Coker excited to begin presidential tenure

Coker excited to begin presidential tenure


His tenure as Maryville College’s 12th president has begun.

Dr. Bryan Coker, who was introduced to the campus on Feb. 13 following a national search, took the reins of the 200-year-old college on July 1. He previously served as the vice president and dean of students at Goucher College in Baltimore, Md., and succeeds Dr. Tom Bogart, who announced in July 2019 that he was leaving Maryville College after a 10-year tenure.

Coker’s first day included several on-boarding processes but also a Zoom Cabinet meeting and a socially distanced lunch with Cabinet members in the Harwell W. Proffitt Boardroom of Fayerweather Hall.

In a video message directed to all MC constituents, Coker said he is excited to be on the campus officially and expressed appreciation for the “remarkable service” of outgoing president Dr. Tom Bogart and wife Mary.

“I consider it an honor to follow Tom, and am so thankful for his dedicated stewardship of this institution,” Coker said.

The new president acknowledged that much had changed in the nation and world since Feb. 13 but said his excitement for the job and his commitment to the College was stronger than ever.

“I think our nation and world need Maryville College now, more than ever before,” he said. “The COVID-19 pandemic and the national uprising against racial injustices have altered our ways of living, and for many, challenged traditional ways of thinking. I can think of no group of individuals better equipped to navigate these times than the students, alumni, faculty, staff, and the leadership of Maryville College.”

He promised more information on areas of focus in the coming weeks.

“We will be moving forward in ways that acknowledge these current moments in our nation and world, and that address the challenges facing higher education, all the while staying true to our mission and legacy,” he said in the video message.

In a theme first heard during his introduction on Feb. 13, Coker reminded people that while he may be the president, he is not the presidency.

“ … the presidency is all of us, working together to collaboratively advance this college, as we head boldly into its third century,” he explained. “ … I invite all of you to join me in this journey on which we’re now embarking – keep an eye on Maryville College, because great things are ahead.” 

Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”