Samford University's board of trustees executive committee approved five new faculty members and a new endowed professorship in a regular meeting July 23 in Birmingham.  The group also heard an encouraging report about enrollment prospects for the fall semester.

New faculty members, as proposed by Brad Creed, Samford's provost and executive vice president, are:

Deborah J. Burks, professor of pharmaceutical, social and administrative sciences; Preston Hite, associate professor of interior architecture; Abbey M. Holthaus, assistant professor of nursing; Amber Patrick, instructor of nursing and Carol J. Ratcliffe, associate professor of nursing.

Jeremy Thornton was appointed to the Dwight Moody Beeson Chair of Business.  A faculty member in Samford's Brock School of Business since 2004, Thornton succeeds Betsy Holloway, who recently was named to a new position as Samford's chief marketing officer.

Samford President Andrew Westmoreland told the board members that the enrollment picture looked good for the fall semester.  He said weekly monitoring of Samford's enrollment picture by the office of institutional effectiveness projects expectations of another year of record enrollment and freshman class size, as well as an increase in the freshman class for Samford's Cumberland School of Law.  Samford enrolled a record 4,758 students last fall.

Dr. Westmoreland also told trustees that his visit last week to Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom had gone well, and that joint programs with the ecumenical university are a possibility.  Samford and Liverpool Hope are both members of the Consortium for Global Education.

Phil Kimrey, Samford's vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, said 767 freshmen already had enrolled.  That figure would top Samford's previous record of 743 freshmen set in 1997.  "The academic quality of these students is on a par with last year's class," said Kimrey.

Buck Brock, Samford's vice president for business and financial affairs, noted that Samford projects a positive net operating margin for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.  He also said Samford's West Village residence hall project, which will add two new buildings this fall, was on budget and on time.  The additional buildings will bring Samford's residence capacity to about 2,300.

Lisa Imbragulio, Samford's assistant vice president and general counsel reporting for the investment and audit committee, said Samford finished the last fiscal year June 30 with an endowment of $251 million.

Westmoreland also shared a report from Randy Pittman, Samford's vice president for university advancement, indicating that the University received $19.2 million in gift income during fiscal 2013.  That brought the total for the current "Campaign for Samford" to $171.8 million from 16,040 donors through June 30.  Pittman is in South Africa on a service learning trip with Samford students sponsored by the University's Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership.


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.