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For over 150 years, Milligan has educated men and women to lead and to serve. Our commitment to Christ-centered liberal arts education has led Milligan to become a growing, well-respected liberal arts institution. Because of our emphasis on scholarship, community, and faith, students come from all over the world to experience our distinctively different approach to higher education.

Milligan offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees, and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs. Consistently recognized for quality and value, Milligan has been recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best regional universities in the South for quality and value; named one of Washington Monthly’s top 20 master’s universities in the nation; and in 2016, listed as the No. 2 best university in Tennessee by BestColleges.com. Check out some of our other accolades »

Our 235-acre picturesque campus is located in northeastern Tennessee, minutes from Elizabethton and Johnson City in the dynamic Tri-Cities region. Read more about our region »

Fast Facts


You get the best of both worlds at Milligan. Our picturesque campus is located in beautiful northeastern Tennessee, within minutes of restaurants, shopping, theatre, and cultural activities, as well as plenty of outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, and more.


National Recognition

Consistently recognized for quality and value, Milligan has been recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best regional universities in the South for quality and value; named one of Washington Monthly’s top 20 master’s universities in the nation; and in 2016, listed as the No. 2 best college in Tennessee by BestColleges.comCheck out some of our other accolades »


We hire respected Christian faculty who value good teaching, discovery, and experiential learning, so students learn from leading thinkers and professionals. 60% of our professors have taught at Milligan for 10 or more years. 80% have terminal degrees. We do not use teaching or graduate assistants, only professors who are qualified, credentialed, and have established teaching experience. Our low student-faculty ratio of 12:1 means lots of personal attention and a better educational experience.  Meet our faculty »



Student Body

Our 1,300 students come from 35 states and more than 30 nations, so you’ll find students with similar interests as yourself, as well as those of different cultures and viewpoints. Eighty percent live on campus in one of 11 residence halls or student apartments, creating a true collegiate environment.

Clubs & Organizations

With more than 40 social, service, honorary, professional, and campus life organizations on campus, there is something for everyone. Learn more »


Service & Missions

Students are involved in a variety of service projects and mission work throughout the world.

Christian University

Milligan is affiliated with the non-denominational Christian Churches and is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, a group of 100 colleges and universities whose commitment to a Christ-centered life goes beyond a mere occasional reference. Read more »

Athletic Powerhouse

Milligan has 26 intercollegiate sports and in the past 10 years, has won 50 conference titles and made 60 NAIA tournament appearances. Men’s: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Cycling, Esports, Golf, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field, Triathlon, Volleyball. Women’s: Basketball, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Cycling, Dance, Esports, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field, Triathlon, Volleyball. Read more about Milligan athletics »

Costs & Financial Aid

Milligan is named one of the best buys among regional universities in the south by U.S. News & World Report. Our cost is below the national average, and approximately 98 percent of Milligan students receive financial aid, including academic scholarships, athletic scholarships, and need-based grants. Read more about Milligan’s value »

Nationally Recognized

President’s National Honor Roll for Community Service with Distinction | Corporation for National and Community Service (2013)2013-14 College of Distinction

Mission & Vision

As a Christian liberal arts university, Milligan University seeks to honor God by educating men and women to be servant‑leaders.


Milligan University defines servant-leadership as a set of dispositions that models, inspires, and advances a shared vision through a commitment to serving others and intentional self-sacrifice rooted in Christian community. Three intertwined spheres form the core values of Milligan’s educational and co-curricular experiences: Scholarship, Community, and Faith. The values, knowledge, and skills that reside at the intersection of these three spheres form the effective servant-leader.


Scholarship is a form of inquiry that stresses the techniques of observation, study, analysis, experimentation and recording in the acquisition, creation, and application of knowledge. Milligan students are led to develop a respect and enthusiasm for sound scholarship and to seek it with diligence and perseverance.  The acquisition, creation and application of knowledge are not ends in themselves.  These activities are means in pursuit of the abundant life that Jesus promised those who follow him as Savior and Lord (John 10:10).


Christian community offers its members a dynamic and supportive environment in which students join faculty and staff, supported by alumni and others, in exploring and practicing the personal and communal dimensions of individual and corporate responsibility under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  This responsibility flows from the stewardship of life and resources rooted in the teachings of the Christian scriptures and focuses on service to humanity to the glory of God.  Such a high calling can be maintained and pursued only within a community in which servant-leadership is a way of living.


Faith is the conviction that God exists and has spoken definitively, revealing the glory of His nature and His will for humankind through the person of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-5). More than simple assent to a set of doctrines or the tenets of a tradition, faith finds its expression in a life of discipleship in which the believer, taking Christ as both teacher and example, learns from Him how to live.  This life of faithful obedience is meant to be pursued alongside others in community, in response to God’s redemptive action, and to reflect the present and coming Kingdom of God, the essence of which is servanthood.

Institutional Outcomes

Just as scholarship, community, and faith undergird the Milligan educational experience, they also frame the intended institutional outcomes:

In Scholarship:

Milligan graduates will demonstrate the ability to acquire, create, and apply knowledge through sound scholarship.

In Community:

Milligan graduates will demonstrate the skills and attributes needed to assume personal responsibility in society and engage culture within the context of Christian community.

In Faith:

Milligan graduates will demonstrate a positive, personal Christian faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior with a commitment to follow the teachings of the Christian scriptures in personal, professional, and social ethics.

Academic and co-curricular programs, educational support services, and administrative support services endeavor to support Milligan University’s institutional outcomes as listed above within their unique context. To this end, each academic program establishes specific student learning outcomes and support areas establish student-centered outcomes that serve the larger institutional outcomes.


History & Heritage

(Click here to read about Milligan’s church affiliation »)

Milligan’s origins go back to an academy founded in 1866 in what is now Hopwood Memorial Christian Church on the banks of Buffalo Creek in Carter County, Tennessee.

Josephus and Sarah Eleanor La Rue Hopwood, 1886

Josephus and Sarah Eleanor LaRue Hopwood, 1886

While it began as a private secondary school known as the Buffalo Male and Female Institute, the institution was soon elevated to the collegiate level with the arrival of Dr. Josephus Hopwood and his wife Sarah LaRue Hopwood. Hopwood came to the school with the understanding that it would become a liberal arts college to train leaders for the churches and the communities of Appalachia.

1896 Classroom Building

1896 – Old administration building, now the site of Derthick Hall.

In 1881, he laid the cornerstone for an expanded building. At the same time he announced both the elevation of the Institute to collegiate rank and the new name, Milligan College. This name was chosen to honor Robert Milligan, one of Hopwood’s former professors of Biblical Studies at Kentucky University (Transylvania/Lexington Theological Seminary).

Milligan College has the rare distinction of being named not for its founder or location, but for a teacher. Hopwood chose the name to honor one of his own former professors, Robert Milligan, who modeled the virtues of Christian discipleship and intellectual formation. Professor Milligan taught his students that learning should be used to develop the potential of Christian men and women to serve Christ and the world.

Hopwood, the dominating personality in the early history of the college, and his wife Sarah LaRue, are coined with its enduring motto, “Christian Education — the Hope of the World.” He continued in the presidency until 1903 when he left Milligan to found a college in Lynchburg, Virginia.

From 1903 to 1915, Milligan had five presidents, one of which was Henry Rufus Garrett, the first alumnus to serve as president. In 1915 Dr. Hopwood, who had completed the founding of colleges in Virginia and Georgia since leaving Milligan in 1903, returned for a two-year interim presidency.

In 1917 Henry J. Derthick became the eighth president of Milligan. During this period Milligan College served many young people from the Southern Highlands. The campus was expanded to some sixty acres, and the facilities of the College were increased. The Administration Building, now called Derthick Hall, was rebuilt after a fire. Dr. Derthick succeeded in bringing the College through the period of World War I and the Great Depression, preserving the academic integrity and quality of the College. The College’s main classroom building is named in his memory. Dean Charles E. Burns succeeded to the presidency in 1940, just prior to the American entrance into the Second World War. In the crisis of that period, Milligan offered its entire facilities to the United States Government. From July 1943 to June 1945 a Navy V-12 program was conducted. Milligan was the only college in the United States given over completely to a Navy program.

The civilian work of the College was resumed under the presidency of Virgil Elliott in 1945. Two major problems confronted the College at this time. The breaking of ties with alumni and friends during the Second World War proved to be a serious handicap. No less difficult was the task of assisting a large number of ex-GIs to effect a transition from military to civilian life.Dr. Dean E. Walker came to the presidency in January 1950 from a 25 year professorship at the Butler University School of Religion. Recognizing the need of the small college to play an increasingly large part in the educational program of the country, the College adopted a long-range development program. Students were enlisted from a larger area, encompassing most of the States and several foreign countries.

Milligan College entrance, 1957

Milligan College entrance, 1957

During Dr. Walker’s administration the campus was expanded to more than 135 acres of land. New buildings included the Student Union Building, Sutton Hall, Webb Hall, the P.H. Welshimer Memorial Library, the Seeger Memorial Chapel, and Hart Hall. On November 1, 1960, Milligan received the Quality Improvement Award administered by the Association of American Colleges for the United States Steel Foundation. On December 1, 1960, Milligan College was admitted into membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

In June 1968, Dr. Jess W. Johnson, having served in the capacity of Executive Vice-President for two years, was elevated to the presidency of the College on the retirement of President Dean E. Walker. The campus continued to develop under Dr. Johnson’s leadership. The College constructed the following buildings: The Faculty Office Building (1969), the Science Building (1972), Married Student Apartments (1974), the Steve Lacy Fieldhouse (1976), and Little Hartland (1977).


On January 1, 1982, Marshall J. Leggett, a Milligan alumnus, became the thirteenth president of the College. During his tenure, the College offered its first master’s degree, the Master of Education. The College constructed the McMahan Student Center (1987) and renovated the old student union building as Paxson Communication Center. The College renovated the upper level of Hardin Hall to house the Arnold Nursing Science Center. Quillen, Kegley, and Williams Halls were built. During Dr. Leggett’s tenure, enrollment increased 31 percent. Dr. Leggett retired on June 30, 1997, and became Chancellor.
Donald R. Jeanes, a Milligan alumnus, became the fourteenth president on July 1, 1997. Under his leadership, the College has continued its momentum. The master’s program in occupational therapy enrolled its first class in August 1998. To accommodate this program addition, the lower level of Hardin Hall was renovated as the McGlothlin-Street Occupational Therapy Center (1998). The Occupational Therapy Program received professional accreditation in 2000. The College renovated Derthick Hall and the Baker Faculty Office Building. The historic Alf Taylor house was renovated in 2003 and renamed the Taylor/Phillips House; it is used as a campus guest house and reception center. The Nursing Program received professional accreditation in 2003; in February 2004, the College began its third master’s degree program, the Master of Business Administration.

The W. T. Mathes Tennis Complex was dedicated in 2005, and a new maintenance building was constructed. The Elizabeth Leitner Gregory Center for the Liberal Arts, a 298-seat theatre along with dark rooms for photography, opened to students in 2008. In Fall 2007, the college reached an all-time record enrollment of over 1,000 students. In spring 2010, the Gilliam Wellness Center opened, and the college acquired additional acreage adjacent to the campus, increasing its size to approximately 195 acres.

Dr. Bill Greer

Dr. Bill Greer

Dr. Bill Greer was named Milligan’s 15th president in 2011. Click here to read about his presidency »

In June 2020, Milligan College became Milligan University.

Woven in Milligan’s historical tapestry are a richly storied past and people of deep conviction and sacrifice. Decades of triumph over adversity underscore the power of faith and the hand of God. Today, Milligan is a flourishing liberal arts institution with a distinctively different approach to higher education. Few institutions share Milligan’s conviction to mold both mind and spirit to develop Christian leaders to change lives and shape culture.


Welcome to Milligan

For over 150 years, Milligan has been dedicated to educating men and women to lead and to serve. Our commitment to Christ-centered education has led Milligan to become a growing, well-respected liberal arts college. Because of our emphasis on scholarship, community, and faith, students come from all over the world to experience our distinctively different approach to higher education.

Now offering more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees, and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs, Milligan is committed to molding both mind and spirit while preparing our students to lead successful, fulfilling, and impactful lives. Our graduates are making a difference in their places of work, their communities, their churches, and their world.

In recent years, Milligan has flourished, thanks to our dedicated faculty and staff and because of our loyal and supportive alumni and friends. I look forward to the years ahead as we continue to be a place where excellence is the standard.

I hope you enjoy exploring our website. Contact us directly to learn more. We’d love to hear from you.

William B. Greer, Ph.D. (’85)

Read Dr. Greer's Bio »   President's Report »

Board of Trustees

Name Profession City
Charles Allcott, III (’77) Banker Tarpon Springs, FL
Tom Banks (’84) Attorney Elizabethon, TN
Thomas Burleson Contractor Johnson City, TN
Ben Cachiaras Minister Joppa, MD
David Clark (’76) Minister Kingsport, TN
Dale Clayton (’73) Vice President of Coaches Ministry Antioch, TN
William R. Clem (’69) Businessman Lexington, KY
Ron Dove Attorney Derwood, MD
Tammy W. Eldridge Businesswoman Johnson City, TN
James Frasure, M.D. (’62) Retired Physician Bloomington, IN
Brenda Green (’82) Businesswoman Elizabethton, TN
James E. Green (’82) Attorney Bristol, VA
Pat Green Businesswoman Elizabethton, TN
William B. Greene, Jr. (’95) Banker Elizabethton, TN
David Hamilton (’86) Businessman Charlotte, NC
David O. Hamlin (’83) Minister Shelbyville, KY
Marshall W. Hayden (’63) Retired Minister Worthington, OH
Greg Johnson (’76) Minister Tarpon Springs, FL
Scott Kent (’91) Businessman Knoxville, TN
Dennis J. Mayes (’75) Businessman Alcoa, TN
John B. Meding,M.D. (’80) Physician Mooresville, IN
Steven Moore Minister Meridian, ID
Richard Phillips (’74) Retired Higher Ed Administrator Memphis, TN
Gary Porter (’68) Businessman Wooster, OH
James R. Rice, M.D. (’88) Physician Irmo, SC
Ron Sewell (’71) Businessman Columbus, IN
Mark H. Webb, D.D.S. (’72) Dentist Bristol, TN
John Wiggins  (’61) Businessman Plainfield, OH
Cal Wilson (’70) Investment Banker Johnson City, TN

Board of Advisors

Name Church, City
Jacquelyn Acker (’55) Akron, OH, at-large
Ryan Arnold (’07) Community Christian Church, Nottingham, MD
Lanny Baker (’70) Bardstown, KY, at-large
Carol Barker (’64) Mountain Christian Church, Joppa, MD
Breanna Beaudinot (’15) 2015 Class Representative
Michael Birkner (’15) 2015 Class Representative
Julie Black (’78) Clayton Christian Church, Clayton, IN
John Boice Church of Christ at Manor Woods, MD
Barbara Boswell (’78) First Christian Church, Johnson City, TN
Darla Bowes (’72) First Church of Christ, Lockhaven, PA
Laura Buffington (’00) South Brook Christian Church, Miamisburg, OH, at-large
David Chapman (’95) East Tenth Street Church of Christ, Roanoke Rapids, NC
Steven Clem (’03) Tates Creek Christian Church, Lexington, KY
Alvin Covell (’58) Frankton Christian Church, IN, at-large
Lee Cox, III (’91) Worthington Christian Church, Columbus, OH
E. Richard Crabtree Academy Christian Church, Colorado Springs, CO
Mark Cummings (’96) Crossroads Christian Church, Gray, TN
Daniel Dabney (’02) Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, KY
Laura Doolittle (’89) Lexington, KY, at-large
Dennis Dove (’91) Shelby Christian Church, Shelbyville, KY
Todd Edmondson (’00)  First Christian Church, Erwin, TN
Sean Fitzpatrick (’92) Worthington Christian Church, Worthington, OH
Doug Fox Grandview Christian Church, Johnson City, TN
Scott French (’82) Frederick, MD, at-large
Sheila Giblin (’85) Plainfield Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN
Rick Gray (’83) First Christian Church, Johnson City, TN
Stacey Henry (’94) Broadway Christian Church, Lexington, KY
Chris Higgins (’89) First Church of Christ, Owosso, MI, at-large
Clinton Holloway (’95) Nashville, TN, at-large
Lisa Howey Church of Christ at Manor Woods, MD
Mike Hubbartt (’92) Generations Christian Church, Trinity, FL
Anne Hughes (’57) Dickinson, TX, at-large
Ladd Iseminger (’98) Dayton, OH, at-large
Plainfield Christian Church, Plainfield, IN
Ethan Magness First Christian Church, Johnson City, TN
Andy McNeely (’06) Silver Spring, MD, at-large
Melisa Meiners (’94) Broadway Christian Church, KY
Sara Beth Merz (’05) First Christian Church, Columbus, IN
Dick Morris Boones Creek Christian Church, TN
Kacie Mullins (’16) 2016 Class Rep
Mary Patterson (’78) Ben Davis Christian Church, Brownsburg, IN
Tom Peters (’97) Blountville Christian Church, Blountville, TN
Rick Raines (’86) Fairmont Christian Church, Mechanicsville, VA
Greg Reece First Christian Church, Mountain City, TN
Kenneth Richardson (’58) Plainfield Christian Church, IN, at-large
Kristen Rosenberg (’08) Grandview Christian Church, Johnson City, TN
Shan Rutherford Greenwood Christian Church, Greenwood, IN
Mignon Sewell (’62) First Christian Church, Johnson City, TN
Rosemarie Shields (’59) Hopwood Christian Church, Johnson City, TN
Andrew Simonsen (’16) 2016 Class Rep
Willard Sims (’82) Colonial Heights Christian Church, Kingsport, TN
Kathy Spotts Blanchard Church of Christ, Beech Creek, PA
Patrick Stuart (’87) McDonough Christian Church, McDonough, GA, at-large
Brian Talty (’03) First Christian Church, Decatur, IL, at-large
Nate Tincher (’06) Jacksonville, FL, at-large
David Tysinger (’76) Johnson City, TN, at-large
Scott Wakefield First Christian Church, Greeneville, TN
R. Mark Webb (’78) Ft. Myers, FL, at-large
Glynn Wells (’67) Mountain Christian Church, Joppa, MD
Betsy Williams Center Christian Church, Rushville, IN
Rick Williams Center Christian Church, Rushville, IN
Robert Williams Linden, PA, at-large
Bill Worrell Knightstown, IN, at-large
Marie Wright (’69) Shelby Christian Church, Shelbyville, KY

Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan Board of Advisors

Name City, State
Rebecca K. Alexander Jonesborough, TN
Jack Allbee Johnson City, TN
Beverly Ashworth Placentia, CA
Michael L. Bain Newnan, GA
Palma L. Bennett Johnson City, TN
Mark Boggess Titusville, FL
Patricia J. Bonner Johnson City, TN
Steelman Borden Sioux Falls, SD
Stephen A. Boulton Eugene, OR
Jeffrey E. Bullock Canton, OH
Stephen D. Carpenter Fayetteville, GA
Christian J. Chae Universal City, TX
David A. Chapman Roanoke Rapids, NC
Stanley Clark Covington, IN
Alvin B. Covell Frankton, IN
Calvin Covington Clemmons, NC
E. Richard Crabtree Colorado Springs, CO
Steven R. Douglas Ellensburg, WA
Brad Dupray Corona, CA
Douglas Edmonds Philomath, OR
Wayne F. Emery Milligan, TN
James B. Fenderson Lanett, AL
W. Edward Fine Elizabethton, TN
Mark Fischer Dodge City, KS
Gene S. Fowler, Jr. Gate City, VA
Craig B. Fraley Hermiston, OR
Gary Hightower Alpharetta, GA
Scott R. Hobson Carrollton, GA
Jeff Holloway Scottsbluff, NE
James A. Huckaba Modesto, CA
John P. Huff, Jr. Canton, OH
Randy Huffines Johnson City, TN
Graham F. Johnstone Pittsburgh, PA
Gary Jurden Eugene, OR
Richard M. Justice, Jr. Noblesville, IN
James E. Keefe Hillsboro, OR
James A. Kirby Boise, ID
Gary W. Knapp Bristol, TN
Judith Knight Eugene, OR
Timothy C. Knight Sea Tac, WA
Douglas W. Lawson Joplin, MO
John E. Leffler Castle Rock, WA
Ronnie Montgomery Jonesville, VA
Rex Mossor Toronto, OH
Frank M. Musgrave Turner, OR
Dale Newberry Boise, ID
Carolyn Nipper Lexington, KY
John T. Parish, Jr. Yuma, AZ
Timothy F. Phillippe Saint Charles, MO
Mark T. Pike Anderson, IN
Richard D. Plew Malabar, FL
Rebecca Plumer Elizabethton, TN
Charles B. Pyke McDonough, GA
David Ray Cincinnati, OH
Guy W. Robins Johnson City, TN
Roger Rodich Bixby, OK
Carl P. Ryden Sharpsburg, GA
John Samples Indianapolis, IN
Dean H. Shearer Turner, OR
Frank Shirvinski Scottsdale, AZ
Ted P. Smith Carmel, IN
Cara L. Snyder Farmers Branch, TX
Daphne Sturtz Roseburg, OR
Gregory M. Summers Jacksonville, FL
Lawrence A. Svarverud Portland, OR
Richard C. Teske Louisville, KY
David G. Tully Kingsport, TN
William Westfall Meridian, ID
James G. White, Jr. Newnan, GA
Denis L. Whittet Gladstone, OR
Jerry L. Williams Indianapolis, IN
Michael L. Williams Bakersfield, CA
Barney D. Wimer Kenmore, WA
Cheryl L. Wissmann Johnson City, TN
Aaron J. Wymer Johnson City, TN

Meet the Cabinet

Dr. Bill Greer

Bill Greer

President; J. Henry Kegley Chair of Business and Economics; Professor of Business and Economics

Phone: 423.461.8710
Contact via email
Office: Little Hartland


Dr. Garland Young

Garland Young

Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dean; Professor of the Practice of Religion and Greek

Phone: 423.461.8720
Contact via email
Office: Derthick Hall, 107


Dr. Lee Harrison

Lee Harrison

Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Management

Phone: 423.461.8719
Contact via email
Office: Little Hartland


Mark Fox

Mark Fox

Vice President for Student Development and Athletics

Phone: 423.461.8784
Contact via email
Office: McMahan Student Center