Published on December 17, 2013 by Philip Poole  

Samford University President Andrew Westmoreland has been elected chair of the board of trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). He will serve during 2014.

The election came during the recent SACSCOC annual meeting in Atlanta.

SACSCOC is the 11-state regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees. It serves Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, as well as Latin America and other international sites approved by the Commission on Colleges. There currently are 802 institutions accredited by SACSCOC.

SACS was founded in 1895, and the Commission on Colleges (COC) was founded in 1912. Samford has been accredited by SACSCOC since 1920, and accreditation most recently was reaffirmed in 2007. Samford's next reaffirmation is scheduled for 2017.

Westmoreland had been an SACSCOC executive council member and chair of the Alabama state delegation. He has been active with SACSCOC for many years, serving as an accreditation consultant and as a member of several site visit teams. He also served on many site teams for the Higher Learning Commission, one of the seven regional accreditation agencies, before moving to Alabama.

The 77-member SACSCOC board of trustees guides the organization's work to implement the accreditation process. The 13-member executive council is the executive arm of the board, with primary responsibility for interpreting commission policy and procedure. It also functions on behalf of the board between sessions.

"Dr. Westmoreland's election to this prestigious post is affirmation both of his leadership in higher education circles and of the stature that Samford University has among its peers," said William J. Stevens. "He is an outstanding administrator and will be able to use his strong leadership skills to enhance the important work of our regional accreditation organization."

Stevens is CEO of Motion Industries in Birmingham and current chair of Samford's board of trustees.

Westmoreland has served as Samford's president since 2006 and is the second Samford president to serve as SACSCOC chair. His predecessor, the late Thomas E. Corts, served from 1992-94.

Westmoreland is Samford's 18th president since its founding in 1841. He previously served as president of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. In addition to his SACSCOC service, he has been chair, Council of Presidents, Southern Conference; board chair, Alabama Independent Colleges and Universities; board chair, International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities; director, National Association for Independent Colleges and Universities; board chair, Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities; chair, Consortium for Global Education; board of directors, Birmingham (Ala.) Business Alliance; and trustee, Baptist Health System, Birmingham.

Westmoreland has led the most comprehensive fundraising campaign in Samford history. As of Nov. 30, more than $183 million in gifts and pledges had been received toward a $200 million goal. The campaign is set to end in December 2014, but already is the largest fundraising campaign in university history. Samford also has experienced record enrollments for four consecutive years.


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.