Bryan College President Stephen Livesay announces retirement, Provost Douglas Mann to succeed

Written by: Mathäus Schwarzen, staff writer

DAYTON, Tenn.—The Bryan College Board of Trustees announced on Wednesday, September 24 that longtime Bryan President Stephen Livesay will retire July 15, 2020. After a 17-year tenure, Livesay will be succeeded by Provost and Vice President of Academics Douglas Mann.

The announcement came in the form of a letter from the Board of Trustees Chair Delana Bice, who thanked Livesay for his time as president and explained that the Board chose Mann as his replacement. 

Bryan College President Stephen Livesay announced his retirement September 24

“Of the Board of Trustees’ many responsibilities, one of the most important is prayerfully entrusting the presidency of the college to a faithful servant leader,” Bice wrote. “After months of succession planning and a great deal of prayer, the Board has chosen Dr. Douglas Mann to be the new president of Bryan College effective July 15, 2020.”

The news of Livesay’s retirement comes close on the heels of a highly advertised 40% tuition reduction that caused some concern and unrest among students. Most students did not understand that the school would also be reducing scholarships to keep the average bill roughly the same. 

The school also clarified that it will be limiting credit hours to 16 per semester after the news was inadvertently released. 

Livesay, the third longest-serving of seven Bryan College presidents, was hired to succeed Dr. Bill Brown in 2003, who left to serve as the president of Cedarville College in Ohio. 

The Board of Trustees selected Livesay from eight candidates chosen by a professional recruitment consulting firm. The Texas native was previously vice president for institutional advancement and associate professor of education at Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss.

Livesay’s time as president has been one of growth for the school. He oversaw the addition of online classes, dual-enrollment and graduate programs at the college. The college also opened a satellite campus in Ooltewah, Tenn. and now serves 1,450 students. 

Bryan also opened a new building on Friday, October 4 as part of the 2018 to 2020 “Making a Difference: Vision to Reality” initiative. Named after Glenn Stophel, who was chairman of the board of trustees when Livesay was appointed, the Stophel Center will house the admissions department and a banquet facility, as well as other offices.

“The Stophel Center has been a necessity for a long time,” Livesay said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the center on Feb. 5, 2018. “Admissions have always been concerned that when people come to Bryan they don’t know where to go, and this building will solve that issue.”

Despite all of these advances, Livesay holds reaffirming the school’s statement of faith in 2014 as his greatest achievement. The affirmation, which required college staff and faculty to acknowledge Adam and Eve as historical figures, resulted in the resignation of five trustees. The faculty of the school also passed an overwhelming vote-of-no-confidence in Livesay’s leadership as a result.

“God gives us opportunities to grow in our faith, and how we respond to things in life is many times more important than our actions,” Livesay said, looking back on the event. “My goal was to be as kind and loving as I could to everyone, even those who disagreed with me. And through that, God enabled us to successfully come through it in a very strong way.”

Livesay and his wife, Corinne, have purchased a house in North Carolina. They plan to move there to spend time with their daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.

Dr. Douglas Mann will be the new president of Bryan College starting July 15, 2020

Mann will begin his third year at Bryan College when he becomes president immediately following Livesay’s retirement July 15. He previously served as the vice provost for graduate education, administrative dean for graduate programs and dean of the graduate school for Liberty University. His appointment to be the next president came as a surprise to him.

“I came to Bryan to be the Vice President for Academics and Provost and to serve the College and the President in that role,” Mann, a Bryan graduate from the class of 1992 said. “I was quite surprised when the President indicated that he was thinking of retiring.”

Mann will inherit the school’s new lower tuition cost as well as the next formative years of the new Vogel School of Engineering. The school plans to add a competitive shooting team in the fall of 2020, and a nursing degree possibly the year after.

Mann said that he hopes to enhance the academic program offerings at Bryan College and add more international service opportunities for students. He also wants to add opportunities for the staff of the college. 

“The people who serve at Bryan College—the staff and faculty—are a core strength of Bryan College,” Mann said. “I want to provide increased opportunities for personal and professional development—I want to invest in our people for their growth and for the colleges’ continued good.”

Mathäus Schwarzen is a staff writer for the Bryan Triangle specializing in campus news, and a sophomore at Bryan College, majoring in creative writing. He spends his free time writing, drawing and listening to music.