NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — People from three area universities, including Milligan University President Bill Greer, were inducted into the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association’s (TICUA) fourth-ever hall of fame class.
The group of 24 inductees also includes Jewel Bell, a 94-year-old who worked at King University for 70 years until her retirement in September 2022, and Thomas Garland, a former state senator and Tennessee Board of Regents chancellor who served as Tusculum University’s interim president.
The inductees were announced in a news release from TICUA.
Greer, who is retiring at the end of this academic year after 12 years as president, graduated from Milligan in 1985 and later earned a doctorate in economics, according to a Milligan news release. He taught economics and business administration at Milligan starting in 1994 and was vice president of advancement from 2006 to 2011.
Greer has advanced the university’s academic mission through the addition or revision of 25 academic programs, and academic restructuring. His tenure also includes the integration of Emmanuel Christian Seminary into Milligan’s School of Bible and Ministry, 10 successful institutional and program accreditation processes, and the renaming of Milligan College to Milligan University in 2020, the Milligan release says.
Significant program additions include mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and a master’s program in physician assistant studies. Following retirement Greer will continue serving in what will be a new position at Milligan, that of chancellor.
Jewel Bell began her career at King as a housekeeper in a women’s residence hall. The role was supposed to last two weeks, but the school’s president asked her to stay.
Through seven decades Bell ran the school’s switchboard and also became King’s first African-American student during the civil rights era.
Bell has devoted decades of support to organizations such as the American Red Cross and Slater Community Center. She was an original volunteer of Healing Hands Health Center from its opening, and for nearly half a century, she has supported the YWCA of Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia.
Garland, a 1959 East Tennessee State University graduate, served as a role model to Tusculum students, faculty, and staff with the principle of civic engagement that is embedded in the university’s mission. the TICUA release states.
Garland, after whom Tusculum’s library is named, was a state senator for 20 years and also organized several businesses. The Greeneville native founded and served as chair of the Tusculum Institute of Public Leadership and Policy.
Garland served as chair of the university’s $10 million bicentennial fundraising campaign and as one of three co-chairs of the library expansion and renovation. He now serves as a life trustee.