Humanities Happening Presenters

Humanities Happening Presenters

Humanities Happening, an informational talk about the Alabama Humanities Foundation, is presented by AHF board and staff members. Contact a Humanities Happening presenter near you to coordinate a session time, date and location.

AHF Board of Directors presenters

Lynne Berry, Board of Directors, Huntsville

Lynne Berry is the executive director of the Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County. A native of Huntsville, Berry is a graduate of Lee High School and Vanderbilt University. She has been a high-school teacher and a NASA department head. She has worked to promote Huntsville’s tourist attractions and to preserve its historic sites. Berry has served in the offices of Democratic Congressman Bud Cramer and Republican Senator Jeff Sessions. She is currently vice-chairman of The Nature Conservancy (Alabama chapter). She also serves on the boards of the Alabama Writers’ Forum; the Birmingham Pledge; the Huntsville Housing Authority’s Redevelopment Advisory Board; and the Madison County Personnel Board. She is a past chairman of Leadership Alabama and serves on its executive committee. Berry is a member of the Committee of 100 and the Huntsville Rotary Club. Contact: (256) 479-1010 or

Reggie Hamner, Board of Directors, Montgomery

Reggie Hamner of Montgomery is a retired attorney who most recently served as the construction manager for the United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama. In that position, he coordinated the building of the new United States Courthouse in Montgomery, as well as the renovation of the historic Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Building and United States Courthouse. He was elected to serve on the AHF Board of Directors at the October 2004 meeting. He retired as the executive director of the Alabama State Bar after 25 years of service. Prior to working for the Bar, he was the director of Legal and Legislative Affairs for the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. He is a graduate of both the United States Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College. He is a native of Northport, Alabama, and holds both a both a bachelor’s and law degree from the University of Alabama. He was president of the University’s National Alumni Association in 1989-90 and was named its Distinguished Alumnus in 2004. Contact: (334) 277-5151 or

Lisa Narrell-Mead, Board of Directors, Birmingham

Lisa Narrell-Mead is executive vice president of Corporate Associate Relations and Chief E mployment Counsel for Regions Financial Corporation. Narrell-Mead joined Regions in 1998 as counsel and in 2002 became assistant general counsel. She previously served as a partner of Constangy, Brooks & Smith. Narrell-Mead has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Birmingham-Southern College, as well as a J.D. from Emory University. She currently serves on the board of judicial ethics by appointment of the Alabama Supreme Court and is past president of the junior board of the YWCA. She is chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the Alabama State Bar Association. Contact: (205) 326-4808 or

Jim Noles, Board of Directors, Birmingham

Jim Noles is a partner with Balch & Bingham LLP in Birmingham, where he is a member of the firm’s natural resources and environment law section. Noles earned his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and his undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Prior to attending law school, he served as an officer in the U.S. Army, during which he flew a UH-1H helicopter and filled a variety of leadership and staff positions. Although the law is his vocation, writing is his avocation. His recently published books include A Pocketful of History: Four Hundred Years of America-One State Quarter at a Time and Twenty-Three Minutes to Eternity: The Final Voyage of the Escort Carrier USS Liscome Bay. Contact: (205) 226-8767 or

Danny Patterson, Board of Directors, Mobile

A native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Danny Patterson recently retired from the IBM Corporation after 30 years of service and is currently the director of Community Economic Development at the Community Foundation of South Alabama, located in Mobile, Alabama. His focus at the Foundation is to help advance the economic and social development to address community-based needs that lead to an improved quality of life. Patterson is also active on several community organizations in South Alabama and statewide, including the Lighthouse Community Development Corporation; Mobile Rotary Club; Mobile United; South Alabama Workforce Development Council Region 9; and the Alabama State Service Commission, the Alabama Association of CDCs and the Alabama Asset Building Coalition. He has also chaired the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. Contact: (251) 490-9781 or

Guin Robinson, Board of Directors, Birmingham

Guin Robinson is the director of institutional development for Jefferson State Community College. The first full-time mayor of Pell City, he was instrumental in improving the safety of I-20 and presided when the city saw significant growth, such as the addition of a Jefferson State campus in Pell City. Robinson has been involved in many organizations, including the Regional Planning Commission; United Way of Central Alabama; Leadership Alabama; Kiwanis; and Operation New Birmingham. In 2005, he was named the Public Official of the Year by the Alabama Library Association. He is a native of Ashland and currently resides in Birmingham. Robinson holds a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a master’s from UAB. Contact: (205) 856-7878 or

John E. Rochester, Board of Directors, Ashland

John Rochester, the Circuit Judge for Alabama’s 40th Judicial Circuit, resides in Ashland. He recently led the restoration of the Clay County Courthouse and is known for making the humanities a part of alternative sentencing punishment/reform. Rochester has participated as a speaker for AHF, the Alabama Press Association, and has spoken at seminars at the Harvard and Yale law schools. He is involved with the State of Alabama Health Coordinating Council and the Friends of the Alabama Archives. Rochester received a bachelor’s from Auburn, a J.D. from Samford and is currently enrolled in programs at both New York University and the University of Alabama. Contact: (256) 276-0072 or

Bob Whetstone, Board of Directors, Birmingham

Bob Whetstone of Birmingham 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. Contact: (205) 988-4132 or

Thomas Bryant, AHF Staff, Birmingham

A native of Daphne, Thomas Bryant received a B.A. in political science from the University of Alabama and an M.A. in art history from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has taught art appreciation at Jefferson State Community College and managed Bradshaw House Gallery in Birmingham for three years before joining the AHF staff in the spring of 2002. He oversees all of AHF’s programs and personally manages the statewide teacher program, SUPER (School and University Partners for Educational Renewal). Contact: (205) 558-3997 or

Paul Lawson, AHF Staff, Birmingham

A Birmingham native, Paul Lawson graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.A. in marketing and communications. He has more than 30 years of fundraising experience, having served as vice president and director of development for the Baptist Health Foundation from 1985-2005. In 1993, he was named Alabama’s Fundraising Executive of the Year. He also served as president of the Alabama Chapter of the National Society of Fundraising Executives in 1996. He is a Certified Fundraising Executive. Lawson oversees donor relations, develops and maintains fundraising programs and directs major events. Contact: (205) 558-3992 or