Published on September 28, 2021 by Holly Gainer  
pendulum and seal SD09202154

(Story updated on Oct. 15, 2021)

Samford University’s Board of Trustees welcomed five new trustees,  authorized a bond issue of up to $65 million, and approved new faculty appointments, the fiscal 2020-2021 audit and the naming of two athletic facilities at its fall meeting on Sept. 10.

Five new members have joined the Samford University Board of Trustees. Rev. Dr. John Lovelace Cantelow, III, Julie Collier, Brent Fielder, Keith Kirkland and Mechelle Wilder were elected to four-year terms. All five new trustees are Samford alumni. Learn more about each of them here.

Current trustees reelected to additional four-year terms were Danny Wood, Pastor-Emeritus, Shades Mountain Baptist Church; Robert Holmes, Jr., retired senior vice president, Alabama Power Company; Sheri P. McKean, church and civic volunteer; and Andy D. Birchfield, an attorney with Beasley Allen Law Firm. Officers of the board reelected for 2021-2022 were William J. Stevens, retired president and chief executive officer, Motion Industries, chair; Robert Holmes, Jr., retired senior vice president, Alabama Power Company, vice chair; Victor E. Nichol, Jr., retired president and chief executive officer, First National Banker’s Bank, secretary; and Sherri Foyt, former elementary school teacher, assistant secretary.

Trustees approved a resolution to authorize financing and refinancing of capital improvements and the issuance of up to $65 million in revenue bonds. Approximately $23 million will be allocated and applied to capital improvements related to the university’s campus master plan, and approximately $42 million will be allocated to the payment, redemption and retirement of outstanding debt. On Oct. 14, 2021, Moody’s Investors Service reaffirmed the university’s investment grade bond rating of A-3 stable.

Ten new faculty members were approved in School of the Arts, Howard College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Health Professions, Moffett and Sanders School of Nursing and the School of Public Health. Trustees also approved the renaming of three campus initiatives, including the Faculty Success Center, The Writing Center and the Center for Women in Ministry.   

Phil Kimrey, Samford's vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, reported on fall enrollment across the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs. He anticipated the university would soon announce its 13th consecutive year of enrollment growth.  Trustees also received an update on the work of the university’s Task Force on Racial Justice, which was established in June 2020 to advance the university’s commitment to promote and support racial diversity across campus.

Trustees were advised that the university’s endowment fund was approximately $357.28 million as of June 30, 2021. A detailed update on the campus master plan and current renovation projects was provided, and a resolution authorizing financing for forthcoming capital improvements planned was adopted.

Two athletic spaces were named in honor of impactful former members of the university community. The soccer field in the Samford Track and Soccer Stadium will be named Shauna Yelton Field in honor of the beloved former Director of University Health Services and the late wife of Samford’s head soccer coach, Todd Yelton, who lost her battle to cervical cancer in November of 2015.

The board also named the Track and Soccer Stadium in honor of Cameron Bean, an award-winning member of Samford’s track & field and cross country teams from 2005-2010. Bean died in 2015 when he was struck by a motorist while on an evening run in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was inducted into the Samford Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.

Members of 30 advisory boards across the university were approved for the 2021-2022 academic year. Advisory boards consist of alumni, parents, donors and friends of the university who provide advocacy, support and guidance for various academic, co-curricular and philanthropic programs.

The university’s Nondiscrimination Statement and its Mission, Vision and Core Values statements were reaffirmed and approved by the board.

The Forever Samford campaign was reported to have received cash, property and pledges exceeding $243.4 million, representing a 20% increase over the university’s previous capital campaign. Trustees also received reports on Samford’s response to COVID-19, academic affairs, athletics, student life and marketing. 

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.