MILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (Nov. 27, 2007) — Thursday morning’s 11 a.m. chapel service will be a historic moment on Milligan’s campus, when the college installs four endowed faculty chairs. Dr. Melinda Collins will be named the Mountain States Health Alliance Chair of Nursing; Dr. Timothy Dillon will be named the Henry and Emerald Webb Chair of History; Dr. Philip Kenneson will be named the Kenneth E. Starkey Chair of Bible and Christian Ministries; and Dr. Jack Knowles will be named the George and Janet Arnold Chair of Humanities.
An endowed chair, explained Dr. Mark Matson, Milligan vice president for academic affairs and dean , is supported by an endowment provided by generous friends of the college. The income from the endowment fund provides some or all of the salary for the professor named to the position.
“Named chairs have a long and illustrious place in academia,” said Matson. “The appointment to a named chair signifies that a faculty member has achieved a special place in the college by virtue of academic accomplishments and teaching excellence. In every case, a named chair is an honor.”
Collins, who will be honored with the Mountain States Health Alliance Chair, is currently associate professor of nursing and has taught at Milligan since 1994. She holds a master’s degree in nursing from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Prior to joining Milligan’s faculty, she served as the clinical nurse manager for the Family Childbirth Center at Indian Path Medical Center in Kingsport. She also worked professionally at Baptist Hospital School of Practical Nursing and completed her master’s clinical work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In addition to teaching, Collins works as an education consultant and member of the editorial board for MEDS, Inc., conducting NCLEX review courses, writing and editing review materials. She also serves as a consultant to the Tennessee Board of Nursing and conducts clinical practice part-time in the Women’s Pavilion at Sycamore Shoals Hospital in Elizabethton.
Dillon will be named the Webb Chair of History, established through the generosity of Henry and Emerald Webb of Johnson City. Dr. Webb taught and was an area chair at Milligan from 1950 to 1990. During that time, Mrs. Webb served as secretary to the business manager and later as secretary to the librarian. The Webbs have led church ministries at several local congregations, including First Christian Church of Erwin and First Christian Church of Bluff City. Dr. Webb is a leading Christian church historian who is dedicated to promoting Christian unity by helping students, ministers and lay people understand the guiding principles of the Stone-Campbell church movement.
Dillon serves as professor of history and humanities and has taught at Milligan since 1982. He holds a B.A. from Milligan College and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in U. S. history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has done additional course work at Emmanuel School of Religion. Since joining Milligan’s faculty in 1982, he has spoken to various school and community groups about the history of the United States. During his tenure he has been interviewed by local media sources as an expert on issues of historical significance . He has also served as a guest commentator exploring the historical context of Federal elections and commenting on the effects of the New Deal on Northeast Tennessee.
Kenneson will be named the Kenneth E. Starkey Chair of Bible and Christian Ministries, established through the generosity of Ken and Jeanne Starkey of Indianapolis, Ind. Kenneson, who serves as professor of theology and philosophy at Milligan, holds a B.A. from Butler University, a M.Div. from Emmanuel School of Religion, and a Ph.D. from Duke University. He has authored several books and his essays and reviews have appeared in such journals as Modern Theology, Reviews in Religion and Theology, Anglican Theological Review, and Pro Ecclesia. In the mid-1990s, Kenneson served on the Missiology of Western Culture Project, a group of 28 international scholars examining Western cultures from the point of view of missiology. Kenneson currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Ekklesia Project, an international and ecumenical network of scholars, pastors, and lay people working for church renewal. For the past four years he has also directed the Ekklesia Project’s Congregational Formation Initiative, a project funded by the Lilly Endowment.
Knowles, who serves as professor of English at Milligan, will be named the George and Janet Arnold Chair of Humanities, established through the generosity of the Arnolds. Reared in Wythe County Va., Mr. Arnold attended Milligan from 1938-41. After service in World War II, he and his wife, Janet, settled in Kingsport, Tenn., where he worked for Home Federal Savings and Loan as vice president and director for public relations until his retirement in 1993. In 1994 Milligan’s Patricia Ann Arnold Nursing Science Center was named in memory of their daughter.
Knowles is a 1969 magna cum laude graduate of Milligan College and holds a M.A. and Ph.D. in English from The University of Tennessee-Knoxville. A longtime C. S. Lewis scholar, Knowles attended weekly meetings of the Oxford C. S. Lewis Society while studying at the University of Oxford in England in 1992. In 2005 he spent an academic sabbatical studying Lewis’s writings at the Wade Center at Wheaton College in Illinois. He frequently serves as a guest lecturer on the life and works of C.S. Lewis at events throughout the U.S. and has been published in several literary journals. In 2004 he was awarded the Fide et AmoreDistinguished Service Citation by Milligan College for his teaching career that now spans nearly four decades.
“Milligan is committed to the tradition and importance of endowed chairs in recognizing and fostering academic excellence among its faculty,” said Matson.
Other faculty honored with endowed chairs at Milligan include Dr. J. Lee Magness, who holds the Vera Britton Chair of Bible; and Dr. Craig S. Farmer, who holds the Joel O. and Mabel Stephens Chair of Bible.
“We are grateful to the generous friends who have helped make these endowed chairs possible,” said Milligan President Donald R. Jeanes. “It is gifts like this that enable Milligan to provide an excellent academic program supported by outstanding faculty.”
The faculty chair installation ceremony will be held in Seeger Memorial Chapel and is open to the public.