FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2003
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.
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
Carl F. Bailey, retired president of BellSouth
Telecommunications; Joe Dean Jr., director of athletics; John
C. Evins, retired president
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
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
with First Financial Group of the South Inc. and president of the college's
National Alumni Association.
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.