BSC Board of Trustees welcomes new members


The Board of Trustees at Birmingham-Southern College gained eight new members over the summer. Their term of service began on July 1.

Among those elected to the board are six BSC graduates and two others. They are:

  • Daniel Coleman, private investor;
  • Elizabeth Dunn, community investor;
  • G. Courtney French ’95, attorney and president/CEO of radio station V94.9 FM (WATV);
  • Ashlyn Hines Meneguzzi ’85, real estate development executive with Bristol Development Group;
  • Andy Newton ’94, president of infrastructure and operations at Uniti;
  • Rev. Keith Thompson ’83, senior pastor at Canterbury United Methodist Church;
  • Sandra Barker Thurmond, ’84, vice president of primary care services for Children’s of Alabama; and
  • Vickie Lee VanValkenburgh ’88, real estate specialist with Van Valkenburgh & Wilkinson Properties, Inc.

“We welcome all of these new members to the Board of Trustees,” said BSC Interim President Dr. Bradley Caskey. “They all bring energy, talent, and passion for BSC and its mission, and each has a long history of commitment to and support for the college.”

Coleman graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in English and earned his MBA in finance and statistics from the University of Chicago. He served as CEO of KCG Holdings -- a global trader of equities, futures, bonds, and options -- from 2013-17 and as CEO of GETCO from 2012-13. He has served on the boards of several public companies and nonprofit organizations, including a prior term on BSC’s Board of Trustees. He serves as director of the private company Circulogene and the nonprofit organization Build Up. In addition, he is a member of the advisory board of SIFMA (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association).

Dunn was most recently business development director for Ray & Poynor Properties, and previously served as program director of Heart Gallery Alabama, a nonprofit that helps foster children find adoptive families. She is on the board of United Methodist Children’s Home, president of the Mountain Brook Board of Education, a lay leader for Canterbury UMC, and a member of the 2019 class of Leadership Birmingham. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and accounting from Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C.

French, who purchased WATV radio last year, is a partner with the law firm of Fuston, Petway & French LLP, representing clients throughout Alabama and the Southeast. He is past president of the Alabama Association for Justice and an active member of the American Association for Justice, National Bar Association, Alabama Lawyers Association, and the Magic City Bar Association. French was named by Ebony Magazine as one of America’s “50 Future Leaders of Tomorrow” and was among the National Trial Lawyers’ “Top 40 Under 40.” French graduated from BSC with a degree in language arts/secondary education.

Meneguzzi, who studied history as a student on the Hilltop, founded Bristol Development Group in Franklin, Tenn., in 1999. As founding principal, she has more than three decades of experience in creating and implementing real estate investment strategies and improving the local community through economic investment and mentorship. Meneguzzi is also co-owner of Juel Salon in Franklin as well as a private investor in several other ventures. Among her volunteerism, she serves on the BSC Alumni Board and is involved at the board level in several nonprofit organizations in the Nashville area. She served as a board member and president of O’More College of Design for numerous years.

Newton stewards Uniti’s efforts to design, build, and operate its fiber network infrastructure. Prior to Uniti, Newton led the overall operations, strategic guidance, and culture of Southern Light since its 1998 founding in Mobile. Under his direction, Southern Light grew to become one of the top 10 largest pure fiber optic providers in the country. He graduated from BSC with a degree in economics. An Alabama native, Newton is active in the Gulf Coast community and has served on several boards, including the Downtown Mobile Alliance.

Thompson became the senior minister of Canterbury UMC in July. Prior to coming to Canterbury, he served as senior pastor of First United Methodist Church of Birmingham for nine years, bringing unprecedented growth and vibrancy to a church that was previously in the midst of multiple decades of decline. He has also worked as associate vice president for institutional advancement at BSC and served a three-year term on the college’s Board of Trustees. Thompson received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and holds a master of divinity from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and a master’s in community counseling from the University of Alabama. He was recently accepted into the Living School, a two- year program taught through Richard Rohr’s Center for Contemplation and Action in Albuquerque, N.M. He and his wife, Linda, have three sons, including Brett Thompson ’13 and Reese Thompson ’14.

At Children’s of Alabama, Thurmond is responsible for the operations and development of Pediatric Practice Solutions, the center’s primary care network, as well as for maintaining and improving relationships with pediatricians around the state of Alabama. After graduating from BSC with a degree in biology, she earned her master’s in health administration from UAB. Among her numerous affiliations, Thurmond is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves as president of the BSC Alumni Board.

VanValkenburgh is a residential real estate specialist at VanValkenburgh and Wilkinson Properties Inc. Previously, she worked as a digital marketing consultant at WebDarter LLC, and as a staff attorney for the U.S. District Court in Birmingham. She served as an international nominating trustee for Alpha Omicron Pi fraternity and as an advisor for BSC's chapter of the fraternity. She was twice named BSC's Greek Advisor of the Year. VanValkenburgh graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the college with an interdisciplinary degree in political science and economics. She earned her JD from the University of Alabama School of Law. She is a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church and serves on BSC's Alumni Board.

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