Gregory B. Jordan, chairman of Bethany’s board of trustees, called Miller “a perfect match for what we’re trying to accomplish.” Jordan cited growing enrollment, raising funds and building endowment as “his (Miller’s) great strengths and successes.”
Miller, 48, currently president of Wesley College in Dover, Del., will become Bethany’s 19th president, effective Jan. 1, college officials stated in an announcement being released today. He will succeed Bethany’s current president, G.T. “Buck” Smith, who is retiring after four years of service.
Described in the Bethany press release as an “entrepreneurial president,” Miller has served at Wesley since 1997. Previously, he was president of Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee from 1991-97, after serving there as executive vice president (1988-91) and vice president for development (1984-88).
“First of all, Scott (Miller) is truly a leader in the small-college presidential community. Having been a president of two small colleges for 16 years, he knows how to do the job,” Jordan said by telephone from London, England.
In a telephone interview from Delaware, Miller described Bethany as “an outstanding academic institution, with an outstanding reputation, a remarkable history, terrific location and outstanding people.”
The western Pennsylvania native remarked that “my background has been in moving institutions to the next level. Bethany is a fine institution, and I look forward to taking it to the next level.” Miller said that goal can be achieved by recruiting “outstanding, academically talented students” and by raising funds to improve facilities and to provide “more modern instrumentation for the faculty and students.”
Regarding the challenges that the college faces, Miller commented, “Traditional liberal arts institutions have to have a greater critical mass on campus. One of the challenges Bethany has had is recruiting a sufficient number of academically talented students.” In response, he said, he would like the school to move enrollment to 1,100 full-time, traditional students.
In addition, he said, “I would like for us to explore global opportunities for our students to see how the rest of the world operates.” To achieve that goal, he wants Bethany to provide opportunities for its students to study abroad and to bring people from other countries to Bethany to study.
Miller said he also plans to bring “contemporary standards to the residential environment on campus” and wants to improve facilities so that Bethany is “on the cutting edge” and “comparable to modern institutions.”
Jordan, a Bethany alumnus and Wheeling native, commented, “Scott (Miller) is a very well-rounded person. He is a scholar, he’s an author and a speaker. He’s very up to date in terms of modern educational thinking. He’s also helped oversee a tremendous performance on the athletic side, which can also be part of a small college’s success. He really comes at it from all angles. He’s also very much a technology, data-driven president. He understands the competitive landscape, where the best opportunities are. He’ll be using all the modern techniques to help Bethany succeed.”
The board chairman also praised the school’s current leader. “Buck Smith has done an outstanding job as president, and he gave Bethany exactly what it needed during these years and, most importantly, positioned us to attract an outstanding president to take the college forward into the future,” Jordan stated.
Miller, who spent most of his youth in Edinboro, Pa., graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1981. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Dayton in 1984, a degree in education from Vanderbilt University in1988 and a doctorate from The Union Institute and University in 1991.
He and his wife, Annie, a native of southeastern Ohio, are excited about moving to Bethany. They are slated to live on campus at Pendleton Heights, the traditional residence of Bethany presidents.
Scott D. Miller