Published on May 8, 2019 by Morgan Black  
Finch Family May2019

On Friday, May 3, the Brock School of Business faculty, staff and members of the dean’s advisory board, along with family and friends honored Dean Howard Finch with a surprise reception as he prepares to assume the role of Samford University’s senior associate provost on July 1.

After networking with each other, several members of the faculty and staff provided remarks to honor Finch as he moves into his new position.

“We have universal support for the Christian mission of the University within the faculty,” professor of economics Jennings Marshall said. “Howard is one of our best examples of that support for the mission of the University.”

Marshall proceeded, “This is without a doubt the most collegial faculty I have ever been a part of and Howard has had a significant role in creating the environment we all enjoy today. He is a great example of a servant leader and we all wish him well.”

Assistant professor of finance Rusty Yerkes referred to Finch as the driver of the “Brock School of Business bus” and Yerkes referenced viewing the bus from the back seat.

He stated, “The driver has a steady hand. The driver has the right people on the bus. The driver knows where he has been, where he is and where he is going. The driver has unshakeable integrity. I would trust the driver with my kids on board.”

Additionally, Yerkes gathered statements from other faculty members. A few noted:

“Howard’s thoughtful leadership has made Brock School of Business a wonderful place to teach and work. I have felt supported while also feeling the freedom to bring my strengths to the classroom with the trust of his leadership.”

“One of the things I most appreciate about Howard is that he’s generous with his time and ‘in the moment’ when you’re with him. Although he has hundreds of more important things to deal with, when I’m in his office he’s 100% focused on our conversation, and I never feel like I’m being rushed off so he can move on. He’s a great advocate for his faculty. As a junior faculty member, I appreciate how he’s just as focused on my success and attainment of tenure as I am.”

“Howard has been an inspirational leader. His commitment to the Christian mission is evident in his leadership that inspired all of us to strive for our best. His leadership style has been empowering junior faculty to maximize their potential, and he has been great at creating an encouraging Christian environment for the faculty. Howard has been deeply invested in the hiring and growth of junior faculty. He truly cares about what is best for the business school, for the university, and for each individual junior faculty. He shows his care for the junior faculty in both words and deeds.”

From the staff perspective, administrative assistant Yolanda Long shared, “When Dean Finch arrived, his leadership and calm personality completely changed the culture for the staff. He's empowered us to do our jobs without being micromanaged and has made us feel valued every day. Dean Finch truly is a servant leader.”

President Andrew Westmoreland and dean’s advisory board member Gary Cooney also shared comments in regards to Finch’s outstanding leadership and service to Brock School of Business and to Samford University.

Following the remarks, incoming interim dean Chad Carson presented Finch and his family with a proclamation and a self-portrait to be hung in the dean’s conference room.

Finch served as the Brock School of Business dean for eight years from 2011-2019, the second longest tenure of any Samford business school dean. Notable accomplishments of his leadership include the design and construction of Cooney Hall; the facilitation of world-class instruction, faculty recruitment, development and research; the expansion of the undergraduate and graduate educational offerings; the achievement of maintenance of accreditation by AACSB International; and the continuance of vital relationships with constituents and the business community. During his tenure, Brock School of Business gained national and international recognition for its faculty and staff and became widely known for its commitment to excellence in student-centered Christian business higher education. 

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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. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 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 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.