President Billy D. Hilyer announces plans to retire

President Billy D. Hilyer

Faulkner University President Dr. Billy D. Hilyer announced plans today to retire effective May 31, 2015, at the close of the 2014-2015 school year. Hilyer has served as president for 28 years and is the university’s seventh president.


In a letter to the university’s board of trustees announcing his retirement plans, Hilyer gave credit to past and current board members and to employees for Faulkner’s growth during his tenure as president.


“I am grateful for our wonderful faculty and staff,” Hilyer said. “For years I have received much too much credit, credit that was due the faculty. Much of the progress we have enjoyed through the years is the result of their hard work, often under difficult circumstances, their professionalism and good spirit.”


Hilyer began his career at Faulkner University in 1974 as a part-time counselor and was named director of student services the following year. From there, he progressed to the dean of counseling services/registrar position, then to vice president of campus affairs/registrar, and in February 1986 to executive vice president. He was named president in July 1986. Accomplishments during Hilyer’s long tenure as president include:


– Enrollment has more than doubled.


– Academic offerings have grown, including the university’s first doctorate-level degrees, a graduate school for biblical studies, the Great Books Honor’s College, the Study Abroad program and online degree programs through the eCampus.


– Approval of the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law by the American Bar Association and accreditation for the College of Education by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.


– Four successful major fundraising campaigns and growth in the university’s endowment.


– The transformation of the main campus in Montgomery with new buildings including the V.P. Black College of Biblical Studies, the Harris College of Business, the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, a completely renovated Faulkner Dinner Theatre, a bookstore and student lounge, several new residence halls and the Billy D. Hilyer Stadium.


– Growth of the intercollegiate athletics program, including the addition of a football program in 2007.


“I am grateful to the board of trustees for the unbelievable opportunity given me for almost 28 years now,” Hilyer said in his letter. “Please know that I will continue to give my very best until the last day of my tenure as president and that my prayers will be with the board as you begin the search for the next president of this great institution.”


A search committee to name the university’s next president has already been formed, according to John W. Hill III, chairman of Faulkner’s board of trustees. It is chaired by Dale Kirkland, also a member of the board of trustees, and includes the following: Jim Campbell, Carlton Freeman, Chip Garrett, Jess Hall, Levon Henley, Billy Lambert, Louis Lester and Carole Medley.


“(The board) recognizes there is no greater period of time or more important task before us than the selection of a new president,” Hill said. “And through providence, and your support and prayers and President Hilyer’s continued interest in the university, we will continue to grow and offer excellence in a Christ-centered institution of higher learning to the young of generations to come.”


Upon stepping down as president, Hilyer will assume the new role of chancellor of the university.


“It will be my desire in that role to assist the new president in every way I can and to continue to fully support Faulkner University, while being relieved of the day-to-day administrative duties of the presidency,” Hilyer said.

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