By Cassandra Leibengood
On Feb. 7, 2022, Provost Dr. Greg Miller was announced as the new president of Malone. When President Dr. David King announced his retirement in the fall 2021 semester, a lengthy selection process to find the next Malone president began. After a unanimous vote by the selection committee, Miller was chosen as the best candidate.
For many years, Miller has been an integral part of the Malone community and leadership as a professor of history and later as the provost. Early in his life, Miller felt a calling to minister and teach college students so that he could help direct them to great futures.
“Education was like the key to unlock so many things,” Miller said. “So I loved learning. I loved the transformational power of education. I love actually working with traditional age college students because it’s this pivotal time in a person’s life… Ministry is about caring for people in whatever way God calls you to care for people. I would express my ministry primarily in higher education.”
Miller and his wife, Darla, experienced the love and community that the people at Malone offer early on. Not surprisingly, they both have expressed that Malone is a special place with people and an environment that they love, so they chose to raise their family close to campus.
After years of researching and teaching, Miller became the provost in 2019. This change in position allowed him to have a larger role in taking care of the academics and athletic areas of Malone. Despite not being in the classroom as much, Miller was still able to interact with students, faculty and staff.
“[Being provost] enabled me to come to know and appreciate the work that so many of our colleagues do across campus,” Miller said.
Applying for the president position after the announcement of King’s retirement was the next step for Miller.
In the decision process of choosing the new president, Miller showed board members and president committee members that he had a lot of ideas on how to improve Malone as an institution and for the students. His imagination for higher education and his overwhelming love for the university made him one of the best and ultimately the final candidate for the position.
“One of things that I think is very interesting about him is that he has a very innovative look at how things can operate,” Rod Neuenschwander ‘99, chair of the board of trustees, said. “He’s creative. And he’s not afraid to execute upon that and try that. And that’s going to be a necessary skill… which will prove to be beneficial to Malone.”
“[Miller] has the experience, the knowledge, the skill and the potential to be president anywhere,” Bekah Stranger, senior integrated social studies and language arts double major and member of the presidential committee, said. “He chose Malone because he loves it.”
Neuenschwander and Stranger saw first hand in the presidential selection process how perfect Miller was for the position. His ideas for improving Malone for students and for the Northwest Ohio Community made him stand out as a candidate.
“[I] was looking for somebody who could be an effective CEO, depending on where we want to take the school, with a vision and [to] really re-engage with the church and the community in a big way,” Neuenschwander said. “Miller has proven to be somebody who has both the visionary and the ability to articulate that and execute that.”
“Something that made Dr. Miller stand out is that he is overwhelmingly qualified in every area that we need,” Stranger said, “He’s willing to make tough decisions in the moment for the greater good which is something I think we really need in a strong president.”
All of these attributes will serve Malone in many beneficial ways. Already, Miller has many goals and hopes to accomplish for the next few years and beyond. One of these goals is to be a Christian resource in Northeast Ohio as a university and community.
“I’m excited for Malone to be a hub for Christian culture and education in all of Northeastern Ohio,” Miller said. “[Where] people throughout the entire region come here for events… so we are able to serve the entire region as a resource in terms of Christian culture.”
For the future, Miller is looking into ways to make college more affordable for all students and lessen the financial burdens felt by many students at Malone.
“I want to put the best thinking that we have, some of the best minds to [figure out] how we can make a Malone education affordable for people,” Miller said. “Because college is expensive and we want to minimize the amount of debt that students graduate from college with and maximize their experience.”
Miller also wants to lean into creating spaces for students and faculty to discuss hard and controversial topics. For many years, Malone has engaged in these topics in various capacities, but Miller wants to encourage all students from many walks of life, Christian or not, to have conversations about life in constructive ways.
“Dr. Miller is very committed to what I think is foundational to Malone and he shares this belief that Malone is a place where people of all types can come together and have a healthy dialogue about everything and anything,” Stranger said. “We don’t need to come from the same place and we don’t even need to come to the same solution. But we’re willing to have those hard conversations while also remaining unapologetically and commitedly Christian.”
“I feel like we’ll be able to be more open and also be a closer community,” Nichelle Mosley, sophomore music major, said. “It seems like he wants to bring everybody together or just have more conversations and build us up together as a family.”
Miller and his wife are excited to get to know many of the students on campus. They told students at the Student Senate meeting on Feb. 16 that they want to invite students over to their home to meet and learn more about the different communities on campus.
“We’re going to be present with our students,” Miller said. “It would be my goal that no one could graduate from Malone without at least one time having an invitation to our house in a group small enough that we can get to know them and have a real, legitimate conversation with them.”
And so far, students are excited about getting to know the new president in the coming months.
“After the meeting, I felt like he was very much genuine,” Mosley said. “That was just who he was… [Darla] seems like someone who wants to pour into us and be a woman figure we can look up to.”
“I’m very excited for the student body to get to know him [and] for people to get to know his face so when they see him around they know that this is the president,” Stranger said.
The occurrence of a large change like a new president can bring uncertainty, but Miller has shown that he will bring genuine, good change to Malone. Students can be certain that the new president wants to know them and help make Malone their home.