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The University of Alabama

UA’s Culverhouse Announces 2016 Business Hall of Fame Inductees

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce today announced six business professionals to be inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 2016.

The inductees include Joel R. Anderson, of Florence; Paul W. Bryant Jr., of Tuscaloosa; Samuel A. Di Piazza Jr., of New York; Beverly C. Phifer, of Tuscaloosa; William H. Stender, of Huntsville; and Dr. Robert. E. Witt, of Tuscaloosa.

They will be honored during the Alabama Business Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Nov. 17 at the Hyatt Regency at the Riverchase Galleria in Birmingham.

Anderson attended the University of North Alabama, and he serves as chairman and director of Anderson Cos. Anderson Media Corp. is the country’s largest distributor of pre-recorded music and a major distributor of books. Also included in Anderson Cos. are TNT Fireworks, Anderson Press, Whitman Publishing and Books-A-Million. The company employs more than 11,000 associates worldwide. He serves as a trustee of the University of North Alabama and is a member of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.

Bryant holds a degree in finance from The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce. He is the president of Greene Group, a privately held holding company, and founder and chairman of Bryant Bank, the largest family-owned bank in Alabama. Bryant has also established operating companies in various industries throughout the country. He is a founder and chairman emeritus of the Civil War Trust in Washington, D.C., the nation’s largest battlefield preservation organization. Bryant served as a member of the UA System Board of Trustees from 2000-2015, during which time he was president pro tempore for three terms.

Di Piazza is a University of Alabama alumnus with a degree in accounting and a minor in economics. He retired in 2009 as CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers. He joined PwC in 1973 and became a tax partner in 1979. Di Piazza serves on the USA Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, as chairman of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees, as a trustee of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, as a member of the Board of AT&T and he is a member of numerous other committees and foundations

Phifer graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in economics. She is CEO of Phifer Inc. in Tuscaloosa. Phifer designed and led a major expansion of the company while continuously upgrading production equipment and the very latest in anti-pollution equipment. Phifer is an inductee of the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame and the Alabama Academy of Honor. She is a member of The University of Alabama’s President’s Cabinet and the Culverhouse College of Commerce Board of Visitors.

Stender holds degrees from Georgia Tech, The University of Texas at El Paso and an honorary doctorate from the Southeastern Institute of Technology in Huntsville. Stender was a U.S. Army Ranger, earning a Bronze Star and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He became an advisory engineer with IBM in Huntsville. In 1979 he formed CAS Inc., a company specializing in weapons systems analysis in Huntsville. He was CEO and chairman of the company until it was sold in 2006.

Witt holds degrees from Bates College, the Tuck School at Dartmouth College and The Pennsylvania State University. Following his 35-year academic career in the University of Texas System, including eight years as president of The University of Texas at Arlington, Witt was named president of The University of Alabama in 2003. He became chancellor of The University of Alabama System in 2012. He is chairman of the Alabama Council of College and University Presidents and has served in leadership roles with numerous civic and charitable organizations

The Alabama Business Hall of Fame was founded in 1973 by the Culverhouse College of Commerce Board of Visitors to honor individuals in business who have brought lasting fame to the state of Alabama. A 14-member board of directors establishes the criteria for nominations and governs the Hall of Fame. All candidates must meet the qualifications of being retired for a minimum of three years or be 65 or older, prior to induction, if still active in their careers.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.