Seeger Chapel steeple against an orange sunset

Milligan launches engineering program

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (Nov. 20, 2014) – Milligan College will offer a new bachelor’s degree program in engineering starting in fall 2016 supported by a $1 million lead gift from Ruth Myers of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Both electrical engineering and mechanical engineering majors will be offered, pending SACSCOC approval, and the entire four-year program will be completed on the Milligan campus. The curriculum for both majors was approved by the college’s faculty and board in October.

“Engineering is a very good fit with Milligan’s liberal arts focus, our strong science and technology programs, and our Christian mission,” said Milligan President Dr. Bill Greer. “We are in a unique position to prepare well-rounded engineers for leadership and innovation in all sectors of the economy and who have a heart to serve.”

Engineering is one of the fastest-growing occupations and is also facing a potential shortage of personnel due to retirements within the baby boomer generation. There are currently 350 engineering schools in the United States, but only 14 at Christian colleges, explained Greer.

“There is clearly a demand for an engineering program that fully integrates Christian faith with engineering practices,” said Greer. “Frequently, prospective students ask us about this major and are forced to go elsewhere to find it. Not anymore.”

The importance of a liberal arts preparation for engineers has been touted recently by engineering leaders such as Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering and president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; William A. Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineers; and George M. C. Fisher, retired CEO of Eastman Kodak.

“Engineering is more than applying math and science to solve problems,” said Dr. Garland Young, Milligan’s academic dean. “A liberal arts foundation enriches engineering components with an understanding of culture, arts, and the humanities, and encourages students to see how technological solutions are interconnected with humanity.”

Milligan engaged two external consultants in the preparation of its engineering curriculum and proposal.

Dr. Greg Harrell served as the program’s lead technical adviser. Harrell holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech and has served as an engineering professor there, as well as taught at the University of Tennessee, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He previously worked at BASF Corporation and currently conducts energy assessments and training for industrial clients around the world, including the U. S. Department of Energy and United Nations.

The college also had an external feasibility review conducted by Gayle Ermer, a professor of mechanical engineering at Calvin College, a Christian liberal arts college in Michigan. Ermer endorsed the program as a good mission fit for Milligan.


Greer and Young said the lead gift from the Myers family is a strong endorsement of the engineering program and Milligan’s STEM programs in science, technology, engineering and math.

Myers made the lead gift in memory of her husband, Malcolm, who was an engineer and business executive. Malcolm Myers died in 2012. The Myers family has a long history with the college. A daughter and two granddaughters are graduates of the school.

“Mrs. Myers and her family wanted to see their gift serve as an inspiration to others as Milligan seeks the additional investments needed to launch this vital program, and for that we are incredibly grateful,” said Vice President for Institutional Advancement Jack Simpson.

The college will use the funds to prepare for the launch of engineering and will name a faculty chair in honor of the Myers family within the William B. Greene Jr. School of Business and Technology at a later date.

The Milligan engineering program will be seeking accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Accordingly, the program has been designed to meet their accreditation standards. The college will enter the ABET accreditation process as students reach the appropriate milestones. More information on ABET accreditation can be found on the ABET web site at

The college estimates it will have approximately 100 students enrolled in the program when fully enrolled, producing about 24 graduates per year. Visit for information on the program and admission process.

Posted by on November 20, 2014.