Georgia Highlands College president Randy Pierce announced on Sept. 29 that he will be retiring from his position effective Dec. 31 after 40 years of service and 10 years at the GHC.
Some GHC employees were surprised at the timing of Pierce’s retirement. “It wasn’t a total surprise. I was a little surprised though at the timing, being so close to the end of the year,” said John Spranza, coordinator of student life for the Floyd campus.
In an interview, Pierce explained that his reason for leaving in the middle of theyear is simply due to reaching his 40 year mark and that he has been thinking of doing so since last April or May. Pierce said that the decision seemed a lot more abrupt in terms of the announcement because nobody knew about it and that with the changes in the system office it has taken a lot more time to put things in place.
Pierce said that most people retire at their 30 year mark, but he just couldn’t be satisfied with that.
He said, “Having the opportunity to be the president of Georgia Highlands College has been the greatest professional opportunity that I have had. I have enjoyed every minute of it. We’re at a point in the history of the institution where it’s poised to take the next step, so it just seemed all around a good time for me to do this.”
Pierce explained that the board will most likely insert an interim to fill his position. During that time from January to the first of the fiscal year the Board of Regents will be searching for a new candidate. As for graduation, Pierce said he will be attending graduation as a spectator, unless he is asked to participate in some other way. “I want everybody to walk, so I will definitely be there as a spectator,” said Pierce.
Renva Watterson, vice president of academic and student affairs, said, “I will miss him. I came into this office as an interim, which led to my being able to be here on a permanent basis and I will be forever grateful for that. He took a chance and I thank him for that.”