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Panola College leads state community colleges in growth

By Special to the News-Journal
Nov. 3, 2011 at 11 p.m.


Panola College had the largest percentage enrollment growth of all community colleges in Texas, according to the Texas Association of Community Colleges.

"Once again Panola College has brought honor and distinction to East Texas," said Gregory Powell, president of Panola College.

Powell informed faculty and staff of this recognition with a note.

"Thank you for your hard work and dedication to Panola College," he wrote. "Because of you, Panola College has another record enrollment - 2,562 credit students."

The statewide average enrollment increase from fall 2010 to fall 2011 was 2.5 percent.

"Our 10.1 percent enrollment increase is the largest of all 50 Texas community college districts," Powell said.

"I was elated to hear the most recent accomplishment of Panola College," said Joe Shannon, vice president of instruction. "The increased enrollment is due to a collaboration of all of our instructional centers working together to cultivate successful programs that enhance our service areas and create opportunities for student success."

Don Clinton, vice president of student services, said the staff for years has been promoting the fact that Panola College offers a great number of opportunities to the area.

"These include quality instruction at an affordable price, a small town atmosphere where students are guided by caring instructors and programs that provide relevant training so that graduates can go directly into the workforce," Clinton said. "Students are discovering the benefits provided by Panola College and the result has been seven consecutive semesters of record enrollment."

Van Patterson, vice president of institutional advancement, said the achievement marks another milestone for the college.

"During the past 10 months our president, Dr. Gregory Powell, was named 'Educator of the Year,' by the Coordinating and Development Corporation," Patterson said. "The college was selected as one of the top 10 technology savvy small community colleges in the nation by the Center for Digital Education, we helped launch Panola Early College High School, new enrollment records were set in the spring and fall semesters, a new CDL training program was begun, and now we have the largest percentage enrollment increase in the state of Texas."

Patterson said these achievements did not happen by chance.

"They are the result of extensive planning and exceptional leadership provided by Dr. Powell, the administration, and the board of trustees," he said.

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