Finis St. John IV is Chancellor of The University of Alabama System. In that capacity, he is the chief executive officer of Alabama’s largest employer and largest higher education enterprise, which is comprised of three dynamic research universities – The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and The University of Alabama in Huntsville – and the UAB Health System.
The UA System provides accessible and quality education to over 70,000 students, leads the nation in cutting-edge research, and serves our citizens through outreach and public service programs. Its hospitals and clinics care for millions of patients annually and serve people in every county in Alabama. The UA System’s annual economic impact surpasses $10 billion annually, driving economic and workforce development across our state.
Chancellor St. John graduated cum laude from The University of Alabama. A member of the University of Virginia School of Law Class of 1982, he chaired the Moot Court Board. After law school, he clerked for the Hon. Peter T. Fay, 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Prior to becoming Chancellor in 2018, Fess St. John served on the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees for 17 years, chairing numerous key committees and filling an essential role in the recruitment of senior campus administrators. He was unanimously elected to three successive terms as President pro tempore of the Board.
Recognized nationally for his leadership in higher education, Chancellor St. John has a deep understanding of the essential value of rigorous, high-demand degree programs that prepare students for success in life. During the COVID pandemic, he spearheaded a comprehensive health and safety program that enabled the successful reopening of the System campuses and became a national model for colleges, universities, corporations, and non-profit organizations.
Now residing in Tuscaloosa, Chancellor St. John was a lifelong resident of Cullman and a member of one of Alabama’s oldest law firms, St. John & St. John, L.L.C., where he was recognized as a member of the distinguished American College of Trial Lawyers. Coming from a family with a long and distinguished history of service, his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather served in the Alabama Legislature, and his mother was the first female attorney in Cullman.
An Interview with Finis St. John
Fess St. John, Chancellor of the University of Alabama System, sat down with WVUA’s Mike Royer to discuss his vision for the System’s institutions and how they can make an even greater contribution to the State of Alabama and its future.