JAMESTOWN — Randy Parker will step down this summer as president of GTCC.
The college announced Wednesday that Parker will retire July 31 — one month short of his eighth anniversary at GTCC — after 40 years in higher education that saw him lead two North Carolina community colleges.
In a news release, Parker said he has had “a tremendous career” and is thankful for the support he and the college received from the local community and the college’s students, employees and Board of Trustees.
“The time I’ve spent at GTCC has been particularly rewarding,” Parker said. “... I hope I’ve contributed, in a small way, to GTCC’s success.”
Parker was named GTCC’s seventh president in 2011 after leading Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson for the previous seven years.
During his tenure at the state’s third-largest community college, Parker helped GTCC expand its aviation program and both the arts center and the Larry Gatlin School of Entertainment Technology on the High Point campus. GTCC opened its Cameron Campus in Colfax in 2015 and this fall launched its Center for Advanced Manufacturing near the main campus in Jamestown.
The college also credited Parker with raising money to grow the GTCC Foundation’s endowment by 50 percent, adding new student support services and increasing the number of students who earned degrees and certificates.
But Parker struggled to reverse a slide in enrollment caused largely by an improving economy. New marketing and recruitment efforts led to the first enrollment increase this fall since Parker’s first year at the college.
Susan Alt, a senior vice president at Volvo Group North America and chairwoman of the college’s Board of Trustees, said the college hired Parker in 2011 because it wanted “a forward-thinking leader who would best position GTCC to meet the future needs of students and businesses in the Triad area.
“He’s done just that,” she added, “and deserves a lot of credit for our progress.”
Parker did his undergraduate work at Lenoir Community College in Kinston and UNC-Charlotte before earning two degrees, including a doctor of education, from N.C. State University. He worked for 25 years at Lenoir CC, where he moved up through the ranks from engineering instructor to vice president of instruction and student services.
In the Triad, he has served as chairman of the Business Advisory Council for the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance and was campaign chairman of the High Point United Way in 2015.
During his GTCC tenure, Parker won a pair of distinguished graduate awards from N.C. State. In 2018 he was recognized with the top honor given to college presidents from Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges.
GTCC did not immediately lay out a timetable for finding a new president.