By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
BLUE MOUNTAIN – Barbara Childers McMillin got a head start on her tenure as the incoming president of Blue Mountain College on Tuesday as she met with faculty and staff.
“I want to know the people of Blue Mountain,” said McMillin, a Falkner native, who will become the college’s eighth president on Aug. 1. “That’s my first goal.”
McMillin will officially succeed Bettye Rogers Coward, who is retiring at the end of June after 11 years as Blue Mountain’s president. Janice Nicholson, Blue Mountain’s executive vice president for student affairs and graduate/special programs, will serve as acting president in July.
“I think she’s a natural fit for the college,” said Coward during the Tuesday reception for Blue Mountain faculty and staff. “We’re certainly looking forward to her leadership.”
McMillin comes to Blue Mountain after 20 years at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., where she currently serves as associate provost and dean of instruction.
The search committee and board of trustees were particularly impressed with McMillin’s vision of Christian higher education, said Carl White, chairman of the Blue Mountain College Board of Trustees.
“It seems to be just what Blue Mountain needs right now,” he said.
McMillin, who attended the reception with husband Larry, and son Sam, has ties with many members of the Blue Mountain family.
Blue Mountain vice president for academic affairs Sharon Enzor and McMillin lived in the same Ripley neighborhood when McMillin was an English professor at Northeast Mississippi Community College and Enzor was teaching chemistry at Blue Mountain.
“Twenty-two years later, we get to work together,” said Enzor, who called McMillin kind and genuine. “We’re very fortunate to have her here.”