News - The Passing of Orley Herron, Past G.U. President

The Passing of Orley Herron, Past G.U. President

Orley HerronDr. Orley R. Herron Jr., seventh president of Greenville University, died of cancer at his home in the greater Chicago area, February 14, 2019. He was 85.

Herron served as chief assistant to the president of Indiana State University before coming to Greenville in 1970, where he served seven years as president. He brought charisma and enthusiasm to his leadership role.

“When I became president,” he once reflected, “I said, ‘We’re going to bring joy. We’re going to love each other in the Lord’ . . . I think that brought fun.”

Upon his passing, his family said in a statement, “While his decades-spanning accomplishments are notable, perhaps he will be remembered most for his gregarious personality, contagious smile, constant generosity and unwavering commitment to always order dessert first.”

“I’ve never met a man with more energy, humor and capacity to make things happen,” said Dr. W. Richard Stephens, who succeeded Herron as G.U. president in 1977. “He was extraordinary and met each day with great verve that spurred us all on to accomplish the vision he set before us. Most importantly, he encouraged all of us to be better human beings, releasing us to reach higher than we ever thought we could.”

Accomplishments during Herron’s tenure at Greenville include:

  • Reorganization of trustees into a working committee structure
  • Implementation of the faculty council model
  • Dedication of the Scott Jay Burgess Tennis Complex, the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Collection, the John Howard Ayers Center and an addition to the Ruby E. Dare Library
  • Acquisition of several properties including the Kelsey Building
  • Agreement between Greenville College and Kaskaskia College
  • Plans for construction of Snyder Hall of Science
  • Improved faculty training and an increase in the number of faculty completing doctorates
  • Launch of the Factory Theatre, the Campus Guidance Center, Orange Beret, the Cooperative Education program and the Parents Organization

Herron went on to serve 22 years as president at National Louis University (formerly National College of Education), where he led NLU’s expansion to six campuses in Illinois, five centers in other states and international operations in four European countries.

He authored nine books including A Christian Executive in a Secular World, Who Controls Your Child, and Notes for the New Millennium

President Richard Nixon appointed Herron to the delegation representing the United States at the 25th anniversary of UNESCO.  Herron was also appointed National Director of Educators in 1972. In the latter role, he engaged the White House, Congress and corporate executives across America to address educational concerns.

He also chaired various civic and philanthropic boards including the Chicago Sunday Evening Club, where he hosted over 30 shows on PBS.

Orley HerronAn athlete with deep respect for sports, Herron helped initiate the return of golf’s Grand Slam that provided scholarships for PGA Junior Golf. He helped secure amateur baseball as a competitive sport in the 1984 Olympics and led many chapel services for professional athletes in the NFL and MLB.

Herron is survived by his wife Donna and his children Jill Carter (Scott), Morgan Herron (Magda) and Mark Herron (Sonya).

In Herron’s honor, donations can be sent to Awakening To God Ministries, P.O. Box 2514, Malibu, CA 90265 or via the website

This story was published on February 15, 2019

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