Milligan president announces pending retirement, appointment to chancellor

Milligan University President Dr. Bill Greer moments after announcing to the student body and faculty that he plans to step down following the upcoming academic year. Photo by Dave Ongie

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.

“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.

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