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Staff photo by Doug Strickland / College President Stephen Livesay speaks during Bryan College's spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Dayton, Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters during the ceremony. In his first commencement address as governor, Lee spoke about how his faith helped him overcome tragedy following the death of his first wife in a horseback riding accident.

This story was updated Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, at 11:30 p.m. with more information.

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Bryan College will be under new direction next summer as longtime President Stephen Livesay plans to retire and Doug Mann takes on the leadership role in July 2020, the school's board announced Tuesday.

Mann now serves as vice president for academics and provost at the small Christian liberal arts college in Dayton, Tennessee, which is home to 1,450 students. He graduated from Bryan in 1992 and received his Ph.D in history from the University of Georgia. Mann previously served as the Liberty University administrative dean of graduate programs and dean of the graduate school, according to the announcement.

Delana Bice, Bryan board of trustees chairwoman, said in a statement Mann fits the vision outlined by Livesay for continuing to expand the campus and be a destination for students.

some text Doug Mann / Bryan College Photo

"Dr. Mann was, without a doubt, our top choice to meet our needs and position Bryan for a very successful future," Bice said.

Earlier this month, the school announced it would cut tuition by 40% for current and incoming undergraduates, dropping the cost from about $27,900 a year to $16,900 a year. The school was able to create an engineering program and create the Stophel Welcome Center under Livesay's leadership, Mann said in the statement. Livesay also led the school to create online and graduate programs, as well as expand to Ooltewah with a satellite campus.

However, his tenure at Bryan involved surviving multiple scandals, including resignations by school leaders and student protests.

In February 2014, school faculty passed a vote 30-2 of no confidence in Livesay after he changed the school's 80-year-old statement of belief to say that humans did not evolve from other life forms. Several months later, students protested Livesay's leadership and four trustees resigned from the school's board.

In May 2017, another trustee resigned, saying he had lost confidence in Livesay as a leader. Then in July 2017, more than 1,000 people signed a petition calling on Livesay to resign after a tenured professor was fired. Between 2014 and 2017, four vice presidents and a number of faculty members also left the school.

Mann will become the eighth president in Bryan's history.

From the reporter

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