North Greenville University is blessed with a strong and stable
executive team led by Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. who joined the university as the eighth president in 2017. Given the schoolís rich spiritual heritage and an
accelerated need for Christian influence throughout the world, Fant is
leading efforts to increase the impact of NGU through innovation, growth,
outreach, and strategic partnerships.
Vice President For Advancement and University Engagement
Vice President for Advancement and University Engagement
Marty O'Gwynn serves as the vice president for advancement and university engagement at NGU, helping to connect resources with the universityís mission. He joined NGU in 2018, having served in higher education advancement since 1986. He was an administrator at NGUís sister institution, Oklahoma Baptist University, for 21 years. Most recently, he served at Oklahoma City University, where he worked with colleagues on a major capital campaign, including multiple million-dollar gifts. Earlier in his career, he served at Palm Beach Atlantic College and Shorter College. OíGwynn has a bachelorís degree in journalism from Baylor University and a masterís degree in communication from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Deborah, have two sons, Drew (Melanie) and Tim, and one grandchild, Salma.
Dr. Phil Gardner
Director of Foundation Giving and Development
Dr. Phil Gardner joined the NGU team in 2001. A Greenville native, he works with foundation relations and major gifts for the university. He earned his doctorate from Covington Theological Seminary and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible from Bob Jones University after attending NGU. Gardner previously owned Phil Gardner, Inc., a residential development and construction company. He enjoys amateur ďhamĒ radio, and plays trumpet in his church orchestra. He and his wife, Teresa, reside in Boiling Springs.
Dr. Jason Ross, '98
Director of Development and Corporate Giving
Dr. Jason Ross joined NGU in 2007. He is actively engaged in establishing long-term partnerships and strengthening existing relationships with the corporate and foundation sector and other key communities that will result in funding for the university's immediate and long-term goals. He also serves as an adjunct instructor in the College of Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. Ross earned his Associate in Science, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, and Master of Business Administration from North Greenville. He completed an Ed.D. degree an emphasis in Higher Education Administration from NGU in May 2020. He is a graduate from Leadership Greer Class 39 and is actively involved in the Greer Chamber of Commerce and Greer Centennial Lions Club. Prior to working at NGU, Ross worked as a Vice President for Carolina First Bank in Greenville. He previously was promoted to the rank of Major in the South Carolina Military Department in 2020. He currently serves as the Commander for 2nd Battalion, 1st Civil Support Brigade. In his spare time, Dr. Ross enjoys surfing, parachuting, weapons qualification, camping, gardening, and spending time with family and friends. He and his wife, Shelley, have one son, Kaiden.
Dr. Tony Beam
Senior Director of Church and Community Engagement for the Tim Brashier Campus
Dr. Tony Beam joined the NGU Advancment and University Engagement team in 2018, working with major gifts and strengthening NGU relationships in the Upstate. Previously leading NGUís Student Life programs, and serving as a professor, Beam has an extensive background with the university. In 2012, he started the NGU Life Answers Team, a group of students who speak in churches, schools, and conferences defending the faith using a panel discussion format. He is the recipient of the 2012 South Carolina Citizens for Life Presidentís Award, 2013 North Greenville Faculty/Staff Legacy Award, and the 2016 South Carolina Baptist E.A. McDowell Award.
Beam actively serves in his community and the South Carolina Baptist Convention. In 2020, he became part-time director of the SCBCís Office of Public Policy. He has been an interim pastor for 14 churches in the Upstate region of South Carolina. He and his wife, Denise have three children and six grandchildren.
Lisa Van Riper
Consultant for Public Affairs
Lisa Van Riper joined NGU in 1989. In 1995, she began directing the universityís Honors Program. Since that time, the program has grown in students and offers guidance in enrichment. Lisa has five decades of experience and activity in public policymaking, either through teaching or public service.
She is a former State Board of Education member. She served 12 years for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanfordís First Steps Program for School Readiness. She was recognized with the distinguished service award by the National Governorís Association for the Putting Families First Welfare Initiative, and awarded the highest civilian honor in South Carolina, the Order of the Palmetto.
Mrs. Van Riper is president of South Carolina Citizens for Life, where she is active in the legal protection of the unborn and innocent human life. In 2019, she received the Carroll Campbell Courage in Leadership Award, which was presented to her at the Greenville County Republican Convention.
Lisa and her husband, Rip, have two daughters and sons-in-law, and five grandchildren.
Athletic Development Officer
Micah Sepko '01, '99
Associate Athletic Director / Athletic Giving
Micah Sepko grew up as a member of the NGU family, as his mother, Dr. Cathy Sepko, served as professor of English at the university. He has worked at NGU for two decades, serving in coaching, adjunct faculty and athletic leadership roles. Sepko earned bachelorís and masterís degrees in parks, recreation and tourism management from Clemson University in 1999 and 2001, respectively. He has been honored as a Mid-South Conference Coach twice, earned Who's Who Among Americaís Professionals, and been recognized for outstanding achievement by COSIDA and a variety of other professional organizations. He is a hunter and was a professional fisherman earlier in his career. Sepko resides in Greer with his wife Kate and their three children: Hannah, Emma Jane, and Kaleb.
Lamont Sullivan '13, '98
Director of Alumni Engagement
Lamont Sullivan was named Director of Alumni Engagement at NGU in 2019. Sullivan earned his Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, and Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degrees from NGU. Prior to returning to his alma mater, he was Chief Executive Officer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upstate. He served in multiple roles with BBBS over a 15-year tenure with the organization.
Sullivan and his wife, Shonette, have three daughters, Destiny, Micah and Leighton; and one son, Asher. Sullivan is a graduate of Leadership Greenville Class 41. He has been recognized for leadership, philanthropy, and service in a variety of ways, including:
- Top 30 under 40, Greenville Link Magazine.
- Top 30 Emerging Leaders, Greenville News.
- Greenville News: UNSEEN Greenville panelist.
- Fellow, The Dick Riley Institute for Diversity, Furman University.
- Board Member, United Way of Greenville County African American Leadership Council.
- Upstate Black History Maker, 96.3 The Block and 107.3 Jamz.
In his spare time, Sullivan enjoys grilling, smoking BBQ, college and professional football and spending time with his family.
Mary Beth Spry
Director of Development Operations
Mary Beth Spry joined NGU in 2015. She coordinates the processing of donations and gifts to the university, and manages the advancement component of NGUís main database. She previously managed finances and varied administrative responsibilities for a Christian camp in the Upstate. Spry earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Economics from Auburn University. She completed an MBA degree from NGU in 2017. She is part of the second graduating class of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. She served two terms on the board for the Louisiana School Foundation. Spry and her husband, Jim, are active members of Taylors First Baptist Church. They have been married for more than 25 years and have two adult children.
Kayla Morgan 18', '12
Administrative Assistant to the Vice President for Advancement and University Engagement
Kayla Morgan joined the AUE team in 2016. She coordinates administrative duties and special events in her role with the university. An NGU alum, she graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, and completed a Master of Business Administration degree in 2018. Morgan formerly served on the NGU Alumni Association Board of Directors, serving as board secretary. She enjoys spending time working outside in her garden, and loves to read. She also is a musician and vocalist, and performs with her family at churches and special events in the region.