News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2006


Thomas Corts good pick for chancellor

He may not be familiar with how a junior college system works, but newly named interim Chancellor Thomas Corts knows integrity.

And that may be what the state's two-year college system needs more than it needs a wheeling-dealing politico like ousted Chancellor Roy Johnson, whom the board fired recently for such activity.

The system has a long history of being rife with politics. Mr. Johnson, an astute deal maker, understood the system perhaps better than anyone, and worked it.

Chancellor Corts brings his 23 years as president of Samford University to his new leadership role. The state school board can reclaim a measure of public confidence if its members charge him with leading the system away from the past.

Dr. Corts came to Samford in 1983 and oversaw some of the Baptist-affiliated school's greatest growth. During his time there, he recommended that Samford trustees elect their own members rather than allow the Alabama State Baptist Convention to name them. His goal was to insulate the school from church politics.

After spirited debate, the convention today approves rather than names trustees and Baptists continue to support Samford.

Perhaps he can also lead the state school board to fundamental change that beats back the political beasts entrenched in the two-year system.

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