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MCALLEN, Texas – A senior vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has offered his praise for Dr. Shirley A. Reed, the outgoing president of South Texas College.

Reed announced her retirement at STC’s board meeting on Tuesday. She has been the one and only president of the community college, having been tapped as its founding president in 1993. In fact, Reed has had a 45 year career as a community college administrator with experience in three states.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Shirley Reed for her tenure at South Texas College, Hastings said. “I am sorry to see that she will be leaving the college in January because I think she has done a fantastic job, partnering with local industry and truly creating a pipeline of talent here in South Texas.”

Blake Hastings

Hastings made his comments at the start of a virtual presentation on the state of the economy during the year’s INNO conference. He has killed off the annual conference for the past four years.

“We admire what is being done there at the college and it is certainly an example that we point to when we talk to other communities around the state, looking for examples of how to create these partnerships between education and the workplace.”

Hastings opened his remarks by recognizing the work STC does in developing workers for the local economy.

“I would like to continue to congratulate South Texas College for the really groundbreaking work you all are doing partnering with industry to create certificate and degree programs around what local industry needs,” Hastings said.

“Most recently the announcement of your Google Analytics program, which I think is just fantastic. The more we look at the future of the economy of the United States, the more we have determined that skills and skillsets are going to be imperative and that we are all going to be lifelong learners, developing new skillsets, thanks to the evolution of technology and the disruption that comes from that.”

Former state Rep. Ismael “Kino” Flores of Mission played a key role in getting additional state funding for STC. He, too, gave credit to Dr. Reed.

“Shirley had the same energy and excitement and passion that South Texas had for higher education opportunities. She worked extremely hard to ensure those opportunities became a reality,” Flores told the Rio Grande Guardian

Reed’s energy and commitment could be explained by the fact that she, too, benefited from going to a community college.

“Graduation from a community college opened the door to my own future, and as president of South Texas College, I am committed to opening the doors to higher education for all and with the highest expectations for their success,” Reed said.

Asked about his involvement with the college’s development, Flores said: “There  was a group that had the concept and the idea. Then there was a group that created it. And then there was our group and we made sure we provided all the money for brick and mortar. For example, I was involved with the dual and concurrent enrollment and it was my legislation that took it from a two-year to a four-year institution.”

Asked if he is proud of how STC has grown, Flores said: “Absolutely. I always predicted it would be bigger than the university because it was going to be friendlier. They found a way of ensuring students received their educational opportunity by removing all obstacles and barriers.”

Congressman Henry Cuellar released a statement on Dr. Reed’s retirement. He said:

“I first met Dr. Shirley Reed in the middle of a dusty field in Rio Grande City for the groundbreaking of South Texas College’s Starr County campus. Even though the wind was raising the dust and getting into our eyes, both of us were excited about the opportunities this new campus would bring for students and our community.

“Dr. Reed invited me to speak at this groundbreaking ceremony because as chairman of the Education Subcommittee on Appropriations in the Texas State Legislature, I secured funding for fast-growing colleges throughout Texas, including South Texas College. Since then, we have been working together to fund projects that advance access to quality education for the people of South Texas.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Reed on her tenure at South Texas College. Her passion, hard work, and leadership has created a revered education institution, driving regional and economic prosperity in the region.”

David Plummer also spoke about Dr. Reed, during a board meeting of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation. Plummer is executive vice president for educational programming and student achievement at STC.

“I guess our big news is our founding president, Dr. Reed, after 25-plus years, announced her retirement,” Plummer told the MEDC board of directors. “We thought she would be here forever but I guess everybody has to go sooner or later.”

Plummer said Reed’s last day as president will be January 4, 2021. 

“So our board is going to start planning the rehiring process for a new president. We don’t have a timeline on that yet. But the board is going to work on that.”

Plummer added: “We are really sad to lose Dr. Reed. She has done great things in bringing the college… 25 years ago we had about 1,200 students… to over 30,000 so, great job. I know she has worked well with Keith and Jim and most of the community leaders on here as well, so it is a big loss for South Texas College but we will continue to work with her during the transition.”

Plummer was referencing Keith Patridge, president of McAllen EDC, and Jim Darling, mayor of McAllen.

On the STC website, Reed explained what running STC meant to her.

“Sometimes I feel like a proud parent when talking about South Texas College, but it’s hard not to brag when you are the president of the largest, fastest growing college south of San Antonio. STC’s growth in every respect has been truly phenomenal since our founding in 1993 and there is so much to be proud of,” Reed wrote.

“On the academic side we not only offer more than 100 degree and certificate program options, but we also offer a myriad of continuing and professional education opportunities and are the only community college in Texas offering two Bachelor of Applied Technology degrees. We have one of the largest Dual Enrollment Programs in the state offering thousands of Valley high school students the chance to accelerate their higher education with free college credit. And our Distance Education Program has been a model for colleges across the state and nation.”

Reed said it is no exaggeration to say students attending STC have an opportunity to transform their lives.

“We offer students a variety of academic and social clubs creating opportunities for students to enhance their learning and build lasting friendships. We also offer terrific options for free tutoring, job placement and counseling, helping students get the support they need to ensure their academic and personal success. Our Alumni & Friends Association is building bridges between generations of graduates and current students,” Reed wrote.

“But the biggest thing I have to brag about is the caliber of student we attract at STC. I visit each of our five campuses frequently, as well as our early college high schools and dual enrollment programs. The students I see are all motivated, hungry for a better life. More than 70 percent of our students are the first in their families to attend college, meaning they don’t know exactly how to attend college at first, but they know it’s the path to a better future.”

Reed added that it is the job of STC’s leadership to make the process of attending and staying in college as easy and accessible as possible. 

“We are completely committed to our work. That’s why thousands of students have put their futures in our hands. And you can see our success in the successes of our graduates working and living not only in the Rio Grande Valley, but across Texas, the nation and the world. We are positively changing lives and transforming possibilities.”

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