Posted by Philip Poole on 2011-03-03

J. Howard Finch has been named dean of Samford University’s Brock School of Business, effective July 1. He also will have the faculty rank of professor, pending final approval of his faculty status by the university’s board of trustees.

Finch’s appointment was announced by J. Bradley Creed, Samford’s provost and executive vice president. The selection follows a nationwide search to replace Beck A. Taylor, who resigned in May 2010 to become president of Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash.

“Finding a new dean who was committed to the ascending prestige of Samford’s business school was critical to our continued success in business education,” Creed said. “Dr. Finch’s strong academic credentials and professional experience, in addition to his current administrative experience as an associate dean at a major university, combine to make him just the right person to lead us forward.”

Harry B. Brock Jr., the veteran Birmingham banker and Samford trustee for whom the business school is named, echoed Creed’s assessment of Finch.

“The thing that got my attention was his commitment to his faith and how that resonates with the university’s mission,” Brock said. “I think he will lead us well in all aspects of the business school.”

“Samford offers an extremely high quality educational experience,” Finch said. “The Christian mission of the university and the chance to return to Alabama were both highly attractive to me. The Brock School of Business is well-positioned as a major force in both undergraduate and graduate business education in the Southeast, and I look forward to working with the faculty and staff, as well as the greater Birmingham business community, to continue to grow its influence.”

Finch currently is Alico Chair of Financial Management and Planning at Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, where he has taught since 2000. He previously was associate dean of FGCU’s Lutgert College of Business and department chair in economics and finance. Earlier, he was on the faculty of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, where he taught finance and was executive director of the M.B.A. program. Before his teaching career, Finch worked in the corporate sector as a sales representative and financial consultant.

A native of Dothan, Ala., Finch was raised in Decatur, Ga. He holds a bachelor of business administration degree from North Georgia College and State University, Dahlonega. He earned the master of business administration degree from Mercer University in Georgia and master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees in finance from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

Finch also has been widely published and is a frequent consultant and speaker on the regional and national levels.

Samford business professor Jennings Marshall chaired the 10-person advisory committee that assisted with the search process. Committee members included business school faculty, staff, students and alumni representatives, as well as other university representatives.

“Howard Finch has exactly the background in higher education that we need,” Marshall said. “He developed and implemented a plan for the construction of a new school of business building at his present university. He has extensive experience with the [Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business] accreditation process, and he will work tirelessly to enhance our presence and reputation with the Birmingham business community.”


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.