by NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief
It’s not every day that a college alum is chosen to lead faculty, staff and students.
The South Plains College Board of Regents named Dr. Robin Satterwhite as the next president after an executive board meeting on April 22.
Dr. Satterwhite will become the college’s fifth president in its 59-year-history on July 1. He will be the first SPC alum to hold the position. He was named vice president for academic affairs in July 2015 after serving 16 years with the Texas Tech University Health Services Center, School of Allied Health Sciences.
Dr. Satterwhite was born in Ropesville and attended SPC as a freshman. Later, he transferred to Texas Tech and received three degrees. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems, a master’s degree in Management with a concentration of study in Health Organization Management, and a doctoral degree in Education with a focus on Higher Education Administration.
Prior to joining SPC, he held several different positions within TTUHSC.
“I was a hospital CEO, and that’s where I really transitioned into higher education administration,” says Dr. Satterwhite. “I worked as the original dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences.”
Dr. Satterwhite is a past president of the Texas Society of Allied Health Professions. He has been selected to participate in leadership programs, including the Texas Governor’s Executive Development Program and the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions Leadership Program. He received the Texas Society of Allied Health Professions Distinguished Service Award in 2015. In 2013, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus at SPC, as well as a Distinguished Former Odessan in 2007.
“It’s become an unusual career path I think from where I am right now,” explains Dr. Satterwhite. “But, it’s given me some professional experiences and leadership, managing organizations, and running complex ones. Moving into [being the new president] ties in together very well.”
Dr. Satterwhite says that he never thought he would ever come back to SPC and take part in a huge role.
“When I was a freshman, I was oblivious in what I wanted to do in my life,” says Dr. Satterwhite. “Of course, education was the key to success. When I graduated with my master’s, that’s when I started considering higher education as a career. Although I didn’t move into higher education at that time, I felt like it was something interesting and something I believed in. It’s something I felt strongly about. I never imagined I would be back here in this position, or as the president, which is why I think it’s such a privilege to me.”
Dr. Satterwhite says that he has watched the operations of SPC for a number of years while he was in different positions. He explains it was because over the years he attended SPC, the college had given him positive experiences.
“I admire the college, and always admired the college and its successes,” says Dr.Satterwhite. “I admire the mission of what the college is all about. The college enabled me to be more successful, and it enables many students to be successful.”
After Dr. Sharp notified the Board of Regents that he was going to retire, the Regents started conversation with Dr. Satterwhite about his potential interest in the new role. When Dr. Satterwhite found out Dr. Sharp was retiring, it sparked an interest in him and made him think about possibly stepping into a role to be the first alumnus to lead SPC.
“There was a special Board of Regents meeting, in which at the time, they knew my interest in the position,” says Dr. Satterwhite. “So, they sat down and they interviewed me through the process while in the executive session. They evaluated all my credentials and, of course, my responses to my questions, and they decided that this was the direction they wanted to go.”
Dr. Satterwhite explains that he is honored and delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Sharp.
“Dr. Sharp is an outstanding mentor, and he’s a great leader to the college,” says Dr. Satterwhite. “He has positioned the college very well for the next set of leadership to come in and pick up where he left off.”
Dr. Satterwhite says that he feels privileged and honored that the Board of Regents considered and allowed him to step into the new role of being president of South Plains College.
“I am very excited with working with the faculty and the leadership of the college,” explains Dr. Satterwhite. “The college has a strong leadership. We have some very talented leaders. I feel very confident with those people around me to help me lead the college, leading with a group of people, not just independently.”
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