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Centre College names new president

Milton C. Moreland
Milton C. Moreland

DANVILLE, Ky. — Milton C. Moreland, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Rhodes College, has been selected to serve as the 21st president of Centre College. A respected scholar of religion and an accomplished archaeologist, Moreland will begin his term on July 1, 2020.

He will succeed John A. Roush, whose 22-year presidency is notable for its breadth of institutional transformation at a time of significant change in American higher education.

“I have long followed Centre’s remarkable trajectory and its well-deserved status as one of the nation’s best liberal arts colleges,” Moreland said.

“It will be a significant privilege to serve in this leadership role,” he added, “and I look forward to working with the entire campus community to continue the College’s focus on fostering a diverse and inclusive learning community that prepares young people for citizenship and leadership in an increasingly complex and challenging world.”

Moreland emerged as the unanimous choice of the 18-member search committee comprised of trustees, faculty, staff and a student representative, including many Centre alumni, after an extensive national search.

“Centre was fortunate to have a very deep and impressive candidate pool for this exciting leadership opportunity,” according to Mark E. Nunnelly, who chairs the Centre College Board of Trustees and oversaw the presidential search.

Nunnelly emphasized that the exhaustive process attracted a diverse representation of candidates from all walks of life.

“The qualifications of those interested in leading Centre into its third century of service,” he added, “is testament to the important place Centre has assumed in American higher education ever since its founding in 1819.”

A native of Boise, Idaho, Moreland earned his undergraduate degree in history with honors from the University of Memphis, where his mentor, Dr. Marcus Orr, introduced him to the joy of studying ancient texts, languages and artifacts. Moreland wrote his honors thesis on the Nag Hammadi Library, a set of early Christian texts discovered in Egypt in 1945. He continued his study of archaeology, ancient history and religion at the Claremont Graduate University in California, where he earned his MA and Ph.D. degrees.

His scholarly work appears in leading journals and focuses on the New Testament and early Christianity. Moreland has also edited several books, including Between Text and Artifact: Integrating Archaeology into Biblical Studies Teaching.

Since 2014, Moreland has served as the chief academic officer at Rhodes, a private liberal arts college in Memphis that, like Centre, is consistently ranked among the best in the nation. He first joined the Rhodes campus community in 2003 as an assistant professor of religious studies and was promoted to associate and full professor, serving as the R.A. Webb Professor of Religious Studies.

During that time, Moreland directed the Rhodes Institute of Regional Studies; was the founding director of the Lynne and Henry Turley Memphis Center; and chaired the program in archaeology. Outside of the classroom, his field work with students has involved travel to sites in Jordan, Turkey, Greece and Germany, including collaboration with the Duke University Field School in Galilee, Israel. Moreland was also on the senior staff of the Sepphoris Regional Archaeological Project in Galilee for over 20 years.

After arriving at Rhodes, Moreland also founded and chaired an interdisciplinary program in archaeology and began an archaeological field school in west Tennessee. He directed the excavation of sites connected to 19th-century enslavement at the Ames Plantation and concurrently shifted his scholarship to encompass studies of American slavery, racism, and systemic and institutionalized discrimination.

Moreland will begin his presidency at Centre during a time of unparalleled institutional strength.