Thomas E. Corts, who served as president of Samford University for 23 years, died of a heart attack Wednesday. He was 67.

Corts retired from Samford in 2006. In July of that year, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley appointed Corts to chancellor of the state’s two-year college system. He resigned from that post the following February.

Corts was later named to President George Bush’s administration as coordinator of the President’s Initiative to Expand Education and subsequently as coordinator of Basic Education in the Office of the Director of Foreign Assistance. That program provided aid to four million school children in Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Liberia, Mali and Yemen.

He had returned to his Birmingham home from Washington, D.C., in January. Corts is survived by his wife of 44 years, Marla, two married daughters, a married son and six grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.

“There is no way to measure the impact of Tom Corts’ life and ministry on this university and the thousands of lives whom he touched,” said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland, who succeeded Corts at Samford in June of 2006. “We have all lost a great friend.”

Corts was born in Terre Haute, Ind., and grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio. He graduated from Georgetown (Ky.) College (in 1963) and held master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University. After serving as an administrator at Georgetown, he was named president of Wingate College in North Carolina in 1974, serving until his election as Samford president nine years later, the news release said.

In 2006, Dr. Corts delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Georgetown College’s 20th president, Dr. Robert L. Mills.

Memorial Gifts

Memorial Gifts honoring Dr. Corts may be made by credit card using Georgetown College’s secure server. Or checks payable to Georgetown College may be mailed to 400 East College Street, Georgetown, KY 40324.