Board of Directors

Alabama Humanities Foundation’s Board of Directors is a body of 25 individuals who jointly oversee the activities of the organization. Nineteen members are elected by the board and six members are appointed by the Governor of Alabama.

**Governor’s Appointees
^Business Address

Michon Trent, Chair

Michon D. Trent graduated from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California, with a Bachelor’s of Arts in social work and went on to obtain her Master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California at Los Angeles. She worked in the mental health field treating chronically mentally ill adults and adolescents. Serving as the Clinical Director of Case Management Services in Wichita, Kansas, where she was the primary trainer for case management services as well as serving on the transition team for countywide electronic records conversions. She worked as Psychiatric Emergency Room Social Worker, Acute Care Social Worker at Augustus F. Hawkins Mental Health Center in California. She also worked as a School Social Worker for Wichita Public Schools in Wichita, Kansas. Just recently, she opened her own special events consulting business after many years of working in the mental health field.

Trent has been an active community volunteer with the Junior League for over 18 years as well as volunteering in the community with nonprofit organizations. She developed a bilingual volunteer program (French and English) to serve victims of domestic violence while residing in Canada. She was the chairperson for Survivors of Suicide weekend in Wichita, Kansas, part of a national campaign to reduce suicide in the United States. Chairperson of Special Events for three years with the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Alabama which included the grand opening of the Hank Aaron Museum Home which has the second largest collection of baseball memorabilia outside of the Historic Homes Tour for Historic Mobile Preservation Society and has served on the United Way Capital Campaign in 2011.

Currently, she serves on the Board of Historic Mobile Preservation Society as second vice president of membership and development, The Providence Foundation Board of Directors and Boys and Girls Club of South Alabama and is a member of the executive committee serves as the secretary, trustee for the Maschmeyer Trust.

Trent’s previous board experience includes member of the Azusa Pacific University School of Social Work Accreditation Advisory Board, National Association of Social Workers Kansas Chapter where she served as Membership and Recruitment Chair and Vice President of the State Chapter, Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Task Force, and Family Promise of Mobile.

Dr. Carmen L. Burkhalter, Florence, Vice Chair

Dr. Carmen Burkhalter is dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Alabama.

Prior to Burkhalter’s arrival in the Shoals area, she spent 20 years at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. While at UA, she was a faculty member in the Department of Communicative Disorders, Senior Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Director of Technology for the College of Arts and Sciences. She is originally from Columbia, SC.  Her degrees are from Columbia College and The University of Alabama.

Elizabeth Wise, Treasurer, Huntsville

Beth Wise, former president and CEO of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and retired government executive, was named to the board of directors of Alabama Humanities Foundation, a term that began Jan. 1, 2013.

“How excited and honored I am to be invited to join this amazing group of Alabamians,” Wise said. “I consider serving in this capacity both a privilege and a serious responsibility and look forward to active involvement in AHF’s activities.”

Wise headed the Huntsville Symphony in 2007-08. Retired from the Department of the Army after a 37-year career, she served in several positions during that time, rising to director of Business Management for Program Executive Office, Tactical Missiles.

With more than 42 years of volunteer service in the community, she has held leadership roles in Huntsville Botanical Garden, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild, Leadership Huntsville/Madison County, Junior League, Randolph School Board of Trustees, The Arts Council and various other boards and organizations.

Wise is a graduate of Auburn University, holds a Master’s degree from The University of Alabama in Huntsville, and completed the Columbia Senior Executive Program from Columbia University in New York.

Jimmy McLemore, Immediate Past Chair

Jimmy McLemore joined the AHF Board of Directors January 1, 2013. He is an attorney and is general counsel of Alabama Housing Finance Authority. Previously, he practiced law for 32 years with Capell & Howard, PC, in Montgomery.

Upon joining the Board, McLemore said, “I have long enjoyed the work and programs of AHF. I look forward to switching roles and serving the board to help enrich the lives of all Alabamians concerning our unique and fascinating culture. I believe that this mission is as important as any in the development of our state.”

He graduated in business from the University of Alabama and earned his law degree from the University’s School of Law. McLemore’s civic involvement includes leadership roles in the Montgomery Rotary Club, Easter Seals Alabama, Montgomery Area Food Bank, Children’s Center of Montgomery, University of Alabama Libraries Leadership Board, University Capstone Council, Alabama Writers’ Forum, and Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.

Velma Tribue, Dothan, Secretary

Velma Tribue is a graduate of Ohio State University and has been a State Farm agent since 1988. She serves on the board of trustees for Alabama A&M University and is a graduate of Leadership Alabama. She is a former chair of the board of directors for the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.

Julian D. Butler, Huntsville, Officer

Julian Butler, attorney and senior partner at Sirote & Permutt’s Huntsville office, has wide general trial experience in state and federal courts. He has served in leadership positions in a wide variety of civic activities including Chairman of the Center for Public Law and Service at The University of Alabama, Chairman of the Environmental Law Section of the Alabama State Bar and Chairman of Leadership Huntsville-Madison County.

Butler has served as the attorney for the Alabama Democratic Party and served as attorney for the Madison County Democratic Executive Committee. He is Former president of the Arts Council and Former President of the National Association of County Civil Attorneys. He was named as one of the Best Lawyers In America and Alabama Super Lawers for Commercial Litigation and named Best of Class by Best of US Inc. for Commercial Litigation Law. He is a trustee of the Alabama Department of Archives and History and Trustee of the Eleventh Circuit Historical Society.

Butler received his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama where he served as President of the Student Body. He received his law degree from the University of Alabama.

“The innovative programs of the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the grants and scholarships it awards enrich the lives of a broad spectrum of Alabamians. I am honored to have the opportunity to participate in the activities of the Foundation as a board member.”

John Kvach, Huntsville

John Kvach is Associate Professor of History at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. His teaching fields and research focus on the 19th Century South, Civil War and Reconstruction and Public History.

He has written numerous articles, conference papers and book chapters on the antebellum and postbellum South. He is the author of De Bow’s Review: The Antebellum Vision of a New South (2013), published by the University Press of Kentucky for its New Directions in Southern History series.

Kvach has worked extensively with the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution on numerous traveling exhibits and programs, and he serves on numerous regional and statewide boards, including Alabama Bicentennial Commission, Alabama Historical Association and the Liberty Learning Foundation.

Lajuana Bradford is a senior vice president, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility in External Affairs for Regions Financial Corp., a top USbank-holding company headquartered in Birmingham. She directs programs in diversity and inclusion, sustainability, environment, social and governance, volunteer programs and charitable response to disasters that together promote a broader definition of social responsibility.

Bradford holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rhode Island College and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Executive Leadership program. She also completed Boston College’s Management Development Program in Corporate Community Involvement.

Her civic involvement includes current and past work as a board member of YWCA of Central Alabama, Red Mountain Theatre Company, Miles College board of trustees, Alabama Region of the American Red Cross and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. She is also a graduate of Leadership Birmingham.

“I am proud to be a part of an organization that focuses on enriching the lives of Alabamians.” Bradford said. “I see the appreciation of arts, culture and the humanities as an integral part of the work that I do in promoting diversity and inclusion at Regions.”

Dr. Joseph Aistrup, Auburn

Dr. Joseph Aistrup was appointed dean of Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts in 2013, Dr. Aistrup came to Auburn from Kansas State University, where he served as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and in previous administrative positions within the university.He earned his bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays State University, master’s from Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University and PhD from Indiana University.

Judge David Rains, Dekalb County

Judge David Rains is a Dekalb County native. He attended The University of Alabama and The University of Alabama School of Law, graduating in 1970.

He entered the United States Air Force in 1970 and served in the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) for four years. He practiced law from 1974 until 1981 and became a circuit court judge for the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Dekalb and Cherokee Counties). He served as a circuit judge for 32 years.

As a circuit judge, he earned wide legal experience, including the handling of complex civil litigation in his home circuit as well as other venues in this state. In 1991, the Alabama State Bar Association conferred on Judge Rains the Judicial Award of Merit, the Bar Association’s highest honor for judicial excellence. He was only the second active-duty circuit judge to be so honored.

Rains was selected by the Alabama Circuit Judges’ Association to serve on the Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ), a nine-member court established by the Alabama Constitution to hear and decide charges of judicial misconduct. As the senior circuit judge on the COJ, Judge Rains was the presiding judge when the appellate court member of the COJ was unable to preside.

The Alabama Circuit Judges’ Association also selected him to serve on the Alabama Sentencing Commission, which the Legislature created to review Alabama’s sentencing practices and recommend reforms to eliminate unwarranted disparity in sentencing and assure public safety while making the most efficient use of correctional resources. Rains served on the Commission for approximately 12 years.

He is a member of the board of directors of the Birmingham Pledge Foundation, a grassroots organization committed to the removal of prejudice from our lives one person at a time.

Rains has served on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Alabama Archives, which through support of public programming and other projects has helped the state Department of Archives and History tell the story of Alabama. He is very interested in the history of Dekalb County, including the Civil War Era and the Fort Payne Boom.

He is an avid collector of Dekalb County memorabilia, including photographs, postcards, pottery and other artifacts and has served on the board of directors of the Fort Payne Depot Museum.

The Dekalb County Chamber of Commerce recently recognized the professional and civic contributions of Rains by honoring him with the 2017 V.I. Prewett Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sage Bolt, Mobile

Sage Bolt of Mobile is a community volunteer that is involved with many charities across Alabama. In addition to other volunteer work, she serves on the boards of Wilmer Hall Children’s Home and the Friends of Magnolia Cemetery. She previously worked seven years with American National Bank/AmSouth and 11 years in Independent School Development, most recently serving as director of Development at St. Paul’s Episcopal School. She is married to Preston Bolt and has three grown children, Weathers, Edward, and Sarah. She is a 1979 graduate of The University of Alabama and is a member of Christ Church Cathedral. “There are many opportunities to make a difference in our communities that are met by generous foundations such as Alabama Humanities Foundation. I am honored to be a part and look forward to being on the other side of grant writing process,” Bolt said.

Dr. Michael Burger, Montgomery

Dr. Michael Burger is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at Auburn University-Montgomery.

Burger has taught courses in ancient, medieval and early-modern European history, women’s history, and in religious studies, as well as the modern history of the West.  The author of Bishops, Clerks, and Diocesan Governance in Thirteenth-Century England: Reward and Punishment (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and The Shaping of the West (Broadview Press, 2008; second edition, University of Toronto Press, 2013), he has written various articles on medieval history.  He has also edited a primary source collection, Sources for the History of Western Civilization (Broadview Press, 2003; second edition, University of Toronto Press, 2015).  He holds the Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the B.A. from Michigan State University.

Faye Dial, Lineville

Faye Bonner Dial of Lineville holds a 1959 bachelor’s degree in education from UWA and a master’s degree from Jacksonville State University, also in education. After teaching for two years in Choctaw County, Dial spent 35 years in the Clay County School System, teaching and serving as guidance counselor at Lineville High School, where she was named Outstanding Teacher for Clay County. Following a year with the Sylacauga City System, she began working in postsecondary education at Central Alabama Community College, followed by a move to Southern Union Community College, where she has worked recruiting and advising students.

Dial is a member of the National and Alabama Education Associations, a past president of Delta Kappa Gamma Society for Women Educators, and a member of the Clay County Retired Teachers Association. She is also a member of the Board of the Farmer’s Federation and Chairperson of the Clay County Farmer’s Federation Women’s Committee, as well as State Board member for the Farmer Federation Leadership Committee, for which she serves as Secretary.

Dial is married to State Sen. Gerald Dial. They have two children, Jason Dial and Melanie Dial Lamb, who is married to Jon Lamb.

Ann Florie, Birmingham

Trey Granger, Pike Road**

Trey Granger is chief deputy clerk of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

Granger is a 1991 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law and is a gubernatorial appointment to the AHF board. Prior to his US District Court post, he served as general counsel to the Alabama Secretary of State, Director of Elections in Montgomery County, and was instrumental in the implementation of the Help America Vote Act in Alabama. He created the Montgomery Election Center, which is a state-of-the-art election resource for the citizens of Montgomery County.

Granger’s Art and Democracy project was nationally recognized as the nation’s best practice in elections in 2009, and the project was awarded the national prize for Election Administration. In addition to his role with the United States Courts, Granger served as faculty for the Auburn University College of Liberal Arts and Honors College, and he works closely with the university on several civic, historic and cultural projects.

He earned a degree in History in 1987 at Birmingham-Southern College and has been passionate about historic preservation and Alabama history all of his life. He is an avid collector of Alabama-made furniture. As a student at Birmingham-Southern, he spent a summer chronicling information on Alabama architecture and traveled the State to assemble interviews, photographs and historical references regarding over 200 structures.

Granger served as an advisor to the PEW Foundation and its Make Voting Work Initiative. He was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley in 2012 to serve as one of 12 commissioners on the Alabama Historical Commission He also served as a director of the Central Alabama Red Cross, Leadership Montgomery, the Landmarks Foundation and as a community advisor to the Junior League of Montgomery.

Sally Greenhaw, Birmingham

Janice Hawkins, Troy **

Janice Hawkins received an M.A. in special education for the multiply handicapped, visual impairment and blindness, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After graduating, she served as a social worker for the UAB School of Optometry and as an instructor and counselor at UAB’s School of Health Related Professions. In 1991, she served as a consultant with the State Department of Education, in which she advised teachers of programs for visually impaired students. A resident of Troy, Hawkins also serves Troy University in many capacities, including duties of wife of the chancellor, chairing committees, program reviews and grant development. She has served on the boards of the Troy Council on Arts and Humanities and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. Hawkins currently serves on the boards of the Alabama Transliterates for the Deaf, the Pike County Child Advocacy Center and the Alabama Historical Commission, for which she is a past chairman.

Al Head, Montgomery **

Al Head has worked in the state arts field for over 40 years beginning in 1972 with the Fine Arts Council of Florida, and continuing through executive director positions with the Stephen Foster Folklife Center, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and the Alabama State Council on the arts. He has served his home state of Alabama for the past twenty years as the Council’s director. Mr. Head earned his undergraduate degree from Troy State University in art history and aesthetics, and his Master of Liberal Arts, with a concentration on Southern literature, from Auburn University at Montgomery. He received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1974 to attend Harvard’s Arts Administration Institute. Mr. Head has served two terms on the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies board participating in a wide range of committee work. He has been a member of the South Arts board (previously Southern Arts Federation) for 35 years and presided as its chair 1983-85. Prior to serving as chair of SAF, Mr. Head served as vice-chair 1981-1983. Mr. Head has served on numerous panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and has chaired the Folk Arts and Arts in Education panels. In 1998 he received the Gary Young Award presented by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies for his leadership and achievements in promoting the arts nationally. In 1999 he received Alumni of the Year from the National Troy University Alumni Association. Further recognition from Troy University came in 2008 in the form of The Distinguished Leadership Award for exemplary dedication and service to the University. Al Head is the only state arts director to start folk arts programs in three states: Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama. Al is a native of Troy, Alabama.

“I was very pleased to be appointed by Governor Bentley in June, 2012 to serve on the board of the Alabama Humanities Foundation. The Alabama State Council on the Arts had enjoyed a long-standing relationship with AHF having a great deal in common regarding mission, programs and the constituency we serve. My being on the board will heighten opportunities for collaboration and maximizing the impact of our agency’s mutual resources.”

Dr. Kern M. Jackson, Mobile

Dr. Kern Michael Jackson is director of the African-American Studies program at the University of South Alabama (USA) and distinguished tenured faculty member in the Department of English at USA.

Jackson is a nationally recognized expert in folklore and ethnomusicology. He earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2004. In addition to his Ph.D, Dr. Jackson earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and African American Studies from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Arts in African American Studies from the University of Wisconsin.

Jackson is well-known for his teaching methodology, where he allows students to experience and live history in a manner that bridges classroom study and first-hand field experience.

In addition to his academic contributions, he is the former curator of minority history for the Museum of Mobile and is a pre-eminent expert on Gulf Coast Carnival and Mardi Gras, serving as historian for the seminal documentary, Order of Myths (2008), as well as appearing in multiple episodes of Alabama Public Television Series, Alabama Journey Proud. His collaboration is often sought out for production and consultation of the cultural historical landscape of the deep South.

Daniel C. Potts, Tuscaloosa

Dr. Daniel C. Potts is a neurologist and co-author of A Pocket Guide for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver.

Potts is one of Maria Shriver’s Architects of Change. He has championed life-affirming care for those with Alzheimer’s disease/Dementia and their caregivers.

On staff at Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, Potts is also founder and president of Cognitive Dynamics Foundation and medical director at Dementia Dynamics, LLC. Through these two institutions, Potts channels inspiration and hope gained through caring for his father, Lester, who became an acclaimed watercolor artist in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease. Potts has told his father’s story of triumph, hope and creativity internationally.

An eight-time Patient Choice Award winner and one of America’s Top Physicians, Potts holds a BS in biology from Birmingham-Southern College and received his MD from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. He completed his internship in internal medicine and was chief resident in neurology under Dr. John N. Whitaker at the UAB School of Medicine.

Potts is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). He is an affiliate of the Alabama Research Institute on Aging and the University of Alabama Honors College, and he is on the clinical faculty at both the University of Alabama and the University of South Alabama Medical Schools.

A noted writer, Potts co-authored the best-selling Neurology for the Boards, has authored numerous articles, is a reviewer for several journals and blogs at Recently, Potts co-authored Treasure for Alzheimer’s with Richard Morgan, PhD, and Finding Joy in Alzheimer’s with Marie Marley, PhD. In addition to professional writing, he has been a lyricist for nationally known composers and has published six books of photographs and poetry.

Potts serves on the Alabama Alzheimer’s Task Force, Alabama Coalition for Culture Change, and the board of directors of Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama. He recently co-convened the ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s advocacy network, and is Editor-in-Chief of Seasons of Caring, the first-ever multi-faith collection of meditations for dementia caregivers.

Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews, Camden

A native of Camden, Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews became involved in BAMA Kids Inc., resulting from the death of a 19-year-old by a store owner, who alleged the young man was stealing. BAMA Kids provides an array of educational and recreational opportunities for young people. She is a community activist, working on get-out-the-vote efforts and serving on boards promoting community development and improvement. She chairs the Alabama State Planning Committee of the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative of which Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama is the lead organization.

R.B. Walker, Tuscaloosa

R.B. Walker has served as director of Governmental Relations at Alabama since 2015. Prior to his tenure at the university, he held executive roles with Alabama Power Co., most recently serving as assistant to the executive vice president. He is a graduate of The University of Alabama in Political Science and he studied Politics and International Relations at University of Oxford.

W. Edgar Welden, Birmingham

Bob Whetstone, Birmingham **

Bob Whetstone, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham-Southern College, is a governor’s appointee to the board of directors. He received both his A.B. and M.Ed. from Birmingham-Southern College and his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Whetstone attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison for his postdoctoral seminar in management and attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham for his postdoctoral internship at the Center for Aging.

A former educator, Whetstone spent time working in Birmingham elementary schools and Banks High School. He spent 38 years teaching at Birmingham-Southern College and was recently named one of 12 most outstanding educators by the college. He began his career at the college as an associate professor of education and also served as associate dean of the college, chairman of both the Departments of Education and Physical Education and the Division of Education, and project director and coordinator of research for the Alabama Education Study Commission. Whetstone serves as the vice president of the Shelby County Arts Council. Whetstone is a Humanities Happening presenter.

AHF is accepting board nominations:

Any resident of the state of Alabama may submit nominations for Alabama Humanities Foundation’s Board of Directors.

If you are interested in joining AHF’s Board of Directors, email your résumé and contact information to the Nominations Committee at

To nominate someone you know, email a letter of recommendation to the Nominations Committee at

Or mail to: Nomination Committee
c/o Alabama Humanities Foundation
1100 Ireland Way, Suite 202
Birmingham, AL 35205