Posted by Philip Poole on 2009-12-02

Samford University’s board of trustees established a new endowment fund and elected four new members at their regular winter meeting Dec. 1 in Birmingham.

Trustees established the new William Self Propst Fund, using gifts from a Samford alumnus and Huntsville pharmaceuticals executive.  Earnings from the quasi-endowment fund will be used for maintenance and improvements for William Self Propst Hall, the university’s primary academic building for sciences, and for academic and program support for the McWhorter School of Pharmacy and natural sciences in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences.

The board elected four new members:  Victor Brown, an executive with the Birmingham Business Alliance; Don Kilgore, a businessman from Jasper, Ala.;  Rod Steakley, a Huntsville, Ala., attorney; and Jasper, Ala., community volunteer Beth Thorne Stukes.  Re-elected to additional terms were Judge Karon O. Bowdre of Birmingham; Dothan, Ala., banker Ronald Devane; Alfa insurance executive Jerry Newby, Montgomery, Ala.; Gary Pearman, an auto dealer from Huntsville; Gadsden, Ala., auto executive Ronald Watkins; and Montgomery pastor Jay L. Wolf.  The trustees earlier had been affirmed by the Alabama State Baptist Convention.

Birmingham attorney W. Clark Watson was re-elected board chairman.  Other officers are former Alabama Gov. Albert P. Brewer of Birmingham, vice chairman and Executive Committee chairman; Birmingham businessman John E. Bell, Jr., secretary; and retired businesswoman Wynema J. Lowry of Cullman, assistant secretary.

Jenna Knox Cassese and William J. Stevens of Birmingham were recognized for their service as trustees. They had reached term limits as trustees. Stukes received a plaque recognizing her late mother, Barbara Thorne of Jasper, for her service on the board.

Trustees approved candidates for December graduation and a new university-wide record retention and disposition policy for the university. Harry B. Brock III, Samford’s vice president for business affairs, explained that the university had not previously had a university-wide, comprehensive policy.

Brock and the business affairs staff reported on the 2010-11 budget planning process and noted that Samford’ endowment was valued at about $221 million, up about 5 percent for the current fiscal year.  As a result, net assets are up $11.6 million over the previous year.

R. Phil Kimrey, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, reported that applications are running about 4 percent ahead of the previous year. W. Randall Pittman, vice president for university advancement, reported that giving has been impacted by the global economic situation but that year-to-date giving from alumni and parents is well ahead of previous years.

Sarah C. Latham, vice president for operations and planning, reported on a new university-wide educational program, “100 Grand to Green,” to save $100,000 on utility costs over the next year.

The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is April 20, 2010.

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.