Officials at Milligan College reported that their 14th president and chancellor, Dr. Donald R. Jeanes, passed away unexpectedly on Monday morning.
“This comes as a great shock to us all,” said Milligan President Bill Greer in a press release. “As our 14th president and chancellor, Don’s presence at Milligan has been deep and far-reaching. His influence helped reshape the college physically, academically, financially, and relationally with the community and churches. Don was a great personal friend to many of us, and this is a great loss.”
A prayer and remembrance gathering was held Monday afternoon in the Mary B. Martin Auditorium of Seeger Memorial Chapter. A campus-wide convocation service will be held Tuesday, August 28, at 11 a.m. in Seeger.
According to the press release, Jeanes was inaugurated as the 14th president of Milligan in October of 1997. He retired in July 2011 and continued to serve the college as chancellor. Under his leadership, Milligan experienced significant growth and achievement.
A native of Georgia, Jeanes was a 1968 magna cum laude graduate of Milligan College. After graduation, he served as director of financial aid and assistant to the business manager at Milligan while attending Emmanuel Christian Seminary. In 1972, he received his master of divinity degree, with honors, from Emmanuel Christian Seminary.
Jeanes joined the faculty at Atlanta Christian College where he taught Bible and humanities and administered the student financial aid program for six years. In 1978 he was named administrative vice president of the college where he served until 1984. During this time he did doctoral coursework at Emory University.
An ordained minister, Jeanes served as associate minister and operations manager at First Christian Church in Johnson City from 1984 to 1986. He then was called to serve as senior minister of Spring Branch Christian Church in Houston, Texas. In 1991, he returned to First Christian Church in Johnson City, this time as senior minister. From that ministry, he was chosen to be named president of Milligan College in 1997.
Jeanes was an active member of Milligan’s Board from 1981 until his appointment as president. In 1994 he was awarded the honorary doctorate of divinity degree by Milligan College.
In the community and church, Dr. Jeanes served on the boards of Christian Missionary Fellowship, the Christian Church Foundation for the Handicapped, Mountain States Health Alliance, Elders of First Christian Church, Johnson City and the State of Franklin Savings Bank. He was a member of the Johnson City Rotary Club, having served as president in 2000-2001. He also served as a volunteer chaplain at the Johnson City Medical Center for a number of years.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of Don's passing. Don was not only an outstanding leader in our region, but he was also a treasured friend,” said Dennis Vonderfecht, president and CEO of Mountain States Health Alliance. “For many years, he has been a pillar of the community and a pillar within Mountain States Health Alliance. He began his service in health care as a volunteer chaplain at Johnson City Medical Center in 1992, and was later appointed to serve on the board of directors. Don’s leadership was instrumental in the formation of Mountain States Health Alliance in 1998, and he has continued to guide our organization through many changes since then. Don had recently begun his second appointment as MSHA board chair on July 1 of this year. Throughout his esteemed career, Don has always maintained a passion for ministry, and he never stopped serving in the volunteer chaplain role that he began two decades ago. Through his example in both leadership and service, Don leaves behind a legacy of great character and integrity. I am grateful for the mark that he has left on MSHA and will dearly miss his friendship.”
Funeral arrangements are still pending at this time.