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Former Milligan Administrator & ETSU Alum of the Year to bring Commencement Address

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (July 30, 2002) — A man who contributed greatly to higher education in Northeast Tennessee will be the keynote speaker at Milligan’s summer commencement ceremony this Saturday, August 3, at 10 a.m. Dr. John Derry, president of Dallas Christian College, is an advocate of higher education, having earned two master’s degrees and a doctorate, all while working full-time in higher education for more than 30 years.

Derry spent 13 years as vice president for student development at Milligan College, during which time he completed an Ed.D. from East Tennessee State University and was instrumental in the East Tennessee Consortium for Service-Learning and numerous educational initiatives benefiting the Tri-Cities.

A native of Illinois, Derry completed his undergraduate degree from Lincoln Christian College in 1972 and served as senior minister with two local churches. While pursuing his master of art’s degree in theology and philosophy from Lincoln Christian Seminary, he established a campus ministry at Western Illinois University (WIU), where he served from 1973-85. In 1983, he completed an M.S. degree and did postgraduate studies in educational foundations at WIU.

In 1985, Derry was named vice president for student development and dean of students at Milligan College. During his tenure, he was instrumental in enrollment and program growth at the college. In recognition of his faithful service, in 1999 Milligan presented him with the Fide et Amore citation, the highest honor bestowed by Milligan.

While at Milligan, Derry completed his doctorate degree from ETSU in educational leadership and policy analysis, with an emphasis in higher education. He was later named ETSU’s Alumnus of the Year by the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

In 1998, Derry was selected to serve as president of Dallas Christian College, a Christian college in Dallas, Texas, that has more than 2,000 alumni serving in ministries throughout the world.

Derry has presented numerous workshops and lectures and published articles on Christian ministry and higher education. He has served on numerous organizational boards, including Communities in Schools, Christian Student Fellowship, Rotary Club, North American Christian Convention, and the Association for Christians in Student Development. He is listed in Who’s Who in America in Religion and Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans.

Seventy students will receive degrees at Saturday’s 10 a.m. commencement, held in Seeger Chapel. The 70 include one bachelor of arts (B.A.), 31 bachelor of science (B.S.) – most completed in the college’s Adult Degree Completion program, and 38 master of education (M.Ed.) degrees. Derry’s daughter, Jennifer, will receive her M.Ed. degree Saturday.

An alumni reception for graduates will be held in Lower Seeger following the ceremony.

For more information about Saturday’s ceremony, please call 423-461-8788.


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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