Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2003-10-20

Samford University graduates who have achieved success in four different career fields have been named Alumni of the Year.

Honorees are: U.S. District Court judge Karon O. Bowdre, Birmingham; breast cancer surgeon and researcher William C. Dooley, Oklahoma City, Okla.; retired Baptist minister and denominational leader Randall Lolley, Raleigh, N.C.; and National Teacher of the Year Betsy Rogers, Birmingham.

The four will be recognized at an alumni dinner Friday, Oct. 24, during Homecoming weekend activities.

Bowdre, a 1977 graduate, also holds a juris doctor degree from Samford’s Cumberland School of Law. She was named to her position on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in 2001. She taught at Cumberland during 1990-2001, and was director of the school’s Legal Research and Writing program. Prior to joining the law faculty, she practiced with the Birmingham law firm of Rives & Peterson.

Dooley, a 1978 alumnus and a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, holds the G. Rainey Williams chair in surgical breast oncology and is division director, surgical oncology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He is a former faculty member and director of the Johns Hopkins Breast Center, Baltimore, Md. The former Birmingham resident will present a Homecoming lecture on scientific research Friday at 2 p.m. in the Samford Sciencenter Planetarium.

Lolley, a 1952 graduate, holds a master of theology degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of theology degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was president of Southeastern Seminary from 1974 until 1988, and was pastor of First Baptist Church, Greensboro, N.C., until retirement. He was moderator of the North Carolina chapter of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship during 1997-98.

Rogers earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Samford in 1974 and also holds masters, educational specialist and doctor of education degrees from Samford. She has taught first and second grade at Leeds Elementary since 1985. She holds certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Rogers was named 2003 National Teacher of the Year by President George W. Bush in a White House ceremony in April.

The alumni banquet honoring the four will renew the tradition of the candlelight dinner. Tickets are $25 per person and may be reserved through noon Thursday (OCT. 23). For information, call the Samford alumni office at (205) 726-2807.

Samford Homecoming activities continue on Saturday with reunions, hot air balloon rides, barbecue luncheon. The Samford Bulldogs take on Ohio Valley Conference football opponent Tennessee State at 2:30 p.m. in Seibert Stadium. The Homecoming court will be recognized during halftime.

Nickel Creek will perform in concert Saturday night. Weekend activities conclude Sunday with a 9:30 a.m. worship service led by 1960 alumnus Dr. Bill Turner in Hodges Chapel.


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.