Rhodes to leave Riverland

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Gary Rhodes, president of Riverland Community College has announced he has been selected as president of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Va.

According to Rhodes, his last day at Riverland is expected to be Oct. 4 and he plans to assume his new presidential duties Oct. 15.

The change is not one he planned. "I'm completing four years in Austin as president of Riverland and my wife and I moved into a new house here last October, so I had absolutely no thoughts of leaving," Rhodes said.

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A friend who also is the president of a college in Virginia, nominated Rhodes for the position at J. Sargeant Reynolds and after interviewing a couple of times, the choice was narrowed down to one candidate: Rhodes.

He says the job was very appealing to him not only because he likes the area and has family close by, but also because of the college's diversity and the challenges that will come with that. J. Sargeant Reynolds, he explains, "is three times as large as Riverland and has three very distinct campuses. There's an urban campus that's in a six-story building in downtown Richmond and has a student body that's almost entirely African-American. It has a campus on the fringes of Richmond and a rural campus that's about 30 miles outside of Richmond in the Virginia hills." He compares the campuses to having three children with three very different personalities and is excited by the challenges each will present.

Rhodes says he also is looking forward to being in the capital city near the chancellor of the state's university system. "I'll be on hand to help the chancellor and I feel I'll be able to be much more productive if something comes up," he says.

Though Rhodes plans to use his remaining time at Riverland to prepare the institution for a smooth transition to new leadership, he anticipates it will be four to six months before a new president is approved.

"Although I am leaving, I have great faith that Riverland's faculty, staff, administration teams and Foundation board members will use their outstanding skills to assure continued growth for Riverland and the educational opportunities it offers students," Rhodes says. "A great part of me will always be with the faculty, staff and the communities of Riverland Community College."

Amanda L. Rohde can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at amanda.rohde@austindailyherald.com