The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 7, 2013

ASU board on its way to approval

From staff, wire reports
The News Courier

— Barring any major hiccups, the state Senate today will approve Athens State University’s eight-member board of trustees.

The Senate Confirmations Committee voted 9-0 Wednesday to approve Gov. Robert Bentley's choices for trustees. They are: Sandra Sims-deGraffenried of Orange Beach, former executive director of the Alabama Association of School Boards; Tazewell Shepard, a Huntsville attorney; Clint Shelton, publisher of The Decatur Daily; Maxine Randolph, a store manager from Elkmont; Arthur Orr, a state senator and pest control company vice president from Decatur; Macke Mauldin, a bank president from Sheffield; Winston Garth Lovvorn Sr., a large-farm operator from Athens; and Mary Dicken, a Department of Defense contract executive from Meridianville.

Rick Mould, vice president for Academic Affairs at ASU, said he did not anticipate any issues that would prevent the board from being approved today by the Senate. He said the board’s members represent not just a cross-section of North Alabama, but the state as a whole.

“We’ve got some members, like (Sims-deGraffenried), who are graduates of Athens State, so we’ve got people who have deep roots with the institution,” he said. “They have a strong interest in what happens (at the college).”

The board has met twice since Gov. Robert Bentley’s office announced the appointments. Bentley, who is board chairman per his position as governor, participated in the board’s first meeting in October.

Mould said the board’s first post-confirmation meeting would be held in April. For the next year, he said, he anticipated most board meetings would consist of creating new guidelines and policies.

“They aren’t glamorous topics, but when you’re starting from scratch, it’s part of what has to be addressed,” he said.

Athens became a public college in 1975 and was put under the state Board of Education. Last year, the Legislature passed a law taking Athens out from under the state school board and gave it a board of trustees like other public universities.

Athens State is unique in that it is one of five remaining upper-level collegiate institutions in the United States. The university offers coursework at the junior and senior level and awards bachelor’s degrees from three colleges — arts and sciences, business, and education.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.