Panola College announces the retirement of President Gregory Powell after 24 years

Dr. Gregory Powell

After a remarkable 24-year journey of tireless dedication and unwavering commitment to the mission and values of Panola College, Dr. Gregory Powell has announced he will retire in August 2024. Dr. Powell’s illustrious career at Panola College has left an indelible mark on the institution and the countless students whose lives he has touched.

Dr. Powell assumed the role of President at Panola College in June of 2000, and throughout his tenure, he has guided the institution to unprecedented heights of achievement and success. Under his leadership, the Chronicle of Higher Education has consistently recognized Panola College to the honor roll as a Great College to Work For 12 consecutive years in all 10 possible categories.

“It has been my greatest pleasure to serve as President of Panola College. I especially appreciate the strong partnership enjoyed by the Board, the faculty, the staff, and myself,” said Powell. “The commitment of our faculty and staff to our mission is inspiring. It is why we have seen such tremendous growth and achievement at Panola College. Together, we cultivated a culture of upward mobility and opportunity for all students.”

Dr. Powell’s dynamic leadership is evident through remarkable achievements, including a substantial increase in enrollment from 1,400 to 2,800 students. During his tenure, he has awarded an impressive 10,500 degrees and certificates, reinforcing Panola College’s vital role in the community.

Dr. Powell spearheaded significant campus expansions throughout his tenure, including student housing, the library, the student center, a science building, a music building, and energy buildings. In addition, he renovated buildings such as the Monk Building, W.C. Smith Building, and Merle Glass Building. The renovated and newly erected buildings provide students with state-of-the-art facilities that are conducive to learning and personal growth.

Dr. Powell’s fiscal stewardship ensured the College’s long-term financial stability and growth. According to the 2022 State of Texas’ Composite Financial Index, Panola College is considered the healthiest financially out of all Texas community college districts.

Board of Trustees Chair, Mr. William Goolsby, expressed the Board's deep gratitude for Dr. Powell's transformative leadership, stating, "Dr. Powell's visionary leadership, unwavering commitment to the College's mission, and dedication to the betterment of the educational community have left an enduring legacy that will be celebrated and remembered for generations to come. As he prepares to embark on a well-deserved retirement, we salute his remarkable achievements and wish him all the best in this next chapter of his life. He has set the bar high for future Panola College leaders and will be deeply missed."

Powell’s career in higher education began at Texas State University as an interim government professor. Powell recalled how he felt after his first lecture to more than 130 students, “I remembered walking out of that first class thinking, ‘I cannot believe people get paid to stand up here and talk about politics and government.’ I knew then that education was what I wanted to do.”

Dr. Powell’s passion for teaching and leadership roles led him to Kilgore College and Middle Georgia College before becoming Panola College’s longest-tenured president.

For his advocacy of higher education in multiple areas, Powell has received state, regional, and national awards. In addition to his accolades in higher education, Dr. Powell was actively engaged with the community as a Panola County Chamber of Commerce member, which honored him with the 2012 Citizen of the Year Award, Panola County Rotary Club, and Panola County Industrial Development Foundation. He was also named Stephen F. Austin Alumni of the Year in 2013.

The retirement of Dr. Gregory Powell marks a significant moment in the history of Panola College, as the institution celebrates a transformative leader whose dedication to educational excellence has inspired and empowered generations of students.

“Serving as Panola College’s President has been the honor of a lifetime. I am enormously proud of the organization that Panola College has become, and I know that it has even greater things ahead,” Dr. Powell said.