Student Success:

Mentoring

The faculty and student relationships at Milligan are one of the college’s greatest resources for students. Our faculty are wholeheartedly committed to the development of our students—both in and out of class. Each year, we have a group of faculty and staff who commit to serving as mentors to entering students. These mentors are available for any questions students may have—please take advantage of their expertise!

At Milligan, you will be paired with a faculty or staff mentor, based on your academic interest. If you haven't decided on a major yet, your mentor will help guide you through the core curriculum and career assessments to help you discern God's call.

In addition to meeting regularly with your mentor on campus, mentors frequently have students over for dinner, games, movies, Bible studies, and often worship together. Your mentor will help you successfully navigate through your first year as a college student. From there, you will be ready to work closely with an academic advisor in your major, who will lead you through to your graduation.

Meet Your Mentors

John Paul Abner, 423.975.8013

Dr. Abner received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. He co-mentors with his wife, Pam, and they have 3 kids, a horse, a pony, a dog, and a cat and lots of animal hair on all of their belongings.

Dr. Abner is one of 18 certified Parent Child Interaction Therapy Master Trainers in the world and he travels across the nation training therapists in PCIT.  He also consults with the East Tennessee Center of Excellence for Children in State custody where he is trying to help improve services to foster children by training area therapists in evidenced based interventions.

He is an avid hiker, volleyball, and basketball player.


Alice Anthony, 423.461.8970

Originally from Memphis, Professor Alice Anthony completed her master of fine arts in photography at East Tennessee State University and has been teaching at Milligan since the fall of 1991. 

Alice has exhibited her photographs in over 20 states and was a featured artist at the Tennessee Art Commission Gallery in 2003.  In 2010 she was chosen to be a part of Reunion:  an invitational exhibit of 100 art alumni  as a part of the celebration of ETSU’s 100th anniversary. She is a part of the Appalachian Photography Project and participated in its inaugural exhibition at the Carroll Reece Museum. 

Alice pursues ongoing photo projects, including photographing the Elvis fans who visit Graceland each year.  She and her husband Steve enjoy traveling and have visited many interesting places such as the Holy Land,  British Isles, St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Mediterranean Sea area.  She and Steve have two godchildren, Anthony and Jessie and two cats GW and Reece.

Working with and mentoring students has been one of the greatest joys of her life.


Carolyn Carter, 423.461.8670

Dr. Carolyn Carter completed graduate studies in business education from East Tennessee State University and computer science education from University of Evansville.  She completed her doctoral work in instructional technology at Virginia Tech. 

Carolyn enjoys cake decorating, gardening, reading, and walking in her spare time.

Her husband, Milton, is Community Outreach and Site Coordinator and teaches cultural geography at Milligan. They have two spoiled cocker spaniels, Oreo and Cocoa, and one husky chihuahua named Taco.


Theresa Garbe, 423.461.8718

Theresa received a B.A. from Milligan in communications and humanities-French, and she holds a Master of Divinity degree from Emmanuel Christian Seminary. Serving as Milligan's director of alumni relations since 1998, she also teaches one section of Bible each semester. She has been married for twenty-plus years and has three children, and one of her favorite pastimes is eating good chocolate—something you can always find in her office.

Theresa is married to a wonderful man, also a Milligan grad, and is blessed with three active kids, ages 16, 14 and 10. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, digging in the dirt and running her children to various activities. Another favorite pastime is eating good chocolate, which you can always find in her office.


John Jackson, 423.461.8794

John and Mary Jackson met in high school band in Phoenix, Arizona.  They have moved across the United States pursuing ministry and educational opportunities, landing in Texas, New York, and North Carolina before settling in east Tennessee.

John received a Ph.D. in Old Testament from Duke University. He teaches Bible classes, including New and Old Testament Survey and Religion and the Movies.

Mary serves as Milligan's research and instruction librarian (students will all get to know her in their composition courses) and is renowned for her baked goods, of which their students are the beneficiaries.

The Jacksons share a love of cooking and travel. They are active members of the Hopwood Christian Church. They have a son in college and a daughter in the throes of her own college search, and they live in beautiful Elizabethton, TN.


Diane Junker, 423.461.8907

Hailing from Minnesota, Dr. Junker started off her college learning right here at Milligan, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She went on to receive her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and then a Master's in Nursing from the University of Tennessee.

Her hobbies include cooking, sewing, decorating, and reading. Dr. Junker is the chair of the missions committee at First Christian Church in Johnson City and also plays the organ there.


Jeff MillerJeff Miller, 423.461.8747

Jeff Miller grew up in Nebraska and remains a Cornhuskers fan to this day. He has taught Bible and ministry at Milligan College since 1999. Before that, he held youth and music ministries in Nebraska, Tennessee, and Colorado.

His wife Dana is a children's minister (and a quite good one). They have two young-adult daughters—a Milligan grad and a Milligan student—and he will be a grandfather by the time school starts in the fall.

Beyond family, faith, and profession, his main interests are piano, hiking, and racquetball. Dr. Miller leads Milligan's hiking group, The Buffalo Ramblers, and hopes you'll soon take part in a mountain hike.


Dr. Lori MillsLori Mills, 423.461.8663

Dr. Lori Mills completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Louisville. She teaches psychology and counseling and is the director of the Master of Science in Counseling program at Milligan.

Dr. Mills spends her time trying to trying to survive as the only estrogen-based life form in her family of 5. Her family consists of her husband, Cort, and her sons Gibson, Cooper, and Camden. She loves reading and spending time with her family, and she loves sports of all kinds.


Bruce Montgomery, 423.461.8776

With a Ph.D. in Interpersonal and Public Communication from Bowling Green State University, along with a Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary, Dr. Montgomery has taught Communication at Milligan for 18 years.

Prior to Milligan, Bruce worked 27 years in professional ministry. He ministered in Indiana, Ohio, and Texas. During his time in ministry he founded and directed campus ministries at Bowling Green State University and The University of Toledo.

He also served as the first State Director for The Fellowship of Christian Athletes in the State of Ohio, and during that time he was Chaplain of the New York Yankee’s AAA team, the Columbus Clippers. He is also a founding member and Director of Leadership Development of Higher Ministries, a ministry to church leaders and local congregations.

Dr. Montgomery has traveled widely in the area providing workshops in conflict management, team building, strategic planning, and serving as interim minister at many area churches. Currently, he is serving as Associate Minister at Colonial Heights Christian Church in Kingsport.

Bruce has always had a strong interest in the power of story and storytelling. The last several years he has pursued that interest by becoming a performing member of the Jonesborough Storytelling Guild, a group of local professional storytellers. He enjoys telling stories, teaching others how to tell stories, and introducing students to the power of story.

He has been married to his lovely wife, Carol, for 45 years. They have three children and nine grandchildren.

Carrie Swanay, 423.461.8795

Graduating from East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor's in Communications/Broadcasting, and again from ETSU with a Master's in Instructional Technology, and finally from Virginia Tech with a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology with an emphasis in Digital media, Dr. Swanay loves working with all aspects of multimedia development and design, video production and editing.

Carrie has been with Milligan for over 20 years and serves as the chair for the area of performing, visual and communicative arts. She has been serving as a mentor for the past 10 years. 

Dr. Swanay has two rescued pugs (Eleanor and BB). For fun, she enjoys riding her 750 Honda motorcycle, cruising the open seas and roller skating in Central Park. 


Ted Thomas, 423.461.8996

Professor Ted Thomas teaches German, Sophomore Humanities and European History.  After undergraduate work at Pepperdine University in Southern California, and Heidelberg, Germany, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

Ted honed his skills as a lobbyist and journalist while working for the Pacific Egg and Poulty Association, later preached in Heidelberg, Germany, and Silver Spring, Maryland; and directed Pepperdine University’s “Washington, D.C. Internship Program” right before coming to Milligan.

As well as his teaching responsibilities, Dr. Thomas enjoys sponsoring Milligan College’s Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society, and leading Humanities Tours (2003, 2007, 2012).  Dr. Thomas is also the man behind “Today in Milligan History.” 

The focus of his research is the life and work of Hermann Maas, a German pastor who did what he could to get Jewish families out of Nazi Germany (read Professor Ted’s article about Maas on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website). Dr. Thomas and his wife Jane-Anne travel to Europe most summers, collecting stories from survivors and eye-witnesses, reading archival documents and photographing places and people for an upcoming book about this man.

They enjoy singing, entertaining students in their home, “working out” in the Wellness Center, and Barnes & Noble dates.


Brad WallaceBrad Wallace, 426.461.8748

Brad Wallace is on his second go-round working with college students, having previously served as Campus Minister and Director of Counseling at Kentucky Christian University. 

Before coming to east Tennessee in 2010, he served churches in Paris, KY and Cincinnati, OH.  As Campus Minister, Brad coordinates Milligan’s Spiritual Formation Program, putting together chapel services and working with student groups like FCA, Vespers, and the Cross-Cultural Missions Committee. 

He and his wife Chris have two kids and one on the way, and on a rare unoccupied afternoon you’re likely to find him up a mountain stream chasing trout.


Michael Whitney, 423.461.8908

Professor Whitney hails from New Hampshire, and he completed his undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Messiah College. He continued his education by earning a Ph.D. in genetics from Penn State and has taught biology at Milligan since 2008.

He and his wife have four sons. When he's not in the classroom or with his family, you'll find Dr. Whitney playing guitar, sports or video games.