Bradley Dennis, Biology '73
As Chief Medical Officer at one of Birmingham’s busiest hospitals, Dr. Dennis supervises clinical quality and process improvement, among many other important responsibilities. About a mile away from his office at Brookwood is the university that helped prepare him for the demanding position he now holds; Dr. Dennis is a 1973 Samford University graduate. While earning his BS in Biology, Dr. Dennis was involved in the Samford community as a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, a cheerleader and a member of the university band. After graduation, he attended medical school at the University of Alabama and completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic.
"Samford exposed me to an excellent education in an excellent environment,” Dr. Dennis said. “There were great teachers and great students that were friends of mine. They taught me how to prepare myself for medical school and ultimately for the business world.”
As an alumnus, Dr. Dennis continues his involvement in the Samford community by serving as the chairman of the Howard College of Arts & Sciences Advisory Board. He is married to Krista and has two boys, Jake and Nate.
Jenn Pharr Davis, Classics '04
Samford Classics alumna Jennifer Pharr Davis '04 in 2011 broke the record for assisted thru-hike of the complete Appalachian trail. Her time of 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes broke the previous record by almost 24 hours.
In 2008 Davis broke the women's record for a supported thru-hike, a feat chronicled in her adventure memoir, Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail. The book explores Davis' physical and emotional transformation through the grueling 57 day, 8 hour journey.
For her Appalachian Trail record Davis was named 2008 Outdoor Person of the Year by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine. To date, she has hiked more than 9,000 miles of long distance trails on six continents and hold endurance records on the Appalachian Trail, Long Trail and Bibbulmun Track. She founded Blue Ridge Hiking Co. to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable through written and spoken word, instruction and guiding.
Patrick Millsaps, Psychology '95
Cum Laude Psychology alumnus Patrick Millsaps ’95 went on to earn his J.D. degree and practice law. Now a partner with the law firm of Hall Booth Smith & Slover in his native Georgia, Millsaps specializes in civil litigation and corporate representations.
In addition to his notable courtroom victories, Millsaps has served as a leader in his profession, including as President of the Mitchell County Bar Association and chairman of the Georgia Ethics Commission. In 2012 the licensed Baptist pastor served as Chief of Staff to Newt Gingrich during Gingrich’s 2012 presidential campaign. Millsaps also joined Howard College’s Advisory Board in 2012.
Mary V. Thompson, History '77
Mary V. Thompson graduated from Samford in 1977 with a degree in History. While at Samford, she was involved in Air Force ROTC and Folkcenter South, a project that identified folk craft survivals in rural Alabama and was led by Dr. James S. Brown. After graduation, Thompson went to the University of Virginia to pursue a master’s degree in history, with a concentration in Colonial America and Early Modern Europe. Thompson has been on staff at Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, since 1980. She currently serves as the research historian, which allows her to plan exhibits and public programs. Her special research interests include domestic life on the estate, the life of Martha Washington, hired and indentured servants, religion, and slave life at Mount Vernon. Thompson’s first book, In the Hands of a Good Providence: Religion in the Life of George Washington, was published in 2008, and she is currently finishing a second book about Mount Vernon’s slave community.
"One of the things I so appreciated about the History Department at Samford was its collegiality—full professors treated students like adults and colleagues," Thompson said. "It was definitely an environment in which a person could grow and develop."
Thompson currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband, Tony Bates, a dog, and three cats.