“The students I have met at Centre College are some of the best and brightest,” says banker and entrepreneur Jess Correll, one of three new trustees recently elected to the Centre board. Correll will be installed at the January 2016 board meeting, along with internationally recognized medical educator and physician Tao Le ’91. Technology innovator Brian Mefford ’95 was installed at the October 2015 meeting.
Jess Correll founded First Southern Bancorp Inc., parent company of the First Southern National Bank, and particularly enjoys the human side of First Southern’s work.
“Investing in people is the best thing I get to do,” says Correll. “Helping people to pursue their dreams, yet also encouraging them to make wise financial decisions, has been part of our culture at First Southern.”
Correll also heads The River Foundation, a philanthropic outreach of First Southern, and UTG Inc., an insurance holding company. He and his wife, Angela, owners of Plainview Farm in Stanford, Ky., have long supported sustainable family farming, as well as economic development and historic preservation in downtown Stanford, where they have renovated a number of downtown buildings and opened the popular Bluebird restaurant.
He attended Asbury College. His son, Preston, is married to Rachel McKinley Correll ’01.
Tao Le is an allergist with Central Allergy and Asthma in Elizabethtown, Ky., and has a passion for medical education. He is founder and CEO of MedIQ Learning, has edited more than 15 titles in the First Aid series, and is founder and editor-in-chief of USMLE-Rx, a series of online videos, test banks and flash cards. Le also is associate clinical professor and head of the Allergy and Immunology division at the University of Louisville.
“Centre played a critical role in my formative years, so I look forward to contributing to the intellectual, spiritual and leadership growth of a new generation of Centre students,” Le says of his new role as a trustee.
“I have a strong interest in education technology,” he adds. “I believe that technology, when applied properly, can enhance the teaching and learning process.”
Le graduated as men’s valedictorian with a B.A. in French and biology, then earned an M.D. at the University of California-San Francisco.
He lives in Elizabethtown with his wife, allergist Thao H. Pham, and their two sons. His brothers, also physicians, are Thomas Le ’93 and Hao Tuan Le ’95.
Brian Mefford is founder, CEO and chair of Connected Nation Exchange (CNX), which works to expand broadband Internet connections so that people everywhere can access better networks.
“It’s not by chance that Centre College has continued to improve in nearly every respect over the years,” Mefford says. “There is a commitment to excellence that generates extraordinary opportunities for an institution of Centre’s size. That spirit is treasured and modeled by those who hold the College in trust, and it’s an honor to join such leaders.”
He formerly headed Connected Nation, a national nonprofit that works with communities on local and state levels to expand access to broadband connections. A related organization, Edified Center for Connected Campuses (EC3), helps college students nationwide to work with innovative technology and has an office on Centre’s campus.
His work to advance broadband expansion and technology has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Economist.
Mefford has a B.S. in economics and earned an M.B.A. from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He was named Centre’s Distinguished Young Alumnus in 2010. He and his wife, Allison Thomas Mefford ’94, live in Alvaton, Ky., with their three children.
by Elizabeth Trollinger ’11
January 6, 2016