Brock Brought New Concept To Staid Industry, Brewer Notes in Business School Dedication
Posted by William Nunnelley on 2008-01-21
Former Alabama Governor Albert P. Brewer Thursday paid tribute to retired banker Harry B. Brock, Jr., and his 45 years of service and support of Samford University during dedication ceremonies for the new Brock School of Business at Samford.
Brewer, a Samford trustee and retired law professor at the school, said the dedication also marked the commitment of the Brock School of Business to being "a world-class business school with an emphasis on entrepreneurship in an environment of the highest standard of business ethics."
Samford announced in December that its business school would be named for Brock, a longtime trustee and generous supporter of the university. Brock committed to helping build an endowment of at least $100 million for the business school.
"He wants this University to have one of the top business schools in the United States," Brewer said in his dedication remarks. "He wants the Brock School of Business to be a breeding place for young entrepreneurs. He wants the Brock School of Business to foster a culture of business ethics which will be a model for the rest of the country."
Brewer noted that Brock was from the hill country of Fort Payne, Ala., a section known "for its fiercely independent and hard-working people, traits that Harry exemplifies." He traced Brock's legendary career in Alabama banking, from his early days of taking on old established banks to his successful spreading of his Central Bank franchise across state lines to Texas.
"He brought a new banking concept to that staid old industry," Brewer said. "He introduced the customer oriented, retail banking concept which is widespread now but was contrary to banking custom at that time."
Brock led a 1980 effort for passage of a statewide bank merger bill that allowed bank branching across county lines, Brewer noted.
"This farsighted legislation was a direct cause of Birmingham's becoming home to four major bank holding companies with the resulting benefit to the local and statewide economy," he said.
Later, Central Bank (now Compass Bank) became the first in Alabama to own a bank in another state and the first out-of-state bank to own a Texas bank.
Brock's first involvement with Samford came in 1955, when he helped raise funds for the school's new Lakeshore Drive campus. He joined the Samford board of trustees in 1962, and has played a leading role in supporting the institution since that time.
"Harry Brock's unselfish commitment to Samford has impressed many people," said Brewer.
At the close of the program, Samford Board of Trustees Chairman Clark Watson presented Brock with a framed proclamation commending him for his leadership and service to the University.
ABOUT SAMFORD UNIVERSITY -- Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 3rd among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,509 students from 45 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.