Finis St. John IV
Interim Chancellor of The University of Alabama System
Finis E. (Fess) St. John IV is Interim Chancellor of The University of Alabama System.
Representing the Fourth Congressional District, Fess St. John has served on the Board of Trustees since 2002, including three terms as President Pro Tempore (2008-2011). His tenure has coincided with a period of significant and sustained growth for the three campuses and the UAB Health System. St. John has chaired numerous standing committees and played a key role in the recruitment of senior campus leadership as well as assisting in the management of more than 450 major capital projects exceeding $3 billion on the campuses. He has been a member of the UAB Health System Board of Directors since 2008, and serves on the UAB Athletic Foundation and the Crimson Tide Foundation Board.
A member of one of Alabama’s oldest and most established law firms, St. John is taking an unpaid leave of absence from St. John & St. John LLC in Cullman, Alabama, to serve as chief executive officer of the UA System. His wife and law partner Gaynor, who has been with the firm for more than a quarter century, is continuing to practice law in Cullman.
The St. John family has a long history of public service to the citizens of Alabama. Fess St. John’s father and grandfather served in the Alabama Legislature. Finis St. John Jr. was Speaker Pro Tem of the Alabama House of Representatives and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Fess’s father, Finis St. John III, was President Pro Tem of the Alabama Senate. Fess’s mother, Juliet St. John, was the first woman attorney in Cullman. His great-grandfather, William P. St. John, arrived in Alabama in 1838 and at age 32 was elected to the Alabama General Assembly, which later became the Legislature. During his term, the Assembly created Alabama’s first public education system.
Fess St. John is a cum laude graduate of The University of Alabama (1978), where he was inducted to Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and Jasons. He received his law degree in 1982 from The University of Virginia School of Law and was chair of the Moot Court Board. He clerked for the Hon. Peter T. Fay, 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, after completing law school.
St. John is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, which is comprised of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada. Fellowship in the College is by invitation only. He is also a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and has been recognized as an Alabama Super Lawyer since 2007. He is the long-time chairman of the board of First Community Bank of Cullman.