Butler Awarded the Alumni Achievement Award


Walter Butler, Interim President for Bethel University, is congratulated by Myra Carlock, Director of Alumni and University Events after being named the 2013 Alumni Achievement Award Winner.


Walter Butler, Interim President for Bethel, was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award during Homecoming Weekend 2013. Butler first came to Bethel College on September 15, 1975, as an Admissions Counselor in the Administration of Dr. Bill Odom. Butler worked for three years in the Admissions department until at the age of 24, he ran for the Office of Carroll County Trustee and won. Butler became the youngest county wide official ever elected in Carroll County. He served as Carroll County Trustee for 16 years being re-elected in 1982, 1986, and 1990, each time unopposed.

     In 1983, Butler returned to Bethel to complete a second college degree in 1985 in Accounting.

     In August of 1994, he ran successfully for the Office of Carroll County Executive (now Carroll County Mayor). He served in this capacity until September 1, 1996, when Governor Don Sundquist asked him to become Tennessee’s Director of State Parks. As Director of State Parks he oversaw 54 state parks, 1600 employees and a budget of more than $57 million. In 1999, his last year with State Parks, Tennessee was recognized as one of the top four (4) managed park systems of our 50 states by the Sports Foundation.

     In early 2000, Governor Sundquist appointed Butler the Deputy Commission of Personnel for Tennessee’s 38,000 employees. 

     In March, 2001, he was asked to become Deputy Commissioner of the newly merged Department of Labor and Workforce development.  He was tasked to work with the merger and the Departments of Labor and Employment Security and manage 15,000 state employees, 2,500 contract employees and a budget of $193 million.

     In January of 2002, Governor Don Sundquist appointed Butler as the Commissioner of Personnel, a position he held to the end of the Governor’s term in office.

     Bethel President Robert Prosser asked Butler to come back to Bethel and serve as Director of Business Affairs beginning in January of 2003.  Butler worked in that position until early 2010 when he was named Executive Vice President for the College of Liberal Arts. In 2011, he moved to become the Vice President for the College of Criminal Justice until he left Bethel in the Fall of 2011.

     In February of 2013, Butler returned to Bethel University in his position as Director of Business Affairs and on August 1, 2013, he was appointed Interim President by the University’s Board of Trustees.

     Butler, his wife, Jennifer, and his three sons all graduated from Bethel University.