Higher Education




Memphis boasts an array of higher education institutions. In the city, you can get undergraduate and graduate degrees in virtually all disciplines. You can go to a school and begin your learning adventure even if you don’t know where it leads, you can go to a school where you can get a strong liberal arts education, or you can go to a school and get an advanced degree in science or mathematics. You can study to be a world-famous artist or musician, a world-class doctor or nurse, or a world-beating attorney. The POWER PLAYERS in this category are masters of organization with dynamite people skills, keen intellects, and an eye for what makes a campus conducive to learning.

JOHN M. BOREK JR.
President, Victory University. Ph.D., Business Administration. Served on and chaired visiting and special committees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Former Chairman, Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Former President, Liberty University. Co-founder, American Leadership Institute and Seminary. Pilot and Advanced Ground Instructor, Aviation. Former Board Member, NCAA Conference and Member, NCAA Evaluation Committee.

JIMMY H. DAVIS
Vice President, Union University. Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Oversees operations at Union’s Regional Campuses in Memphis and Nashville areas, which provide opportunities for nontraditional adult learners within a Christian context. Author, Designer Universe, which won a Christianity Today Award of Merit. Member, American Chemical Society and Tennessee Academy of Sciences. Member, Germantown Environmental Commission and Memphis Talent Dividend.

CHARLES DEWITT
Dean of Faculty, Belhaven University. M.A., History, University of Memphis; J.D., University of Southern California; currently finishing dissertation for Ph.D., History, University of Memphis. Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve (JAG). Practiced real estate/title insurance law for several years before entering higher education administration and teaching full time. Founded in 1883, Belhaven University serves over 300 students with 11 undergraduate and graduate degrees.

NATHAN L. ESSEX
President, Southwest Tennessee Community College. B.S., Alabama A&M University; M.S., Jacksonville State University; and Ph.D., University of Alabama. Received Educator of the Year Award, University of Memphis, and African American Male Image Award, Hobson-Goodlow Foundation and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Works with Greater Memphis Chamber, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, Memphis Urban Education Center, People First, and Memphis Bioworks Foundation.

RON JONES
President, Memphis College of Art. B.A., Art and English, Shepherd University; Masters, Arizona State University; and Ph.D., Aesthetics Education, University of Maryland. Former Dean, College of The Arts, University of South Florida. Former Chair, West Virginia arts council. Founding Member, Mid-Atlantic Arts Consortium.  Recently invited to White House to discuss arts in higher education and selected to co-chair of the national arts education council of the American for the Arts.

BETTY SUE MCGARVEY
President, Baptist College of Health Sciences. Doctorate of Science, Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Received Distinguished Alumni Award from University of Tennessee Health Science Center School of Nursing, the University of Memphis Lowenberg School of Nursing, and Baptist College of Health Sciences. Named one of “50 Women Who Make a Difference,” Memphis Woman. Board Member, Tennessee Baccalaureate Education System Trust. Immediate Past Chair, Memphis Medical Center Advisory Board.

WILLIAM E. TROUTT
President, Rhodes College. B.A., Union University; M.A., University of Louisville; Ph.D., Vanderbilt. Won Distinguished Alumnus Award from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College and named one of nation’s most effective college presidents by study funded by Exxon Foundation. Former Chairman, American Council on Education, National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education, and National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Trustee, Memphis University School.

JOHN SMARRELLI JR.
President, Christian Brothers University. Doctorate and masters, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; has conducted postdoctoral work in biology at University of Virginia. Biochemist by training, retained faculty status in his discipline while holding administrative positions. Board Member, Rotary Club of Memphis East, Catholic Charities, the Economic Club of Memphis, and The Salvation Army. Attends Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.

SHIRLEY C. RAINES
President, University of Memphis. First woman to hold the position. B.S., University of Tennessee at Martin; M.S., and Ed.D., University of Tennessee at Knoxville. During presidency, school completed the FedEx Institute of Technology and the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management, in addition to a new student center and the relocation of the law school downtown. Past Chair, Greater Memphis Chamber. Board Member, Memphis Tomorrow and Memphis Research Consortium.

STEVE J. SCHWAB
Chancellor, University of Tennessee Health Science Center. B.S., Southeast Missouri State University; M.D., University of Missouri School of Medicine. Board Chair, UT Medical Group, the largest physician group in the region. Former interim Dean and Chief Clinical Officer, Medical College of Georgia. Received Distinguished Service Award from National Kidney Foundation of America and Clinician-Scientist Award from the American Heart Association. Fellow, American College of Physicians.

KEN STEORTS
President, Visible Music College. B.F.A., Commercial Music-Recording Engineering, and M.M., Music Composition, University of Memphis; Ph.D., Social Research-Integration of Religion and Society (ABD), Oxford Graduate School, Dayton, Tennessee. Alumni-led band Luminate charted in the CCM market in 2011. Has worked with EMI Music, Worship Together, and INO Records. Dove Award-nominated songwriter. Has several number-one rock songs as artist and songwriter with Skillet.

JOHNNIE B. WATSON
President, LeMoyne-Owen College. B.A., LeMoyne-Owen College; M.A., Indiana University. Former Superintendent, Memphis City Schools. Former President, Future Teachers of America and Alpha Pi Alpha. Honorary L.L.D., LeMoyne-Owen College. Former Chair, Department of Education, and Distinguished Associate Professor, Rhodes College. Board Member, Bethany Homes, Literacy Mid-South, United Way of the Mid-South. Life Member, NAACP, Memphis Chapter.

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