MILLIGAN, Tenn. (April 13, 2023) – Milligan University President Dr. Bill Greer announced today he will retire as the university’s 15th president at the end of the next academic year in 2024, following a 13-year tenure that has yielded substantial progress and transformation for the institution.
“It has been a true blessing and honor to lead Milligan, and I am extremely proud of the mission-focused work that we have accomplished together,” said Greer, as he publicly addressed the Milligan campus at an 11 a.m. chapel service today. “This decision comes with deep personal prayer and reflection, as well as close planning and consultation with our board.”
The Board of Trustees has asked Greer to serve as chancellor following his retirement. In this role, he will continue to work with the university’s leadership to maintain important external relationships. He also will play a vital role in the successful completion of the institution’s current comprehensive fundraising campaign, “On Mission: The Campaign for Milligan University.”
Dr. Richard Phillips, chair of the Board of Trustees and a 1974 Milligan graduate, called the Greer presidency “a time of remarkable growth and transformation for Milligan.”
“The Board of Trustees is united in our gratitude for Dr. Greer’s extraordinary leadership,” said Phillips, retired president of the Southern College of Optometry. “He has met and exceeded the board’s expectations in establishing Milligan as a nationally ranked, aspirational, thriving Christian liberal arts institution. We congratulate him and his wife, Edwina, on a shining legacy that will span generations. They have led with a heart and a vision to serve the students, faculty, staff, alumni, churches and friends of Milligan as we impact the world.”
A 1985 Milligan graduate, Greer returned to the institution in 1994 as the J. Henry Kegley Professor of Economics and Business following a decade in business and industry. He was chair of Milligan’s business area and founding director of Milligan’s MBA program. In 2006, he became vice president for institutional advancement, where he led the successful $28 million first phase of the “Forward Ever” campaign. He became president in 2011 following the retirement of Donald R. Jeanes.
Greer has guided Milligan to unprecedented achievements and recognition as one of the “Best Regional Universities” and “Best Value Schools” in the South by U.S. News & World Report. He has advanced the university’s academic mission through the addition or revision of 25 academic programs and an academic restructuring that led to the renaming of Milligan College to Milligan University in 2020. Presiding over the most ambitious fundraising campaigns in university history, he led the institution in raising nearly $70 million for the “Forward Ever” campaign and more than $34 million as part of the university’s current “On Mission” campaign.
Key milestones and accomplishments during Greer’s presidency include:
- Educated and supported a record number of students in attaining their college degrees, achieving several years of record enrollment while maintaining high academic profiles, retention and graduation rates, and underrepresented minority student enrollment.
- Transformed the academic curriculum to meet workforce and student demand through the addition or revision of 15 undergraduate majors, 10 graduate programs, and over a dozen cocurricular programs. Led an academic reorganization to five schools, including the naming of the William B. Greene Jr. School of Business and Technology, 10 successful institutional and program accreditation processes, and the integration of Emmanuel Christian Seminary into Milligan’s School of Bible and Ministry.
- Became the only institution in the region and one of only about a dozen Christian liberal arts colleges in the nation to offer electrical and mechanical engineering majors, both of which achieved accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
- Met a critical healthcare need regionally and nationally with the establishment of a graduate physician assistant program that received Accreditation-Continued status from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
- Led the successful transition of Milligan College to Milligan University in 2020, including a visual identity rebranding.
- Increased national recognition for Milligan’s quality, value and mission through national rankings with U.S News & World Report, Washington Monthly and the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, the highest honor a college can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
- Updated, expanded and enhanced the campus, enlarging the campus footprint from 195 acres to more than 355 acres. Completed the first phase of the Milligan Village and opening of five residence halls. Received the generous in-kind donation of a hilltop hospitality venue and presidential residence, Tara Court. Upgraded and enhanced the B. D. Phillips Building to serve the seminary, engineering and physician assistant programs. Renovated the McMahan Student Center. Upgraded multiple athletic and academic facilities. Implemented a campus-wide effort to make the university more energy efficient.
- Solidified Milligan’s long-term financial security and affordability, even amid difficult budget times, through the most ambitious fundraising campaigns in university history. Maintained a commitment to sound fiscal management and balanced budgets. Received multiple million-dollar grants and gifts. Revised strategic plan to guide Milligan’s prioritized actions to transform the institution, ensure excellence and sustain success.
- Advanced Milligan Athletics to levels of national prominence, capturing more national championship titles during the 2021-22 season (nine) than any other school in Tennessee. Expanded intercollegiate programs from 24 in 2011 to 31 in 2023. Honored more than 100 NAIA All-Americans. Received multiple Champions of Character Five Star Institution Gold Awards through the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Celebrated the first Olympic medalist in Milligan history when then-junior Megan Jastrab earned a bronze medal for Team USA Cycling at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
“Most importantly, we have provided the world with well-educated servant-leaders who are competent in their field and, at the same time, concerned about the welfare of those around them, their communities and their world,” said Greer. “It has been a joy to witness incredible academic, artistic and athletic performances and simply to live, work and play together in this place I love deeply.”
Phillips explained that the Board of Trustees has outlined a strategy for the search and succession process to identify the next president, who will take office in Summer 2024. A search committee consisting of members of the Board of Trustees, Board of Advisors, faculty, administration and student body will be announced in the coming weeks. Greer will work closely with the board during the transition and play a significant role in aiding and onboarding his successor.
“In this coming academic year, we have much to celebrate but also much to do as we continue ‘On Mission,’ so that Milligan can serve many more generations of servant-leaders with excellence and purpose,” said Greer.
Greer is from Mountain City, Tennessee, and holds an MBA from East Tennessee State University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Tennessee.
A complete biography and list of presidential milestones and accomplishments can be found at www.milligan.edu/president.