“Neil’s roots reach deep into the life of Bethany College — and his vision far into the College’s future. As he has grown from a successful student to a nationally known entrepreneur and philanthropist, so has his relationship with his alma mater,” stated Scott D. Miller, President of Bethany College. “His impact on the quality and vitality of our institution has been remarkable, making his presence at this year’s Fall Convocation a fitting and welcome initiation to Bethany’s 169th academic year.”
Christman graduated from Bethany College in 1955 with a degree in Economics. He has served on Bethany’s Board of Trustees since 1996 and was the recipient of the Alumni Council’s 2004 Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award. Christman was president of Chris Volvo of Marietta, Ga., and Chris BMW of Decatur, Ga., as well as Chief Executive Officer of North Point Volvo of Alpharetta, Ga., until 2003. He is managing partner of Chris Associates: Real Estate Partnership and Chris Management Services: Management and Computer Services Partnership, both located in Decatur, Ga. His automobile dealership was a five-time winner of the National Dealer of Excellence Award.
In recognition of his service to Bethany, Christman was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the College in 2008. In addition, upon completion of the extensive restoration and renovation project at Pendleton Heights, the Board of Trustees voted to name Bethany’s historic presidential residence Christman Manor at Pendleton Heights in acknowledgement of Christman’s significant support of the project.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Christman resides in Duluth with his wife, Jackie. They are the parents of four children — Lori, Kathryn, Joyce and Dale.
The Fall Convocation is an annual event at Bethany, welcoming students to campus and bringing the entire College community together to celebrate the start of a new academic year. In addition to Christman’s address, the College will recognize high academic achievers from the spring semester and announce the recipient of several awards, including the Richard B. Kenney Freshman Leadership Award, presented to a student who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship, leadership and character at Bethany.
Bethany College, founded in 1840, is one of America's premier private colleges, offering contemporary studies in more than 25 academic fields within a classical, liberal arts tradition. The oldest college in the state, Bethany is located on a historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia.