Contact: Rebecca Eidson, Public Relations Director, 864-646-1507, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 1, 2018
(By Rebecca Eidson)
PENDLETON -- Tri-County Technical College President Dr. Ronnie L. Booth announced his plans for retirement effective June 30, 2019, at a faculty/staff meeting Monday afternoon.
Dr. Booth, who was named the third president of the College in 2003, said he notified the Tri-County Technical College Commission of his intentions in June, 2018.
“Deciding to retire was and is not an easy decision, but I strongly believe that the timing is right for me and for the College,” said Dr. Booth in a speech to faculty, staff and Commissioners on the Pendleton Campus.
“As a team, we – you -- have accomplished much to date but there is much yet to do,” Booth added. “Between now and when I retire, we will begin laying the groundwork for the College’s next Ten-Year Vision and Strategic Plan. We will have a new president in time to finalize our path forward for 2020-2030.”
Tri-County Technical College is a public two-year technical and community college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties. It is one of sixteen colleges in the South Carolina Technical College System and enrolls more than 9,000 students annually in university transfer and technical programs of study. The College also serves more than 10,000 students annually through its Corporate and Community Education program.
Under Dr. Booth’s leadership, the College has launched three community campuses, three Workforce Training Centers, an Economic Development Center and a state-of-the-art Industrial Technology Center. In 2018, he, along with faculty, staff and community partners, dedicated a 75,000-square-foot Student Success Center on the Pendleton Campus and a new campus in Oconee County.
Other accomplishments include several trailblazing student-focused initiatives, including the nationally-recognized Bridge to Clemson program with Clemson University, which has grown from 220 students in 2006 to 848 in 2018, and the Connect to College (now I-BEST) program for high school dropouts.
“Our work has not just been about buildings. We are totally focused on creating pathways to help our students succeed in reaching their goals,” said Dr. Booth.
“Dr. Booth has been a great leader and president for Tri-County Technical College,” said John Powell, chair of the Tri-County Technical College Commission, which serves as the governing board of the College. “His passion for students is the central driving force behind his work. Every recommendation he makes to the Commission, every goal we set, and every dollar we spend is focused on the best interest of students. And it makes a difference. You can see it in the numbers.”
During the 2017-18 academic year, Tri-County Technical College earned the top ranking in student success, transfer, and graduation among the sixteen colleges in the S.C. Technical College System. The College also ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful transfers to four-year colleges and universities.
“Dr. Booth has led Tri-County Technical College to the top and set us apart from the rest of the S.C. Technical College System. Surrounding himself with the best faculty and staff has allowed him to stay focused on the future – continually moving the College forward,” said Powell, who is an alumnus of the College and represents Oconee County on the Commission.
During Dr. Booth’s tenure, the College saw other notable achievements, including the Technical Career Pathways program, a dual credit program for high school students designed to increase the pipeline of skilled technicians. Other initiatives include the first Michelin Manufacturing Scholars program, now a model program being replicated across the State, and the State’s first I-BEST Manufacturing Pathway Program for under-resourced adults who want to gain marketable skills.
“I think about all of those graduates whose hands I have shaken over the last fifteen-plus years. I cannot begin to count the lives that have been changed, careers launched, families supported and communities made better because of the work of everyone here at the College,” said Dr. Booth. “Making a tangible and measureable difference in so many lives is certainly what I will miss the most.”
Support from the community has grown under Dr. Booth’s leadership, both in partnerships and donations. The Tri-County Technical College Foundation, the largest in the State Technical College System, raised more than $1 million dollars each of the last two years, bringing total assets to more than $34 million for scholarships, equipment, and other priority needs.
Dr. Booth credits the outstanding faculty and staff with the accomplishments the College has experienced over the years. “I can outline in detail many programs and successes at the College that have come about because we have such a strong and engaged team -- each of you.”
“Our community owes a huge debt of gratitude to Ronnie,” said Powell. “He has been a great leader, and while we don’t want him to retire, we understand his desire to move into the next phase of his life and focus on his family.”
Powell said the Commission intends to immediately organize a search process for Booth’s successor. “As a Commission, we are committed to working tirelessly to find the right person to lead this institution. The search process is getting underway immediately. We want to have the new president named before Dr. Booth retires in June,” he added.
“Countless times over the last several years I have been stopped by someone in Lowe’s, Ingle’s or at QT or elsewhere who asks what I do at Tri-County. They do this because I am almost always wearing a shirt with a TCTC logo. Those have been fun times and I have made new friends and recruited several students along the way,” Dr. Booth said. “I will now and always will be an ambassador for the College.”
During retirement, Dr. Booth plans to volunteer for his favorite non-profits, undertake building and renovation projects, write his memoirs and spend more time with family. “I have two granddaughters who have their grandpa on a very short string. Most important, I want to do all of these things jointly with Sara, my best friend and bride of 38+ years.
“I will leave a huge piece of my heart here when my time is up. I also will leave knowing that this College is the best in the country and will only get better in the future,” he said.
A native of Aiken, South Carolina, Dr. Booth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, a master’s in Education in Student Personnel Services, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Policies from the University of South Carolina. He also holds a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Clemson University.
He has been active in a number of professional associations, civic groups, and State and national boards, including the Board of Trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Executive Committee of the Upstate SC Alliance; Board of Directors for Anderson County Economic Development, Duke Energy South Carolina President’s Advisory Board; Alliance Pickens, WorkLink, Oconee Economic Alliance, SENIOR Solutions, and Community Colleges of Appalachia, among others, In 2015, he was named the Southern Region Winner of the Chief Executive Officer Award by the Association of Community College Trustees.
Dr. Booth is the recipient of the 2017 Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award. He was named one of “15 over 50” for 2018 by the Anderson-Independent Mail. He is married to Sara Booth and they have two adult daughters, Ashley and Erin, and two granddaughters. Dr. and Mrs. Booth make their home in Anderson.