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Dr. Miller Liston Named Distinguished Alumnus

April 14, 2019

The King University Alumni Office presents the annual Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award to alumni who have made worthy contributions in many areas of life, particularly in the areas of the “Three C’s,” which are college, church, and community. This award recognizes alumni who exemplify the values King University upholds: Christian faith, service, career, and scholarship.

Dr. Miller Liston first came to King in 1943 when his father, R.T.L. Liston, was named King’s 12th president. He lived in the Tadlock-Wallace House on campus throughout much of his childhood, beginning at the age of six, and attended public schools nearby. After high school, he began preparing for a career in medicine by majoring in biology and chemistry at King, then left for a time to join the U.S. Navy. He earned his wings in the Aviation Cadet Program in 1959 before returning to King to complete his education.

Dr. Liston completed his active duty service in 1961, then enrolled at the University of Tennessee’s Medical School in Memphis. Although he had long dreamed of becoming a doctor, he felt called to the ministry and left Memphis after one year to enter Columbia Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He became a Presbyterian minister, leading churches in Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia while also serving his country as a chaplain in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He continued in that role for 27 years, retiring with the rank of captain in 1996. During that same time, he served the Presbyterian Church as Moderator of the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic and chair of Synod’s Council. Even after his retirement, he was often called upon to serve as interim pastor for Presbyterian churches throughout Southwest Virginia.

King honored him in 1987 with an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree, recognizing him as an “effective church developer, seasoned veteran of the armed forces, exemplary patriot, enthusiastic promoter of small church ministries, loyal alumnus, and dedicated servant of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In addition to his service to God and country, Dr. Liston found time throughout the years to give back to King – often with his wife, Anne, by his side. Mrs. Liston graduated from King in 1957 and often joined her husband in distributing exam care packages to students, serving refreshments at campus receptions, stuffing envelopes, and completing other necessary tasks. Their generosity earned them recognition as Volunteers of the Year in 2010.

In addition to these many contributions, Dr. Liston has generously invested in students through two scholarship programs. The Anne Liston Foundation Scholarship honors the memory of his late wife by providing tuition assistance to the children of Presbyterian ministers, missionaries and staff members. The Liston Family Scholars Program, King’s most prestigious academic award, provides full tuition for students who demonstrate academic scholarship, Christian fellowship, community and civic service, and peer engagement.

Dr. Liston now lives in Laurinburg, North Carolina, but continues to serve King University as a member of the Board of Trustees.