Milligan University announces Dr. Stephen Waers as next president, succeeding Dr. Bill Greer
Published 2:37 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2024
BY ROBERT SORRELL
Following an extensive search, a former Milligan University graduate has been named the institution’s next president.
On Tuesday, university leaders announced the selection of Dr. Stephen Waers, who will succeed retiring President Dr. Bill Greer.
Last year, Greer, who had become president in 2011, said he planned to retire at the end of the 2024 academic year.
Dr. Richard Phillips, chair of the Board of Trustees, said the search began following Greer’s retirement announcement.
“The search committee set out last May to find an experienced, innovative, Christian leader capable of continuing Milligan’s long tradition of academic excellence into the 21st Century,” Phillips said.
The original call for applicants yielded 40 candidates. The committee then narrowed the field to 12, then four, then two, before selecting Waers, according to Phillips.
“We have full confidence Dr. Waers has the ability to carry on our rich traditions and standard of excellence while finding innovative ways for our beloved university to thrive in the years to come,” Phillips said.
Waers currently serves as the Chief Academic Officer and Chief Information Officer at Point University in Georgia.
Waers received a Master of Divinity degree from Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan with a concentration in Church History. He also holds a Doctorate in Historical Theology from Marquette University in addition to his undergraduate degree, which he earned at Point.
The president-elect spoke to the Milligan community during the announcement ceremony at Gregory Center.
“Fidelity is at the top of the list,” said Waers, when speaking about his legacy.
Fidelity is the quality or state of being faithful.
“When I think about what it means to be faithful as I serve Milligan as its next president, I am conscious of the tradition, history and excellence of Milligan,” Waers said in a prepared statement. “I am cognizant of the fact that the history, tradition and excellence are rooted most deeply in Milligan’s faithfulness to Christ and determined adherence to its Christ-centered mission of educating men and women to be servant-leaders.”
Waers said the university is in the strongest position it has ever been thanks to Greer’s leadership. During Greer’s tenure, Emmanuel Christian Seminary was integrated into Milligan, several significant new programs were added, including engineering and physician assistant studies, Milligan’s endowment more than tripled, Milligan’s academic programs were reorganized, and the institution was elevated to university status, according to a news release.
“Without compromising identity or mission, Dr. Greer led the university to expand its curriculum so it could prepare Christian servant-leaders to serve in technical fields like engineering and computer science,” Waers said. “He led the university to incorporate a seminary as an expression of its commitment to serving the local church. Dr. Greer’s presidency has been marked by change, but it is a good and faithful change.”
Greer will continue to serve Milligan as chancellor. He will work alongside the university’s leadership to maintain important external relationships, the release states.
Greer briefly spoke about controversies currently surrounding university presidents.
“University presidents are under a lot of scrutiny,” Greer said.
Greer added that Milligan has stayed on mission for more than a century and a half.
“Milligan has been at the heart of my life for most of my life, and I plan to continue furthering Milligan’s mission in my new role as chancellor,” Greer said. “As we move forward, I am excited to see the way God works through Stephen to further Milligan’s mission of developing men and women into servant-leaders.”
Waers will assume the presidency on Aug. 1.