Corts grew up in Astabula, Ohio and received his bachelor's degree from Georgetown College in Kentucky. He received his master's degree and a doctorate in rhetoric from the University of Indiana. From 1974 until his 1983 appointment at Samford University, Corts served as the president of Wingate College in Wingate, North Carolina. He was installed at Samford on September 1 of that year and served for 23 years before retiring in 2006.
Corts was a strong advocate for reforming Alabama's constitution. His 2000 speech on the subject to the Rotary Club of Birmingham led to the creation of Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform, led by Corts and Mobile Register editor Bailey Thompson.
He coordinated the President's Initiative to Expand Education and the basic education efforts of the State Department's Office of the Director of Foreign Assistance on behalf of the George W. Bush administration. He returned to Birmingham from Washington D.C. after the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Corts died at Brookwood Medical Center following a heart attack in February 2009. He was survived by his wife, Marla, three children and six grandchildren. He was inducted into the Alabama Men's Hall of Fame in 2013.
|President of Samford University