Published on October 12, 2021 by Morgan Black  
front view of robinson hall

In June 2021, Cumberland School of Law Dean Henry C. "Corky" Strickland announced his intention to step down from the deanship following the 2021-22 academic year. On Friday, Oct. 8, Samford University announced a committee who will aid in a nationwide search for Strickland's successor.

Strickland has served Samford and Cumberland School of Law for more than 33 years, eight of which have been in his role as dean. He will return to his full-time faculty position as the Ethel P. Malugen professor of law after this academic year followed by his planned retirement in 2024.

"I am grateful for his service and am also grateful for this newly formed committee," said J. Michael Hardin, Samford's provost and vice president of academic affairs. "I know their leadership and guidance will enable us to find a person of strong integrity who will lead Cumberland and help it continue to thrive for years to come."

The search committee will be led by co-chairs Douglas A. Sweeney, dean of Beeson Divinity School, and Judge Karon Bowdre, senior judge, Northern District of Alabama, United States District Court, Samford University and Cumberland School of Law alumna, and former member of the Samford University Board of Trustees.

Other members of the committee include:

  • Todd Carlisle, president and shareholder, Dentons Sirote, Samford University and Cumberland School of Law alumnus, and vice-chair of the Samford University Board of Overseers
  • Judge John Carroll, Cumberland School of Law alumnus, former dean, professor of law
  • Judge Stephen Dillard, Court of Appeals of Georgia, Samford University alumnus
  • Denise Gregory, associate provost for Student Success and Diversity and Inclusion, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry
  • Allen Howell, Cumberland School of Law assistant dean of external relations and career development
  • Jonathan Jenkins, Cumberland School of Law third-year student
  • Marci Johns, senior associate provost
  • Anne Marovich, Cumberland School of Law director of alumni relations
  • Tracey Roberts, Cumberland School of Law associate professor of law and director of assessment
  • Lee Trepanier, chair and professor, Howard College of Arts and Sciences
  • Clark Watson, Cumberland School of Law alumnus and Samford University general counsel
  • Matt Woodham, Cumberland School of Law alumnus, and assistant professor of law and assistant director of trial advocacy

The first meeting of the committee will be held on Oct. 22, 2021.

"This is a special time for Cumberland as we prepare to celebrate the school’s 175th milestone anniversary next year," Hardin added. "I know the next dean will follow in the footsteps of Dean Strickland and continue to advance the school’s mission to educate a diverse community of students with knowledge and practical skills, equipping them to become highly competent, ethical lawyers committed to professionalism and public service."

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.