BSC Office of Communications

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October 6, 2003

Birmingham-Southern College announces committee, national firm to guide search process for new president

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—A group consisting of Birmingham-Southern faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees has been chosen to serve as a search committee to select a successor to retiring President Dr. Neal R. Berte.

Berte, who has been president of the private liberal arts college for more than 28 years, announced on Oct. 2 his pending retirement. He subsequently was named chancellor and president by the college's Board of Trustees and will be available to assist when the new president takes office.

W. Michael Atchison, chairman of Birmingham-Southern's Board of Trustees and chairman of the search committee, said he hopes to have the search completed and a new president on campus by late spring 2004.

Those selected to serve with Atchison on the search committee include:

Carl F. Bailey, retired president of BellSouth Telecommunications; Joe Dean Jr., director of athletics; John C. Evins, retired president of Hart-Greer Co.; Bishop Robert E. Fannin, bishop of the Birmingham Area of the United Methodist Church; Dr. Stewart A. Jackson, dean of the chapel; Susan E. Kinney, director of human resources; Dudley Long, vice president for student affairs; Bernard Mays, a senior accounting major and president of the Student Government Association; Dr. Lester C. Seigel, Joseph Hugh Thomas Professor of Music and chair of the Division of Fine and Performing Arts; Dr. H. Wayne Shew, Ada Rittenhouse Snavely Professor of Biology; Dr. Jerry E. Sisson, assistant to the bishop and lay ministries of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church; Dr. Robert J. Slagter, professor of political science and chair of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences; James T. Stephens, president of EBSCO Industries Inc.; Stewart Stokes of Huntsville, a junior biology/psychology major and first vice president of the Student Government Association; Dr. Tara Sudderth, Donald C. Brabston Professor of Accounting and dean of the Division of Business and Graduate Programs; Dr. John D. Tatter, professor of English and chair of the Division of Humanities; Dr. Paulette B. Thompson of Montgomery, retired director of human resources development for the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation; Bill Wagnon, vice president for communications; and DeLynn Moring Zell, certified financial planner/shareholder with First Financial Group of the South Inc. and president of the college's National Alumni Association.

Bailey, Evins, Fannin, Sisson, Stephens, and Thompson are members of the college's Board of Trustees. Atchison, Evins, Seigel, Sisson, Sudderth, Thompson, and Zell are Birmingham-Southern graduates.

Lane Estes, executive assistant to the president, will serve as committee liaison.

“Replacing Neal Berte will be one of the most difficult and most important decisions in the history of this institution,” said Atchison, a 1965 Birmingham-Southern graduate and an attorney and senior partner with Starnes and Atchison in Birmingham. “He has meant so much to Birmingham-Southern for so long and has guided the college to national stature in so many areas that were not even conceivable when he arrived on campus in 1976.

“Finding a successor will not be an easy task, but we know that the presidency of this college is one of the jewels in American private higher education, and we plan to hire the best person available who will be the best possible leader for Birmingham-Southern College.”

Atchison said that Dr. Michael R. Ferrari of EFL Associates of Overland Park, Kan., will assist with the national search. EFL is a management consulting firm specializing in executive searches. Ferrari retired in May 2003 as chancellor of Texas Christian University. He also has served as president of Drake University and as interim president of Bowling Green State University.



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