Seeger Chapel steeple against an orange sunset

Milligan honors the life of Dr. Carrie Swanay

The Milligan community grieves the loss of beloved, long-time professor Dr. Carrie Swanay, who passed away on Thursday, July 24, 2019, following a lengthy battle with cancer. A memorial service is planned for Sunday, July 28, 7 p.m., at Tetrick Funeral Home, 3001 Peoples Street, Johnson City, Tennessee. Visitation will be held prior to the service from 4-7 p.m.

Swanay faithfully served as professor of communications at Milligan College for 29 years and as the area chair for performing, visual and communicative arts for 10 years. She brought extensive professional broadcasting experience when she joined the faculty to teach and oversee the operations of the college’s emerging communications major. During her tenure, she led the faculty and the arts program through several curriculum changes, and she was instrumental in the creation of several recent majors, including graphic design and musical theatre.

“Carrie’s nearly 30 years at Milligan were characterized by her positive attitude and her willingness to go way beyond the call of duty,” shared Milligan President Dr. Bill Greer. “I will miss her ‘can do’ attitude and her ‘get it done’ approach to every task, whether that task was her responsibility or not. Her commitment to Milligan’s mission and our students will always stand as an example for us all.”

Swanay was presented the Fide et Amore award, Milligan’s highest acknowledgment of service, during the college’s commencement ceremony last December. The college also hosted a dedication and reception for the Dr. Carrie Swanay Studio in the Paxson Communications Center in April. Faculty, students, alumni and community leaders attended the dedication to support and celebrate Swanay’s impact on Milligan. Many former students traveled from various cities and across state lines for the dedication, a testament to Swanay’s investment in her students.

Swanay’s colleagues emphasize her dedication to students and their development. Swanay served as a faculty mentor for incoming students every year. Furthermore, she launched various opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience, to keep up with the latest trends in their field, and to be prepared for the workforce that awaited them upon graduation. In addition, Milligan’s faculty and staff appreciate the steady leadership she provided to her academic area and to the entire college. She is remembered as a determined, tenacious and deeply generous colleague and friend by her peers.

Swanay was deeply invested in the community and created opportunities for her communication students to also engage with local institutions. For over 15 years, Swanay partnered with the City of Johnson City to allow Milligan students to gain practical experience through video productions of the city’s board of commissioners and planning commission meetings, as well as public service announcements. The city’s board of commissioners honored Swanay for her community service in June.

Prior to joining Milligan’s faculty, Swanay served as manager of the production department at WJHL-TV 11. She was a graduate of East Tennessee State University and completed a doctoral degree with a concentration in digital multimedia design and development at Virginia Tech.


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Posted by on July 25, 2019.