The University of Alabama System has named new leadership in the Office of External Affairs.
Charlie Taylor has been named Vice Chancellor for External Affairs and is responsible for all state and federal governmental affairs for UA System institutions – The University of Alabama (UA), The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the UAB Health System. Taylor formerly served as the UA System Director of External Affairs and has many years of experience working in various aspects of the political arena. Taylor received his J.D. from The University of Alabama School of Law in 2017 and a B.A. in political science from The University of Alabama in 2014.
Porter Banister has been elevated to Vice Chancellor for State Affairs and will use his extensive political experience in leading the UA System’s external affairs efforts in Montgomery. In addition to responsibility for state affairs, Banister will serve as the System’s liaison for economic development efforts statewide. Banister graduated from Hampden-Sydney College with a degree in political science and has years of experience in both the legislative and executive branches of state government. Before joining the UA System in 2003, he worked for the Business Council of Alabama.
Ray Cole will join the UA System as Vice Chancellor for Federal Affairs. In this role, Cole will represent and advocate the UA System’s positions on legislation, appropriations and regulatory matters affecting its campuses and health system at the federal level. Cole joins the UA System from government affairs firm Van Scoyoc Associates, where he has spent 24 years managing government relations campaigns for clients across various industries and issues, including higher education and healthcare. Prior to joining VSA, Cole was a senior staff member to U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Commerce, and worked in political consulting. He is a graduate of The University of Alabama with a B.S. in commerce and business administration.
“Working with our local, state and federal leaders is instrumental as we continue advancing the University of Alabama System’s mission to improve the lives of all Alabamians through teaching, research and service,” said UA System Chancellor Finis St. John. “Charlie, Porter and Ray are highly accomplished leaders in this field, and their efforts will reinforce the UA System’s steadfast commitment to enhancing the quality of education and healthcare in our state.”
These leadership changes come after Clay Ryan, former UA System Senior Vice Chancellor for External Affairs, joined Alabama Power Company as Senior Vice President of External Affairs.
“The University of Alabama System greatly benefitted from Clay’s tremendous leadership over the years, and we thank him for his distinguished service to our institutions and to our state,” said UA System Board of Trustees President Pro tempore Scott Phelps. “The UA System plays a pivotal role in the continuous growth and development of the state of Alabama, and I look forward to our talented External Affairs team continuing the work that provides crucial support to our institutions.”
The Office of External Affairs works with legislative and executive branch officials to improve education and healthcare in the state, coordinates with state and local leaders in the public and private sectors to ensure that the UA System continues to play an integral role in the development of the state’s workforce, and serves as the liaison between The University of Alabama Board of Trustees and the legislative and executive branches of state and federal government.
About the University of Alabama System
Committed to excellence in teaching, research, and service, the University of Alabama System includes three doctoral research institutions – UA, UAB, and UAH – and the world-class UAB Health System. The UA System educates more Alabamians than any other university system and provides transformational research in areas ranging from aerospace to biomedicine to transportation. As the largest employer in the state, the overall economic impact of the University of Alabama System exceeds $15 billion a year.