Posted by Philip Poole on 2006-05-01

The naming of a new campus arena, approval of budget and faculty appointments were highlights of the regular spring meeting April 20 of Samford University's board of trustees. It was the final trustees meeting for Samford President Thomas E. Corts. The meeting preceded a banquet for the retiring Corts, and his wife Marla.

Pete Hanna Arena is the name designated for Samford University's $32 million sport-fitness and special events center. Trustees chose to honor Hanna, president, chief executive officer and chairman of Hanna Steel Corporation of Fairfield.

The new 132,000-square-foot, $32 million arena/multipurpose facility is scheduled for completion in late 2007. Hanna is founder/president of Hanna Steel Corp. and has been a member of Samford's board of overseers since its founding in 1995. He attended Samford in the late 1950s and played on the football team.

"Pete Hanna is one of the outstanding unheralded citizens of this community," said Corts. "He has a great heart. This man has done more quiet, unknown charitable kindnesses than any man I know. That makes it all the more fitting that Samford honor him in this way. He has built a business on Christian principles and on concern for his employees--all the while helping others."

Trustees approved an operating expenses budget of $122.9 million for the 2006-07 fiscal year, which begins June 1. The budget is an increase over the 2006-06 operating budget of $115.8 million. Tuition revenue is expected to be about $76.4 million. The scholarships/grants budget increased from $15 million to $17.8 million.

Trustees also approved the title president emeritus for Corts, effective June 1. Corts is retiring May 31 after more than 23 years as Samford's president. He will have no official, ongoing responsibilities with the title, according to trustee chair William J. Stevens of Birmingham.

"We respect Dr. Corts' wishes that he did not want any official responsibilities after retirement," Stevens said, "but we know that he will always have a distinctive place in the life of Samford. This title recognizes our perpetual affection for Dr. Corts."

Two new degree programs were approved and changes were approved, including a new bachelor of science in business administration degree in economics and a joint master of theological studies/juris doctor degree between Samford's Beeson Divinity School and Cumberland School of Law.

The bachelor of general studies degree was changed to a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies.

New faculty members elected were:

Harold Goss Jr., assistant librarian. Goss previously was a reference librarian at Auburn University.

David Robert Luthin, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences. Luthin has been an associate director and project leader for Pfizer Global Research and Development in LaJolla, Calif.

Mi Young Sydney Park, assistant professor of divinity. Park currently is assistant professor of New Testament at Crown College, St. Bonifacius, Minn.

Onsurang Pipatchaipoom, assistant professor of economics. Pipatchaipoom is assistant professor of business at Newman College in Wichita, Kan.

Jeffrey S. Powell, assistant professor of mathematics. Powell has been completing his doctoral studies at Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.

Trustees approved promotions to full professor for Marshall E. Cates, pharmacy; Ginger S. Frost, history; Margaret P. Findlay, nursing; and Perry A. Tompkins, physics.

Other faculty members granted promotions to the associate or assistant professor rank were Charles S. Asbill, pharmacy; Robert Max Baber, geography; Miriam A. Cherry, law; Steven F. Donaldson, mathematics and computer sciences; Emily A. Hynds, mathematics; Kelly C. Jensen, world languages; Mary E. McCullough, world languages; Charles D. Sands IV, exercise science and sports medicine; Teresa W. Wilborn, pharmacy, Barbara H. Cartledge, business; and Robin D. Snyder, art.

Five faculty members were granted tenure, including Asbill; Hynds; Jensen; Charles D. Sands III, pharmacy; and Beck A. Taylor, business.

Retired faculty members Albert P. Brewer, law, and Donald E. Wilson, history, were granted the title professor emeritus.

In addition to actions, trustees heard a report that about $25.7 million has been committed to date for the "Promise for All Generations" campaign. Progress continues on the various campus improvement projects that are part of "The Promise," trustees were told. In addition to the arena, construction continues on the new music building/recital hall, tennis complex and campus-wide updating and expansion of heating and cooling systems.

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.