News - Greenville College Launches Briner School of Business

Greenville College Launches Briner School of Business

Greenville College

The original version of this article was first published in The Greenville Advocate

Written By Dave Bell

Though the study of business has been part of the course offerings at Greenville College since the school’s inception in 1892, this fall marks a significant step forward for the discipline.

The Business Management Department formerly was placed within the School of Professional Studies. This fall, however, the department has been elevated to a school status and now is known as the Briner School of Business.

It joins the School of Education, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Professional Studies as school-level entities.

The new name honors Bob Briner, a 1956 graduate of Greenville College and pioneer producer in sports broadcasting.

Briner won an Emmy award for his broadcasting skills, but he’s best known in Christian circles for his book “Roaring Lambs.” In that book, he challenged Christians to get involved and make a difference in the marketplace.

Dr. Ivan Filby, now president of Greenville College, recalls being given a copy of Briner’s book several years ago when he was serving as a business professor here.

“I read it, and it was impactful,” Filby said. “But it wasn’t until later that I began to recognize the national influence that Bob Briner had. His message of taking our faith into the marketplace still resonates with me.

“So naming the business school after him is to honor his message, which is very much a Greenville College message.”

Though Briner died in 1999, Filby said that the popularity of his writing endures.

“I don’t think many current students will know of Briner,” Filby said, “but once they are introduced to who he is and what he has done to shape culture in a godly way, I think all of those things will resonate with them.

“Students want to do something with their lives that matters and gives them meaning. That’s precisely what Bob Briner’s message is – that your life has eternal significance, so do something with it that will shape culture for eternal benefit.”

Carrying out that mission for the new Briner School of Business will be its founding dean, Suzanne Davis, who formerly taught in the school and last year served as Filby’s chief of staff. An attorney, Davis also serves as chief legal officer for the college.

In her role as dean, Davis will raise funds to support the expanding scope of the school, recruit students, and develop contacts in the business world to provide internships and job prospects for students.

“We’re focusing on Bob Briner because he predicted in the early 1990s that Christian higher education was going to have to get more relevant to the marketplace,” Davis said. “He said that we need to be confident and excellent in everything we do as Christians, so that the very culture feels the difference.”

Davis said that her primary goals are to recruit more business students, strengthen the school’s relationship with its alumni and donors, and raise the profile of the Briner School of Business.

Longtime professor Larry Sayler will manage many of the day-to-day duties as he serves as department chair of the new school.

Greenville College Provost, Edwin Estevez added: “This is an exciting time for us. Not only do we want our students’ greatest passions to meet the world’s greatest needs, we’re really interested in making sure that they do so through an engaging curriculum – one that is vibrant, that is relevant, that is actively learned through experiences, and influences them through the process of globalization. The Briner School of Business provides us with such a platform.”

Along with the new name, the school’s faculty and staff have a new home. Formerly housed in the basement of the library, the school is now located on the second floor of the Dietzman Center (above Jo’s Java). That area includes offices for the faculty and a commons area for students.

In addition to Davis and Sayler, the staff includes professors Jack Chism, Ron Cook, Danara Moore and Jane Bell, and graduate assistant Alexa Campbell.

Undergraduate degree programs offered within the school include accounting, business management, marketing and music business. Graduate programs include an MBA in general management, human resource management and non-profit management. Also offered is a master’s of science in management.

Adults returning to complete their studies can earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“What gets me fired up,” said Davis, “is helping students find their passion, to find the way that they want to make a difference. That’s really what Bob Briner wanted to see – the integration of what you’re passionate about and your work.

“Our job is to prepare students to be salt and light in the business world. We believe that business matters to God – that our faith and our work should be integrated.”    

This story was published on September 09, 2015

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