Alabama Academy of Honor


Thomas E. Corts

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1996, in 1998, and in 2009.



In 1983, Dr. Thomas E. Corts accepted the position as President of Samford University, Alabama's largest privately supported institution of higher learning and one of the nation's largest Southern Baptist universities.

Thomas E. Corts was a native of Terre Haute, Indiana, but he spent many of his early years in Ohio. He received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown College and pursued his graduate education at Indiana University from which he received both his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Corts and his wife, Marla, were the parents of two daughters and one son and the grandparents of four.

Dr. Corts also participated in many religious, corporate, and cultural programs throughout the state of Alabama. Nationally, he served as chair of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, president of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities, president of the National Fellowship of Baptist Educators, president of the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools, and president of the Council for the Advancement of Private Colleges in Alabama. He recieved numerous honors including the Outstanding Educator Award in Alabama, Citizen of the Year Award and the National Council of Accrediation for Teacher Education's Most Supportive President Award.

As President of Samford University, Dr Corts oversaw the activities of eight schools. They are Howard College of Arts and Sciences, Cumberland School of Law, Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies, Beeson School of Divinity, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, School of Busincess and School of Music. Samford University has been well-ranked by national publications, such as U.S. News & World report America's Best Colleges, Money Guide: Best College Buys, Peterson's Competitivee Colleges, Barron's Profiles of American Colleges, The 100 Best Colleges for African-American Students, Princeton Review Student Advantage Guide to the Best 311 Colleges, and the Honor Role of the Templeton Foundation.

Dr. Corts died on Febraury 4, 2009.