As an affirmation of the accomplishments in her first three years as president of Greenville University, Suzanne Allison Davis has been offered a contract extension through the year 2030 by the University's board of trustees.
"Based on the extensive positive developments occurring at Greenville University, the board of trustees initiated a conversation with the president about an extension of the traditional three- year contract," said Jerry Hood, board chair. "With President Davis' next strategic planning initiative being a vision for 2030, the board and Davis agreed to a six-year contract extension."
Davis began her presidency three years ago with a 1,000-day plan focused on immersive experiential learning outcomes, interconnected partnerships, innovative operational tactics, financial stability obtained through vigorous enrollment, advancement, and alternative revenue, and a tightened alignment with the Free Methodist Church.
Although the 1,000-day plan ends in mid-2024, Davis has accomplished much throughout her tenure as president. She championed the idea of immersive and real-world learning. She played an instrumental role in implementing SMART initiatives, a collaboration between the University, community, and regional businesses to cultivate economic development and educational opportunities in Greenville, Illinois. "Interconnected" is how she describes the University's
relationship with the city of Greenville. "We are partners committed to regional growth," Davis said. Greenville University and the town of Greenville plan for continued revitalization together. With streamlined budgets, aggressive goals, and a spirit of entrepreneurship, Davis begins her plans toward growth and her vision for 2030.
Since taking office in 2020, some of the highlights of Davis's presidency include increased enrollment, increased retention; record-high giving, innovation through experiential learning initiatives, data-driven decision making; new program initiatives like a gymnastics center, a nursing partnership, an equine program, an outdoor adventure club, an engineering accreditation; grant funding for renovations to Burritt Hall and a maker space for engineering;
construction of a residence hall and two buildings at the athletic complex; and creation of a partnership with the Free Methodist Church to form the Center for Pastoral Formation.
Specific highlights of Davis' presidency include:
• A 14% increase in enrollment when national college enrollment fell by 8%.
• A new residence hall when other colleges in the region closed their doors. University Hall, a
246-bed residence hall scheduled for completion in early 2024, will feature a state-of-the-art
student workout facility.
• Two new buildings and new bleachers are being constructed at GU’s athletic complex, with completion anticipated in early 2024.
• Spiritual growth on campus has been a hallmark of Davis' tenure. Students gather weekly and discuss God's callto live lives of purpose. Focusing on spiritual formation hasresulted in increased attendance at weekly worship services.
• Davis has broadened academic offerings by investing in a semester-long educational experience at the Contemporary Music Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and soon GU will launch a gap semester program in the Dominican Republic.
• An agreement with St. John's College of Nursing in Springfield, Illinois, and Hospital Sisters Health System has made an on-campus BSN nursing program possible.
• Davis launched men's and women's college gymnastics with a community gymnastics center to benefit the Greenville community.
• A partnership with Dynamic Campus now provides real-time data for improved decision- making.
• Since June 2019, alums and friends of the University have raised support toward a $60 million campaign, the largest in GU's history. GU launched the campaign's public phase in the fall of 2023, and the total raised now stands at $52.5 million.
"We are doing something special of God here," Davis said. "That's why I am here. And that's why my leadership team is here. This team has worked hard to embrace the 1,000-day vision, and now we are poised to expand upon that vision toward 2030. My longer-term commitment to the board is to see this vision for Greenville University come to fruition."
Davis began serving as acting president in May 2020 after then-president Ivan Filby stepped down. University trustees officially named Davis president on January 21, 2021. Safety precautions associated with COVID-19 delayed the public inauguration celebration until the fall of 2021, in conjunction with the University's homecoming celebration.
Davis previously served the University as executive vice president, vice president for university relations, dean of its Briner School of Business, and chief legal officer. She holds a master's degree in business administration and a juris doctor from the University of Illinois. Davis completed her undergraduate studies at Greenville University, with majors in philosophy and political science.
Prior to returning to Greenville University in 2012 to teach and serve in administrative roles, she practiced law at the Lemna Moore & Carroll Law Office in Tuscola, Illinois, and taught at Eastern Illinois University's School of Business.
In her two years as executive vice president, Davis aided in the University's successful accreditation effort, leading the financial, operations, and governance portions. She led the president's executive cabinet and managed the reorganization of enrollment, marketing, and international affairs at the University. She also oversaw the finance office, financial aid, and athletics departments.
As president, Davis's enlarged president's council provides input from the campus community to make timely, informed decisions. The longstanding mission of Greenville University – "To empower students for lives of character and service through a transforming, Christ-centered education" – is central to Davis' innovative strategy for the future of the institution. "Amid the turmoil in higher ed, we are survivors, and today we are thriving,” says Davis. “I give much credit to my leadership team and all our employees working hard to fulfill GU's critical
mission and vision. I am blessed to have an involved and supportive board of trustees equally invested in our mission. I am excited about the future of Greenville University."
Davis serves on the boards of directors at Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges. She is also a member of the President's Council of NCAA Division III.