By Dave Ongie, Managing Editor
When Milligan President Dr. Bill Greer emerged from Seeger Chapel last Thursday morning, a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.
Greer had just announced to Milligan’s faculty and student body his intention to retire as the university’s 15th president at the end of the 2023-24 academic year. Greer’s decision was made long before the announcement, but groundwork had to be laid for the impending national search for the school’s 16th president and the leadership transition that will take place next year.
“I told my wife this morning, ’It will be great when this announcement is made and we can speak freely about what’s coming next.’ So there is a sense of relief,” Greer said.
Greer has served Milligan for 30 years, the past 13 as the university’s president. His presidency has been transformational; Greer has presided over Milligan’s transition from college to university, the creation of electrical and mechanical engineering majors, the expansion of Milligan’s campus from 195 acres to 355 acres and a reorganization of Milligan’s curriculum to meet changing workforce and student demand.
“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 last Thursday. “This decision comes with deep personal prayer and reflection, as well as close planning and consultation with our board.”
Greer said he is excited about the prospect of spending more time with his wife Edwina, his sons Logan and Jeremy and his three grandchildren. However, he will not be stepping away from Milligan entirely.
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.”
Greer said he will be involved in the search for the next president and looks forward to helping that person succeed in the role. For all his accomplishments, Greer said he is most proud of helping students achieve their degrees and depart Milligan equipped to make a positive impact on the world.
“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.”