Seeger Chapel steeple against an orange sunset

15 servant-leaders, including President and First Lady Greer, recognized in 22nd LCS ceremony

MILLIGAN, Tenn. (Jan. 11, 2024) — Today, Milligan University recognized 15 leaders who have demonstrated servant-leadership in their careers and community at the university’s 22nd annual Leaders in Christian Service program.

Milligan President Dr. Bill Greer served as this year’s speaker, marking his final Leaders in Christian Service ceremony before he retires at the end of the current academic year and transitions to the role of chancellor.

“Milligan’s mission is to honor God by educating men and women to be servant-leaders, and each year, we honor individuals who make the lives of those around them better,” said Greer.  “To be recognized as a ‘Leader in Christian Service’ isn’t about being recognized as a leader. It’s about being so committed to helping others that one is recognized as being a servant.”

Greer and First Lady Edwina Greer were surprised during the ceremony, as they were also recognized as Leaders in Christian Service recipients.

Greer’s tenure at Milligan spans over three decades, where he has served as the university’s 15th president, vice president of advancement, MBA program founder and director, and professor.

As president, Greer oversaw the reorganization of Milligan’s nine academic areas into five schools; led the integration of Emmanuel Christian Seminary into Milligan; and championed the creation of Milligan’s engineering, physician assistant, and ministry leadership programs, among other new and innovative programs. These milestones achieved Milligan’s strategic goals and ultimately led Milligan College to become Milligan University in 2020. Greer has successfully led major capital campaigns, resulting in more than 80 million dollars raised for the university. Under his leadership, Milligan has not only held steadfast to its original mission but has strengthened its call to educate men and women to be servant-leaders.

The 2023 Leaders in Christian Service honorees include:

Dr. Eddie Abernathy, Jr., of Rogersville, Tennessee, is the owner of Rogersville Vision Clinic. He attends Rogersville First United Methodist Church.

Michael Gibson, of Sneedville, Tennessee, is the owner of Gibson’s Tax Service and is a member of Elm Springs Baptist Church.

Tracy Green, of Greeneville, Tennessee, is the wellness coordinator for the Town of Greeneville. She attends First Baptist Church in Greeneville.

Dr. Bill and Edwina Greer, of Johnson City, Tennessee, are President and First Lady of Milligan University. They attend First Christian Church in Johnson City.

Bob Hall, of Elizabethton, Tennessee, is the director of Family Promise of Greater Johnson City. He is a member of Grandview Christian Church.

Lucille Hart, of Elizabethton, is a retired music teacher who attends Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church.

Dr. David Hicks, of Elizabethton, is the president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Elizabethton. He attends Bremen City Church in Bremen, Georgia.

Scott Ledford, of Piney Flats, Tennessee, is the Chief Operating Officer at Christian Medical and Dental Associations in Johnson City. He attends Fellowship Baptist Church.

Timothy Phillippe, Ph.D. and Mary Fern Phillippe, of Johnson City, are retired and attend First Christian Church in Johnson City. Timothy previously served as President and CEO of Christian Homes, Inc., and Mary Fern worked as a lifestyle director for senior living homes.

Mark and Sherry Yeaton, of Columbus, Indiana, are educators and members of Ogilville Christian Church. Mark has taught in public education and Sherry has served as a pre-school director.

The university also recognized two student servant-leaders with the Todd Beamer Student Leaders in Christian Service award. This honor is named in memory of Todd Beamer, whose famous words, “Let’s roll,” became a symbol of American heroism after he and other passengers tried to reclaim United Flight 93 from hijackers. The plane eventually crashed into a Pennsylvania field, leaving no survivors.

The Beamers, along with their son, often attended a family ministry camp on Milligan’s campus. They played a valuable role in the Beamer Leadership Scholars Program at Milligan and established The Todd Beamer Scholarship at Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan in his memory.

The Todd Beamer Student Leaders in Christian Service include:

Emmie Gullett, of Johnson City, Tennessee, is a junior at Science Hill High School where she is president of Science Hill’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She attends First Christian Church in Johnson City.

Caden Heupel, of Cookeville, Tennessee, is a senior nursing major at Milligan. He serves on the university’s Campus Activities Board, student worship group and triathlon team. He attends Redeemer Community Church.

For more information about Leaders in Christian Service, visit

Posted by Greer, Allie E on January 11, 2024.