Netherton Named Provost at Samford University

April 12, 1996

by Alan Hunt

Dr. James S. Netherton, vice president and chief operating officer for administration at Baylor University, has accepted an appointment as Provost at Samford University, Birmingham, Ala. He will start his new job on June 1 this year.
A 15-year veteran of Baylor's senior administration, Netherton said he and his wife, Patricia, are leaving with very mixed emotions. "Fifteen years of our lives are invested in Baylor. It has been a wonderful experience and many of the dearest friends we have in the world are here at Baylor and in Waco. However, this new position has great potential. Samford is a Baptist university with an excellent academic reputation. It has been rated as one of the top regional universities the last five years by U.S. News. It has a very bright future and the opportunity to help shape that future is very special."
Netherton, 48, added, "I feel really privileged to have been a part of Baylor and to have been allowed to make a contribution to the life of the university."
Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. said Baylor "will deeply miss the many talents of Jim Netherton." Paying tribute to the "exceptional job" he has performed for the university, Sloan said Netherton had directed the development and implementation of many major projects that were crucial to the institution's growth. "As we move toward the 21st century, Baylor owes much of its soundness and stability to the diligence and skill of Dr. James Netherton."
Netherton said his primary responsibilities at Samford will be in the academic area, but he will also play the role of chief operating officer.
He said, "It will provide me the opportunity to be closer to the academic side of the university. I came out of the classroom, but my heart has never left the classroom. Samford will also bring my wife and me closer to our parents, who live in Jackson, Miss."
Explaining that he felt "very much led" to go to Samford, he said, "It's a Baptist institution, and it's committed to Christian higher education." He described the 155-year-old

university as "an exciting place and very much like Baylor." With a student enrollment of about 4,800, he said the size of the school would allow him to have a "greater impact on the institution and what goes on there."
Samford has a school of liberal arts and sciences, and schools of nursing, music, education, business, law, pharmacy, and a Metro College offering evening programs to the citizens of Birmingham, which has a metropolitan area population of about 975,000. "Birmingham is a great city," Netherton said, "and Samford has a very bright and exciting future. And I get the opportunity to help contribute to that future."
A National Merit Scholar, Netherton received a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the University of Mississippi in 1969, and four years later he received a doctor of philosophy in mathematics degree from the University of Virginia. He began his professional career teaching in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Georgia's Armstrong College in Savannah.
He moved to Baylor in 1981 to serve as the executive assistant to the president and a member of the faculty, teaching in mathematics and computer science. He subsequently served as vice president for information systems, vice president for executive affairs, and chief of staff, all within the Office of the President, before being appointed vice president for administrative affairs. The Baylor Board of Regents named him chief operating officer in May 1991. Netherton has also taught in Baylor's Honors Program for the past 11 years.
Active in civic matters, he has served on the board of directors for numerous voluntary and charitable organizations, including the Waco Chamber of Commerce, the Waco Symphony and the Central Texas United Way Campaign.
Married 27 years ago, he and his wife were childhood sweethearts in their hometown of Jackson, Miss. They have two sons, Jay, 23, who will graduate from Baylor next December, and Kirk, 20, who is a student at McLennan Community College. Netherton is an active member of First Baptist Church of Waco where he has served as chairman of the Deacon Fellowship and is a Sunday School teacher and choir member.
Sloan said Baylor University will immediately begin a search to replace Netherton. Dr. J. Clifton Williams, vice president for human resources and planning, will work closely with Netherton to ensure a smooth transition. According to Sloan, the position may be restructured in coordination with recent changes in the reorganization of Baylor's administration.
"I am grateful that Jim will assist in the transition as he continues in his service to Baylor University through the end of May," Sloan said.