by Associate Editor Joe May

HENDERSON, Tenn. (BNc)- Dr. Joe Wiley has been named the 15th president by the board of trustees at Henderson, Tenn.-based Freed-Hardeman University. He replaces Dr. Milton Sewell, who announced his retirement last year.

Dr Joe Wiley According to a press release issued by the university, Wiley is an Oklahoma native who has served as president of Rogers State University, which is based in the northeastern Oklahoma cities of Claremore, Bartlesville, and Pryor since 1999. Under Wiley’s leadership, the school was accredited as a four-year institution in 2000 and since that time has been recognized as the state’s fastest-growing university.

Wiley has also served as executive Vice-President and Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant from 1990-98 Previously, from 1981-88, he was chairman and professor of the Department of Computer Science at that institution. He also served as Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs from 1988-90.

In addition to his professional career, Wiley has served as both an elder and a deacon at the Durant, Okla., church of Christ. He currently attends the congregation in Owasso, Okla.

“I am thrilled that the board of trustees has entrusted me with the leadership of this wonderful university,” Wiley said, adding “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.”

Wiley holds a BSE from Southeastern Oklahoma State University (1972) and a Masters (1974) and PhD in mathematics from the University of Arkansas. He has done post-doctorial studies in computer science at the University of Colorado.

“We are excited about Dr. Wiley and the expertise he brings to the table,” said Mark Castleberry, chairman of the Freed-Hardeman University Board of Trustees said in the press release. “His experience as a successful university president and his academic pedigree are second to none.”

“The selection committee of the board spent many prayerful hours considering the candidates for this position,” added Dr. Lynn Patterson, former chairman of the Board of Trustees.

“We believe God has answered our prayers by bringing us Dr. Wiley. He simply had the most experience of our candidates. He has been in the classroom, in administration and has taken a troubled two-year university and made it a four-year, accredited institution in a short amount of time. Everywhere we went to ask about Dr. Wiley, the same characteristic kept coming up, he is a strong leader.”

In 2002, Wiley was awarded the prestigious John L. Blackburn Award for Exemplary Administrative Leadership from the American Association of University Administrators for his role during RSU’s transition from a two-year to a four-year institution. The award is the most highest one given by the AAUA – the nation’s largest and most respected organization of university administrators. It is the single highest honor given to a university administrator in the nation.

“Our board of trustees has done an excellent job in the selection of our new president,” said Sewell commented. “I am very pleased with the selection of Dr. Wiley and look forward to our work together.”

Sewell, who announced he was stepping down last February, will serve as Chancellor when Wiley takes office.

Wiley has traveled to China on three occasions in 1985, 1986 and 1987 to serve as a technical consultant to the State Commission on Science and Technology. During this time he was a four-time recipient of the Kellogg Foundation Leadership Training Grant by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

He is a member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Council of Presidents where he currently serves as Secretary of the Council and Chair of the Subcommittee on Innovation and Technology.

Wiley is married to Glenda and they have one son, Tommy, and a daughter, Jeana.

The Board of Trustees will introduce Wiley to the community at the upcoming Freed-Hardeman University 72nd Annual Bible Lectureships on February 3-8.

Wiley will assume his duties as president at some point before June 1, 2008.

Freed-Hardeman University is a four-year institution associated with churches of Christ. It was founded in 1869 as the Henderson Male and Female Institute. Throughout its existence it has been known as the West Tennessee Christian College, the Georgie Robertson Christian College, the National Teachers Normal and Business College and in 1919, it was designated as Freed-Hardeman College to honor A.G. Freed and N.B. Hardeman, who served in both teaching and administrative positions within the school. In 1990, it was accredited as Freed-Hardeman University.