Mississippi College

Edward McMillan Retires as Leader of the Mississippi Baptist Historical Commission

July 18, 2012

A walking encyclopedia when it comes to information about Mississippi College and 2,000 Southern Baptist churches across the state, Edward McMillan is retiring for a second time.

The 83-year-old Kosciusko native is stepping down July 31 after two decades of distinguished service as executive secretary of the Mississippi Baptist Historical Commission.

A former history professor and graduate studies dean at Mississippi College, Dr. McMillan is beloved on and off the Clinton campus. Based at the Leland Speed Library, the Mississippi Baptist Historical Commission preserves extensive information on Baptist church ministers, membership rolls, cemeteries, historical displays and other data going back more than 200 years.

Whether he was indexing copies of the “Baptist Record,” assisting Baptist churches to celebrate significant anniversaries or working behind the scenes with librarians, McMillan says “this was something I thoroughly enjoyed.”

Dozens of well-wishers stopped by his retirement reception Tuesday at MC’s library to thank “Dr. Mac” for his faithful service to Christian university and to Mississippi Baptists for generations.

“In the long history of Mississippi College, Dr. Ed McMillan has contributed mightily to the expansion and strengthening of its academic enterprise,” says Ron Howard, the university’s vice president for academic affairs. “He led the transformation of the MC Graduate School in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He will also forever be associated with advancing the international studies program, having pioneered the London Spring Semester at MC.”

But the Mississippian never stopped working after departing as a Mississippi College administrator and history professor.

“A superb historian of American politics and diplomacy, Dr. Mac has worked for decades with countless churches and associations to preserve the rich legacy of Mississippi Baptists,” Howard said. “He has served as an exemplary role model for colleagues and students alike. All of us who currently serve Mississippi College owe Dr. Mac a debt of gratitude we can never adequately repay.”

McMillan succeeded former MC professor Jack Gunn at the Baptist Historical Commission 20 years ago. Clinton resident Anthony Kay, a former pastor in Mississippi and Florida, will become the commission’s new executive secretary on August 1.

McMillan will work closely with Kay, who served nine years on the commission, so there’s a smooth transition this summer. “He’s here if I need him,” Kay said. And McMillan is always more than willing to help when called.

“Dr. Mac is our friend and always will be around,” says Leland Speed Library Director Kathleen Hutchison after the reception featuring cake with a magnolia on the icing. “He’s been such a pleasure to know. It’s been wonderful to work with him.”

Dr. McMillan and his wife, Carnette, plan to spend more time with family during the years ahead. Their first great grandchild is due to be born in late July.

Photo: MC Art Department Chairman Randy Miley, Dr. Edward McMillan and new Mississippi Baptist Historical Commission Executive Secretary Anthony Kay of Clinton

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