Published on September 15, 2023 by Holly Gainer  
Board of Trustees Headshots 2023

Judge Karon O. Bowdre ’77, J.D. ’80, senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, has been elected as chair of Samford University’s Board of Trustees.

Bowdre, who has served as a trustee since 2008, previously served as the vice chair of the board, chair of the Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee.

Bowdre joined the federal court in 2001 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. She assumed senior status on April 25, 2020. She served as chief judge of the Northern District of Alabama from 2013 to 2019. Prior to her judicial appointment, Bowdre was a member of Samford’s Cumberland School of Law faculty from 1990-01.

Karon Bowdre and Bill Stevens

Bowdre was elected as board chair Sept. 9. She succeeds William “Bill” J. Stevens of Birmingham. Last year, the Board of Trustees elected Stevens as a Life Trustee, having served on the board for more than 20 years. He first joined the board in 1997 and has since served in several leadership roles, including trustee chair for various terms totaling 16 years.

Other new trustee officers elected for the 2023-24 term are: financial advisor Andrew B. Cundiff ’95 of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, vice chair and chair of the executive committee; former educator Sherri Foyt ’90 of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, secretary; and corporate executive Brent Fielder ’08 of Atlanta, Georgia, assistant secretary.

Five new board members were elected for the 2023-27 term including new trustees Brian L. Kelly ’87; Alan Long ’95; and Yvette M. Richardson and former trustees W. Randall “Randy” Pittman and Beth Thorne Stukes returning to active service.

Brian KellyBrian L. Kelly ’87, lives in Alexandria, Virginia, and is vice president for global public policy for Sempra, a Fortune 300 energy infrastructure company with a market capitalization of over $50 billion and assets of more than $72 billion. As a corporate officer with Sempra, he helps lead the company in its mission to become North America’s premier energy infrastructure company, focusing on sustainable business practices and investments that will help advance the global energy transition through electrification and decarbonization in the markets it serves. Sempra serves the energy needs of 40 million customers in California, Texas and Louisiana. Prior to Sempra, Brian spent 10 years as an executive in the media industry. He worked for the Golf Channel, ESPN, ABC, Comcast and Disney. He is a former member of Samford’s Board of Overseers and is an active leader in the university’s Alumni Association. He is married to Karen and has two children.

Alan LongAlan Long, M.D. ’95, is the founder of the Skin Diagnostics Group. He earned his Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Samford and attended medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he also completed his residency in anatomic and clinical pathology, as well as dermatopathology and hematopathology fellowships. Long further honed his expertise in dermatopathology through intensive educational opportunities with Harvard Medical School, the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, and the Institute of Immunofluorescence. He is married to Dina, who earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Samford’s Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, and has eight children, including a daughter who is currently a senior at Samford.

Yvette RichardsonYvette M. Richardson, M.S.E. ’80, has served as a member of the Alabama State Board of Education, representing District 4, since 2010. District 4 encompasses six counties and 14 school systems. Richardson is a native of Fairfield, Alabama, and earned her Bachelor of Science from Miles College and a doctorate in education from the University of Alabama. She spent over 30 years in education, having served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of curriculum and superintendent in the Fairfield City and Russell County school systems. She also served as an associate dean at Virginia College. She is currently the dean of General Education and an associate professor in the Elementary Education division of Miles College.

Randy PittmanW. Randall “Randy” Pittman lives in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and recently retired from Samford after serving for 14 years as vice president for university advancement. He previously served on the Board of Trustees from 2001-08, where he was elected secretary and was a member of the executive committee and the business affairs and audit committee. Pittman, who is a certified public accountant, graduated from Auburn University with Bachelor of Science in business administration. Prior to joining Samford, he served as the chief financial officer for three different companies including Emageon Inc., BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, and Scandipharm. Pittman is married to Daina, and they have two daughters who are both Samford graduates.

Beth StukesBeth Thorne Stukes of Jasper, Alabama, is a former teacher in the Walker County school system. She previously served on Samford’s Board of Trustees from 2009-22. She earned a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Today she serves on the Auburn University Foundation Board of Directors, Walker Area Community Foundation Board of Directors, Drummond Company Inc. Board of Directors, and is president of the Auburn University College of Human Sciences Women’s Philanthropy Board. Stukes served as co-chair of the $1 billion Because This Is Auburn, A Campaign for Auburn University, and was the chairperson for the Cordova Long Term Community Recovery Committee following the 2011 tornadoes. She is married to Rick and has one son.

Two individuals received lifetime appointments as Honorary Trustees after leaving active board service. Tim Vines, a former trustee board chair and the current chief executive officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, completed 12 years of active trustee service; and retired business executive John E. Bell Jr. of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, completed 24 years of active trustee service. 

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.