Diversity at Milligan

Commitment to All People

“As members of the Milligan College community and in faithfulness to the teaching of Scripture, we commit ourselves to honoring and broadening the diversity of our community and to treating every person with respect, dignity, and love. By reflecting the diversity of God’s kingdom, the College bears witness to that kingdom and equips students to serve in a diverse and interdependent world.” 1

Diversity at Milligan

Milligan College believes that diversity in our student body, faculty, and staff, whether by race, color, ethnicity, disability, multicultural background, sex, or age, is important for us to fulfill our primary mission: to provide a quality education where men and women are prepared as servant-leaders. We believe that:

  • Diversity enriches the educational experience.

    We learn from those whose experiences, beliefs, and perspectives are different from our own, and these lessons can be taught best in a richly diverse intellectual and social environment.

  • Diversity strengthens communities and the workplace.

    Education within a diverse setting prepares students to become good citizens in an increasingly complex, pluralistic society; it fosters mutual respect and teamwork; and it helps build communities whose members are judged by the quality of their character and their contributions.2

  • Diversity promotes personal growth and a healthy society.

    Diversity challenges stereotyped preconceptions; it encourages critical thinking; and it helps students learn to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds.

  • Diversity reflects God’s kingdom.

    The college’s view on diversity is shaped by its Christian faith. The Gospel’s call is always to move beyond our culture-imposed, self-imposed boundaries and to understand that people whom we may have previously labeled “others” are created in God’s image.3

Promoting Diversity

Because of these beliefs, Milligan College desires to reach out and make a concerted effort to build a healthy and diverse learning environment appropriate to our mission. The college relies on academic programs, educational services, and scholarships to recruit and retain a diverse student body. Current initiatives include:

  • The Betty Goah Scholars Program
  • Diversity Services Office
  • Multicultural Appreciation Month
  • Student Multicultural Affairs Committee
    • The mission of the Multi-Cultural Affairs Committee is to make Milligan a genuinely multicultural Christian community. To be such a community is to affirm the worth of all human beings and to affirm the value and significance of the human cultures and communities which have developed over the centuries. It is to affirm a biblical version of the Kingdom of God, in which people from “every tribe and language and people and nation” are gathered (Rev. 5:9). It is also to acknowledge the extent to which racism, intolerance, and other sins have contributed, and continue to contribute to the failure of this endeavor — even within our own Milligan community.
  • Ethnic Studies requirement (see the General Education Requirements)
  • Faculty Diversity Committee
    • This is a group of community and civic leaders who advise and share insight on the direction, process, and efforts to bring diversity to Milligan College.

For more information about these initiatives, please contact 423.461.8492.

Statement of Nondiscrimination

Milligan College admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at Milligan. Milligan does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.


1 Milligan College Commitment to Non-Discrimination, Milligan College Catalog.
2 “On the importance of diversity in higher education.” Farleigh Dickinson University.
3 Higgins, Susan, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Missions, Milligan College.


In 2007, ethnic minority students made up only 5% of the Milligan College student body.  By 2010, ethnic minority students made up 14% of the student body. This dramatic increase was no accident. It began in prayer and was energized by a deep commitment to the idea that diversity is God’s intention and desire, that Milligan College needed to take a proactive role in bringing about diversity, and that a multi-pronged approach would be necessary.

“We will be a strong, vibrant, and diverse Christian collegiate community” was part of the Long Range Plan approved by the Milligan College Board of Trustees. Strategic goals included creating a welcoming and diverse environment, increasing the level of cultural competency of all students, increasing multicultural classroom experiences, and increasing multicultural social and co-curricular experiences.

These goals translated into specific actions, under the direction of Vice President for Enrollment Management, Dr. Lee Fierbaugh. The president appointed a Multi-Ethnic Resource Team, including faculty, administrators, staff, and students. The college hired a Director of Diversity and established an Office of Diversity Services in 2007.

Milligan’s first Director of Diversity Services, Nathaniel Moultrie, had the vision and the ability to generate a great deal of local interest in Milligan’s diversity initiatives, and both he and then-president Don Jeanes met with local ministers and other community leaders from the African American community to get their advice about how the college could best live out its commitment to diversity.

Milligan’s second director was Ernesto Villarreal, who served from 2010 to 2013. Dr. Pat Magness served at interim director from 2013 to 2014. Finally, Dr. Jeff Smith became director in the fall of 2014. In 2015, his title changed to Director of Multicultural Engagement. Dr. Smith works with Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, Dr. Garland Young, to help the college realize its goals more fully. Faculty development, curricular development, increasing diversity of the faculty, facilitating greater multicultural understanding—all these remain important goals as the college continues to pursue a diverse community that provides a living picture of the Kingdom of God.