MILLIGAN COLLEGE — After 17 years serving in various roles at Milligan College, Dr. Bill Greer was inaugurated as the school’s 15th president Friday.
It’s a job that Greer never really imagined he would have, but it is an opportunity he is looking forward to as the school continues to live out its mission as a Christian liberal arts college.
“I am not interested in us being the largest school around. I just want us to be the best school around, so my vision for Milligan is that we continue to be an excellent institution that maintains at its very center our focus on the Christian liberal arts,” he said before Friday afternoon’s inauguration ceremony. “That’s what we’re about. We’re about preparing people for successful careers, but also for lives of service.”
While Greer is no stranger to Milligan — both he and his wife Edwina are alumni — he said the past three months of his presidency has been a learning experience.
“I have been here for 17 years, but being president, you suddenly see everything from a bit of a different perspective. The budget suddenly looks different. Everything looks different,” he said.
Greer graduated from Milligan in 1985. He completed his M.B.A. at East Tennessee State University, and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Before assuming the role of president at Milligan, Greer served for 12 years as a member of the college’s faculty and was chair of the business area for many years. Most recently, he served as vice president for institutional advancement.
Delegates from more than 50 education institutions and associations were in attendance at the inauguration. Dignitaries and other special guests spoke during the ceremony, including U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, and East Tennessee State University President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker.
During Greer’s inaugural address, he praised the efforts of his predecessors Dr. Marshall Leggett and Dr. Don Jeanes, Milligan’s 13th and 14th presidents.
He also touched upon the school’s history and the legacy set forth by Josephus Hopwood, one of the early leaders of the college.
“Since those early days, Milligan has grown, but our commitment to Christian education has never wavered,” Greer said.
Greer also highlighted a number of challenges the school faces, including budgetary issues, remaining relevant, and embracing technology as educational opportunities continue to evolve.
“Higher education is a must for the new economy. ... The new economy purely and simply requires a new kind of employee, and we must be ready to meet that need,” he said.
While the school will face those challenges, Greer said the central vision of Milligan must always include excellence in scholarship, emphasis on community and a dependence on faith.
“And so, my vision for Milligan College is that in the area of scholarship, we will continue to build our academic reputation both regionally and nationally. In the area of community, we will build an even stronger sense of Christian and collegiate community. And in the area of faith, we will continue to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to Christian leadership,” he said.
An open reception for the Greers will be held today from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Gregory Center for the Liberal Arts as part of today’s Homecoming festivities.