The man who has led one of the state’s largest technical colleges for the past seven years announced Wednesday that he will step down at the end of 2014.
Dr. Marshall “Sonny” White, Jr., will retire as president of Midlands Technical College next year, the school said in a release.
White said he was never planning to stay in the president’s post for more than 10 years and he felt next year would be a good chance to step aside. He told South Carolina Radio Network that several other high-ranking administrators at the two-year college are planning to retire soon and he wants a new president to gain their institutional knowledge before that happens.
“When I interviewed for the job here, I basically said I’d probably work five to ten years,” White said. “And the (MTC Commission) said, ‘Let’s make it closer to ten.’ So by the time I finish, it’ll be almost nine years I’ve been here.”
The commission will launch a nationwide search for White’s successor and expects to have a candidate in place before White leaves.
“Sonny has been an invaluable asset to MTC and to the community,” MTC Commission chair Randall “Mack” Jackson said in the statement. “Drawing on his experience in both business and education, Dr. White has worked closely with employers, K-12 education leaders and other colleges and universities to focus on preparing students for in-demand jobs in the knowledge economy. Programs like the Gamecock Gateway with USC and the Michelin Technical Scholars program are two examples of how responsive the college has been to expand access to education and to careers.”
White retired as a senior global executive with the Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis) pharmaceutical company to take a job as executive vice president of Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina. He became the fifth president of Midlands Tech in 2006.
During White’s tenure, MTC opened campuses in Batesburg-Leesville and Fairfield County. The college also recently opened an 82,000-square-foot Engineering Technology and Sciences Building and in October received the largest grant in college history to fast-track students into careers in health care.
“Over the next five years in central South Carolina, there are 20,000 projected job openings, and most of those job openings will be in alternate energy, health care, advanced manufacturing and information technology,” said White. “If we don’t have a workforce in place prepared to fill those jobs, those employers will go to other regions of South Carolina, to other states and even overseas.”
Midlands Technical College has nearly 16,000 students at its seven campuses in the Columbia area.
White earned his B.S. in Textile Chemistry and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Clemson University and participated in the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard University Business School. He is married with two children and two grandchildren.