Posted by William Nunnelley on 2008-10-01

Paula and Rod Hovater of Roswell, Ga., and Bennie Bumpers of Birmingham will be honored as Samford University Alumni of the Year during Homecoming Oct. 24-26. They are being recognized for their professional and civic leadership and longtime support of Samford.

The Alumni of the Year will be recognized at various times throughout the weekend including Samford's Homecoming football game with The Citadel on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m. in Seibert Stadium.

Homecoming will provide an event-filled weekend of reunions, meals, musical programs and other activities. For the complete schedule, go to To register online, go to

Paula Hovater, a 1969 Samford graduate, owns the successful Atlanta consulting firm, Public Affairs, which specializes in event planning and promotion. She has worked with such organizations as the Atlanta Olympics Committee, the Carter Center, the Atlanta Press Club for its launching of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' autobiography and others.

She and her husband, Rod, served as copresidents of the Samford Alumni Association during 2002-03. They are members of the advisory board of Samford's Brock School of Business, and she serves on the board's external relations committee.

Rod Hovater, a 1967 graduate, is client manager for Compuware, a Fortune 1000 mainframe and distribution software company. He served previously for 28 years managing and directing marketing programs for International Business Machines (IBM) and 10 years as vice president of sales for Computer Associates.

He has been a member of Atlanta's Chick-fil-A Bowl committee for 20 years, and serves currently as a member of the marketing and team selection committee and vice chair of the selection process. He was named the Samford Business School Alumnus of the Year in 1993.

Bumpers, a 1963 graduate, retired in 2007 as vice president of risk management for Vulcan Materials Company, where he began his career as a claims investigator in 1967. He is past president of the North Alabama chapter of the Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriters, and a three-term state chapter president and two-term national director of the Risk and Insurance Management Society.

Bumpers and his wife, Sonya, served as copresidents of the Samford Alumni Association during 2003-04. He is a member of the Brock School of Business advisory board and its mentoring committee, and a member of Samford's Bulldog Club advisory board.

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.