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Wingett named PHCC president emeritus
PHCC President Max Wingett is seen in a Bulletin file photo.
Friday, March 23, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) President Max Wingett will have a new title when he retires later this year.
In a unanimous vote, the State Board for Community Colleges on Thursday adopted a resolution honoring Wingett and giving him the title of “president emeritus” of PHCC.
The honorary title was bestowed as “a sign of respect” for Wingett’s nearly four decades of leadership in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), said Jeff Kraus, the system’s assistant vice chancellor for public relations.
It carries no special privileges but is “a well-deserved honor,” Kraus said.
Wingett will be 71 when he retires effective June 30. He has led PHCC for 34 years and is only the second president in the college’s 50-year history.
He previously was president of Southside Virginia Community College, which now has eight campuses from South Boston eastward, for four years.
With 38 years as a college president, Wingett may be the longest-serving president in the community college system’s history, Kraus said.
At PHCC, Wingett’s “exceptional leadership and meritorious service led the institution through its transition” from its earlier status as a two-year branch of the University of Virginia School of General Studies into “a comprehensive community college,” the resolution states.
Under his watch, PHCC has nearly tripled its annual enrollment, diversified its resource base, developed innovative career and technical programs including the motorsports technology program, and became Virginia’s first community college to be sanctioned by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), according to the resolution.
Kraus noted that the motorsports program “really put the college on the map in terms of (having creative) work force development programs.”
The resolution states that Wingett “established an exemplary record of service to his profession, community and the commonwealth.”
That includes involvement with local, state and national organizations such as the NJCAA, American Association of Community Colleges and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the resolution mentions.
He also has been involved with the Virginia State, Martinsville-Henry County and Franklin County chambers of commerce, Martinsville Uptown Partners Management Team, Fieldale Rotary Club and other area organizations.
Wingett received the state board’s framed certificate Thursday during its meeting at Southwest Virginia Community College in Cedar Bluff. In a phone interview, he said he also received a resolution from PHCC’s board, and both the state and local honors were “a surprise to me.”
“I’m very pleased and honored,” Wingett said, adding that “working with an outstanding faculty and staff at Patrick Henry over the years” has been an experience “I will never forget.”
Kraus estimated that 80 to 100 people nationwide have applied to be the next president of PHCC. Interviews are expected to begin in April, and VCCS officials hope to have the next president on board by July 1, he said.
He does not yet know how soon someone can be hired. The applicants must be narrowed down to as many as six finalists, each of whom must be certified by the state board as a candidate for the post, he said.
When those applicants are certified, their names will be released publicly, Kraus said. All of the applicants will visit PHCC to meet with “the college community” — students, faculty and staff — and discuss why they believe they are most qualified to be PHCC’s next president, he said.