Cecil Groves, president of Southwestern Community College since 1997, informed the board of trustees and college faculty and staff that he will retire at the end of this academic year.
“As for everything and everyone, there is a season. My season has now come,” Groves said.
Groves thanked the SCC family for its “support, encouragement and, most of all, friendship.”
Before becoming the fourth president of SCC, Groves served as chancellor of the Texas State Technical College System, president of Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Colo., president of Austin Community College in Austin, Texas, and executive vice president/provost for Delgado College in New Orleans, La.
Conrad Burrell, Chairman of the SCC Board of Trustees for the past 10 years, put Groves’ career in perspective.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Dr. Groves on college business and as a friend. He has had the full cooperation of the trustees, the faculty and staff and the community, which is very rare for any president. We’ll miss his leadership - and humor- not only on our board, but in the community,” Burrell said.
Burrell said Groves has greatly increased the viability and reputation of the college “which is now established as an institution of the highest quality and recognized for teaching excellence.”
In addressing the faculty and staff about his departure, Groves called the college’s achievement during his tenure a collective effort.
“Collectively, we have accomplished many critical benchmarks important to the future of our institution, our communities and our students,” he said.
Some of those accomplishments include national and statewide recognition for excellence, the expansion of campus facilities throughout the Western North Carolina region, new partnerships with the public schools, innovative and first-of-a-kind degree programs, and recognized leadership in instructional technology and online learning.
“The momentum of the college will not be slowed down during the transition,” Groves said of his departure.
Groves’ last day will be June 30, and the college expects to have a new president in place by Aug. 1.