FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2006
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern College Chancellor Dr. Neal R. Berte has announced that he will retire from the institution effective Dec. 31, 2006.
Berte was appointed to the chancellor position in July 2004 upon his retirement after nearly 29 years as president of the liberal arts college.
“Dr. Berte graciously agreed at the request of the Board of Trustees when he retired as president to stay on and serve as chancellor of Birmingham-Southern to assist in the transition of then new President Dr. David Pollick,” said W. Michael Atchison, current chair of the executive committee of BSC's Board of Trustees and chair of the board when Berte retired.
“Now that the presidential transition is complete, Dr. Berte has expressed that he wants to spend more time with Anne, his wife of 42 years, and his children and 12 grandchildren, and to travel and continue his public service and United Methodist Church work.”
Berte became president of a fledgling Birmingham-Southern in 1976 and over the next three decades helped the institution grow in size and stature. During this period, the endowment grew from under $11 million to more than $135 million, enrollment more than doubled and the quality of the student academic profile strengthened, faculty and staff salaries were increased substantially, and the college was able to achieve a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Gifts totaling more than $273 million were received and more than 25 new academic and campus facilities and other major improvements were completed. More than 335 individuals joined the college's planned giving organization, The Endowment Builders Society, and bequests continue to play a major part in giving to the college with well more than $16 million received in the last two fiscal years.
In his role as chancellor, Berte has assisted in the presidential transition, while at the same time continuing his community service work, particularly in his role as co-chair of the 16th Street Baptist Church Restoration, chairman of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Board, and member of the UAB Health Services Foundation Board.
“It has been an honor to assist our new president and the college in this time of transition,” Berte said. “I am particularly grateful to the Board of Trustees during this time of change in the life of the college and in our lives.
“Anne and I feel richly blessed to have been a part of the Birmingham-Southern College family for these 30-plus years, and we will continue to be supportive of the college in any way we can in the years ahead.”
Pollick, who succeeded Berte as the college's 12th president in July 2004, said that it is a decision he both respects and regrets.
“While we will miss his daily presence and influence on campus, I appreciate his decision to devote his time and his talents entirely to his family, his church, and his community service work,” said Pollick. “He has devoted his time and talents to our institution, and, while we have no right to ask, I am grateful for Neal's continued willingness to never be more than a phone call away.”