Example, and a Few Words

By Bill Greer

(From our series “The Best or Worst Advice I’ve Ever Received.”)

Bill Greer (right) enjoys a sunny day on campus with Don Jeanes,  who preceded him as president of Milligan College.
Bill Greer (right) enjoys a sunny day on campus with Don Jeanes,
who preceded him as president of Milligan College.

Few people have had as much impact on me as my predecessor, friend, and mentor, Dr. Don Jeanes. With Don, it wasn’t so much that he shared advice
verbally. Instead, he shared most of his advice through example. As the 14th president of Milligan College, he was consistent in his treatment of people, steadfast in his faith, and persistent in his quest for excellence. 

But as he turned the presidency of Milligan over to me, I will always be grateful that he took the time to share a little advice with me; advice that can best be summarized with the words, “Be a good steward: lead and serve in a way that will outlast your presidency.” 

Don worked diligently to ensure Milligan would flourish while he was president, but also that Milligan would flourish after he retired. He was a true and good steward in every sense of the word; he cared for what God entrusted to him, and then made sure others were coming along behind him to do the same. 

Before I had even moved into the president’s office, Don asked me, “Who do you think should be your successor?” I joked with him that I’d at least like to unpack my boxes before thinking about that! He laughed, but I’m sure he meant it in all seriousness, because Don always planned ahead. Way ahead. 

Sadly, Don passed away about a year after he retired, and I miss him greatly. But for his life of “advice by example,” I am forever grateful.

Dr. Bill Greer serves as president of Milligan College in Tennessee.

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