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Freed Names New President

Monday, January 14th, 2008

After much deliberation, Freed-Hardeman University has chosen a new president to succeed Milton Sewell, who stepped down in June to serve as the university’s chancellor. Joe Wiley, president of Rogers State University in Claremore, OK, has been selected to lead the small Christian university in Henderson, TN.

Freed has released a statement from Dr. Wiley, which reads,

I am thrilled that the board of trustees has entrusted me with the leadership of this wonderful university. Dr. Sewell has accomplished great things during his long tenure with the university. I look forward to stepping in and continuing the great history of this university and the presidents that have served here. I can’t wait to get started.

From the article in the Christian Chronicle, it appears that the board of directors were most impressed with Dr. Wiley’s experience demonstrated at Rogers State, which became a four-year institution and has seen its enrollment grow 65 percent since he took the reins in 1999.

Dr. Wiley’s background is in mathematics. The only spiritual qualities that were mentioned in the Christian Chronicle were given by an elder Dr. Wiley served with at the Seventh and Beech Church of Christ in Durant, OK, who said he was “very outstanding, likable, friendly.”

Many of us who have graduated from Freed-Hardeman have been anxiously awaiting this announcement, hoping to hear that our beloved institution would be led by someone with proven spiritual character, a leader in the vein of N.B. Hardeman, H.A. Dixon, and E. Claude Gardner.

Milton Sewell did a great job during the 18 years he was president. The enrollment has grown, many new structures have been built, and the school still stands on Scriptural principles. But with President Sewell, Freed’s board of directors proved that they were no longer satisfied with preachers serving as president. It seems that they have decided to continue down this road. At least President Sewell had served as president for Mars Hill Bible School. What do we know about Dr. Wiley’s values?
I realize that universities are held to higher academic standards these days and that Freed-Hardeman needs a president who understands these things, as well as a leader who possesses the spiritual values that have made it a great place for Christian young people for so many years. I trust that will learn more about Dr. Wiley’s spiritual qualifications in the next few weeks.

Pray for Freed-Hardeman as she begins this new phase. Some of us have kids that need a good Christian college in a few years.