Published on December 7, 2021 by Kristen Padilla  
Beeson Advisory Board Dec 2021
Victor Hanson, Doug Sweeney, David Byers, Collin Hansen

Two new co-chairs of Beeson Divinity School’s advisory board were named on Nov. 30 during its biannual board meeting after current board chair, Victor Hanson, announced he was stepping out of that role earlier this year. 

Hanson, retired president and publisher of The Birmingham News, was a founding member and chair of the school’s advisory board, which began in 2012. A former president of the Southern Newspapers Publishers Association and an active member at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Hanson has been instrumental in helping the school with fundraising for strategic initiatives such as renovations to the student commons area and an endowed scholarship in the name of the school’s founding dean, Timothy George. During the meeting, the board members recognized and honored his nine years of service as Advisory Board chair.

“Victor Hanson and his wife Mary have proven themselves to be the best kinds of supporters a divinity school could have,” said Beeson’s Dean Douglas Sweeney. “They are prayer partners, strategists, donors and cherished friends. I’m deeply grateful to them for all they’ve meant to our school and to Wilma and me personally.”

David Byers, managing principal of Capital Strategies in Birmingham, and Collin Hansen, vice president for content and editor in chief of The Gospel Coalition, will succeed Hanson as co-chairs of the 27-member board.

“I’m very excited about the leadership of both of our new chairs,” Sweeney said. “Like Victor Hanson before him, David Byers is a faithful Christian, a lifelong learner and a successful businessman, well-connected in our region. Collin Hansen is one of the leading voices on contemporary affairs in the Christian world today. Together these friends will give us all the help we need to follow God’s leading into the next phase of Beeson’s life and ministry.”

David Byers

David Byers is Managing Principal for Capital Strategies Group, Inc., directing the areas of Wealth Transfer and Executive Benefits for the firm. David also currently serves as Chairman of the Board of M Financial Holdings Incorporated (MFH) and M Financial Re, the leading life insurance distribution organization serving high net worth individuals and companies in the U.S. and U.K. through 140 member firms. He is past president and member of the Board of Directors of FINSECA, (formerly the Association of Advanced Life Underwriters, AALU). Byers is a frequent speaker on complex tax and insurance issues for estate planning institutes and continuing legal education courses involving tax, insurance and estate planning issues, including ACTEC, the Notre Dame Tax Institute and the Tulane Estate Planning Institute. He served for 16 years on the Alabama State Board of Education. He also serves on the Board of the National Christian Foundation (Alabama). Byers holds a B.A. in English and Political Science from the University of Alabama (Birmingham), a J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and an LL.M. (Taxation) from New York University. Byers and his wife, Karen, have three children and two granddaughters. They are members of Third Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Birmingham, where he serves as a member of the session.


Collin Hansen

Collin Hansen serves as vice president for content and editor in chief of The Gospel Coalition. He hosts the Gospelbound podcast and has written and contributed to many books, most recently Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ Is Essential. He has published with The New York Times and The Washington Post and offered commentary for CNN, Fox News, NPR, BBC, ABC News, and PBS NewsHour. He edited Our Secular Age: Ten Years of Reading and Applying Charles Taylor and The New City Catechism Devotional, among other books. He and his wife, Lauren, and their three children belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Hansen is an adjunct professor at Beeson Divinity School, teaching Cultural Apologetics during InterTerm 2022, and was a founding Advisory Board member. Hansen holds a B.S. from Northwestern University and an M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.


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.