Monday, March 4, 2024

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ACC president Dr. Algie Gatewood to retire

Dr. Algie Gatewood is ending his 10-year run as president of Alamance Community College on June 30.

“This was a tough decision. I already have an empty feeling in my heart, but this is the right thing for me to do.”

– ACC president Dr. Algie Gatewood

The executive committee for ACC’s board of trustees is scheduled to meet at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow via the Zoom online teleconferencing platform to consider accepting Gatewood’s resignation. ACC’s executive committee – which consists of trustees Dr. Roslyn Crisp, Julie Scott Emmons, and Blake Williams – will also consider making a recommendation for the appointment of an interim president until Gatewood’s permanent successor can be hired.

Gatewood, 71, said Wednesday evening in a phone interview with The Alamance News that he hopes to take a few weeks off and possibly visit his and his wife’s children – who live in Charlotte, the Atlanta metro area, and West Hartford, Connecticut – as well as their five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

ACC president Dr. Algie Gatewood

In the longer term, Gatewood say, “I may do some [education] consulting,” emphasizing the word “may.” He said Wednesday that he plans to continue living in Alamance County after he retires.

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Then-president of the Cascade Campus for Portland Community College in Oregon and an Anson County native, Gatewood was hired to lead ACC in July 2013, beating five out other finalists, including the community college’s executive vice president, Gene Couch, and four other community college executives.

Within his first year at ACC, Gatewood secured $15 million in funding to build the Advanced Applied Technology Center, which fronts Jimmie Kerr Road at the Graham campus, and later shepherded a $39.6 million bond package to passage in November 2018.

The first black president of ACC, Gatewood’s career in higher education spans more than 40 years. He served 23 years as an administrator for Anson Community College; seven years as the director of health, education, and welfare at the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority; and nine years as president of the Cascade Campus in Portland, prior to becoming ACC’s president in 2013.

Following passage of the county’s largest-ever bond package ($39.6 million) for ACC, Gatewood has overseen the completion of a Biotechnology Center of Excellence and a new student services center on the Graham campus. He has also secured numerous agreements with UNC System universities, as well as private colleges and universities throughout the state, enabling ACC students to transfer seamlessly in order to further their education at four-year institutions.

Also in development are construction of a new regional Public Safety Training Center in Green Level, as well as numerous renovations to existing buildings on the Graham campus, which are largely being financed by the $39.6 bond package the county’s voters approved for ACC in November 2018.

Gatewood has also launched a number of programs in hopes of drawing future generations of students to ACC, such as the Medical Bridge: Minority Males in Medicine program that the college offers each summer for middle and high school students in the Alamance-Burlington school system.

In 2021, Gatewood helped to launch the Alamance Scholars program, in partnership with ABSS and Elon University, to provide financial aid, both at ACC and Elon University, for students who plan to become K-12 teachers. That program offers successful graduates – who begin their college education at ACC and transfer to Elon University – a guarantee of future employment with ABSS.

Gatewood’s extensive list of accomplishments as president of ACC also includes: Completion of $6.8 million in expansions and upgrades for six existing facilities and programs; overseeing a successful capital campaign that raised $7.8 million for ACC; starting the Early College program, in partnership with ABSS, which has enrolled 1,563 Alamance County students to date; launching the ACC Promise program in 2022 to provide “last-dollar scholarships” to students needing financial assistance to complete their education; restructuring ACC’s grants operations, which has increased grants from outside agencies by 1,667 percent, from $150,000 to $25 million, over the past three years; adding 19 new curriculum programs; and deepening ACC’s ties with Alamance County industries, businesses, nonprofits, and local, state, and federal elected officials.

Also among his proudest accomplishments, Gatewood told the newspaper Wednesday, has been “earning the trust and support of the people of Alamance County and trustees, faculty, staff, and students at ACC.”

His tenure at ACC follows a similar trajectory to his tenure as president of the Cascade Campus, where Gatewood had successfully gained support for a multi-million dollar bond package; developed dual degree programs for Portland high school students; and launched 400 partnerships with local industries such as Boeing and Nike to provide tuition breaks and cover other college expenses for every student at Cascade, he told ACC’s trustees during his finalist interview in 2013.

Gatewood holds a doctorate in adult and community college education from N.C. State University; a master’s degree in higher education/college administration from Appalachian State University; and a bachelor’s degree from Livingstone College.

Gatewood’s retirement is scheduled to take effect July 1, coinciding with the first day of the 2023-24 fiscal year.

“This was a tough decision,” Gatewood told the newspaper Wednesday. “I already have an empty feeling in my heart, but this is the right thing for me to do.”

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