to meet Andrew Westmoreland, president of Ouachita Baptist University, who has been identified as the first candidate presented by the presidential search committee for the reference panel meetings.

In addition to the three constituent reference panels, Westmoreland also will meet with other key leaders including the University's executive officers and academic deans.

Of the 49 individuals invited to participate on a reference panel, 36 had indicated as of Dec. 5 that they were available, said Sarah Latham search committee secretary and Samford's director of institutional research. The committee was still awaiting final confirmation from other attendees.

Potential reference panel names were approved Nov. 29 by Samford's board of trustees in its regular winter meeting. Panelists were invited by electronic mail on Nov. 30.

"It would be impossible to find a perfect time for everyone, so we are very pleased that this many people were able to adjust schedules to participate," Latham said. "This is a busy time of year, and we realize that some of those invited have very legitimate conflicts that prevent them from participating."

Serving on the alumni/friends panel are Tom Armstrong '73, financial consultant and president of the Samford Alumni Association, Birmingham; David Corts '90, banker, Atlanta, Ga.; Chriss Doss '57, attorney and retired Samford law professor, Birmingham; T. Roe Frazer II '85 (JD), CEO, CaseLogistix, Jackson, Miss.; Elaine Ladd Gill '84, homemaker, Decatur, Ala.; Brad Harris '94, attorney, Birmingham; Wanda Lee '69, executive director, Woman's Missionary Union, Birmingham; Jodi Newton '73, superintendent, Homewood City Schools, Birmingham; and Elouise Williams, Samford Auxiliary coordinator, Birmingham.

Serving on the faculty/staff panel are Timothy P. Banks, music; Stephen Chew, psychology; Carol Dean, education; Betsy Holloway, business; Ruth Holt, education; Fisher Humphreys, divinity; Jane Martin, nursing; Pamela Sims, pharmacy; Jean Thomason, libraries; Howard Walthall, law; Nancy Whitt, English; Anethia Reliford, human resources; and Bob Roller, athletics.

Whitt is chair of the University's faculty senate, and Reliford is president of the staff advisory council.

Student panel members include Lindsey Bamberg, sophomore sports medicine major, Selma, Ala.; Aaron Frazier, junior biology major, Knoxville, Tenn.; Matt Harrison, senior political science major, Huntsville, Ala.; Hunter Hill, sophomore religion major, Columbiana, Ala.; John Lucas, senior sports medicine major, Birmingham; Chris McCaghren, junior communication studies major, Montgomery, Ala; Emily Morris, senior sports medicine major, Cordova, Tenn.; John Marcus Price, junior history major, Orange Beach, Ala.; Lucy Pumphrey, senior art major, Winchester, Ky.; Michelle Roark, senior biology major, Yazoo City, Miss.; Rebecca Sanders, senior exercise science major, Elgin, Ill.; Cheryl Smith, senior psychology major, Pensacola, Fla.; Ann Clare Vaughn, senior journalism major, Paris, Tenn.; and Brian Willett, junior journalism major, Montgomery, Ala.

Harrison is current Student Government Association president. Leaders of the faculty senate, staff advisory council and student government earlier had met with the presidential search committee to present information and issues for the committee's consideration.

"Leaders of these groups are included on the appropriate reference panel so that they can communicate questions from their constituencies to the candidate," Latham said.

Panel members will be able to provide written individual responses to the presidential search committee, Latham said. There will be no group votes taken in the panel sessions.

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.