Wake Tech president, who led community college through 15 years of growth, is retiring

Wake Technical Community College President Stephen Scott, seen here during a board meeting on the school’s campus in Raleigh, on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013.
Wake Technical Community College President Stephen Scott, seen here during a board meeting on the school’s campus in Raleigh, on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

Stephen Scott, who has served as president of Wake Technical Community College since 2003, will retire this fall.

Scott on Thursday announced his last day on the job will be Aug. 31.

Wake Tech has doubled its number of facilities to become the largest of the 58 community colleges in the state over the nearly 15 years since Scott took over as president. The student population has grown from 50,000 to more than 74,000 during his tenure.

Wake Tech board of trustees chairman Tom Looney said Scott’s vision and leadership made it possible for the college to accommodate the growth and address workforce development needs.

“He is a trusted leader in our state, respected by his trustees, faculty, staff, students, elected officials, business leaders and our community at large,” Looney said in a press release. “We will continue to build upon Dr. Scott’s accomplishments while celebrating and recognizing his countless successes.”

Wake County voters supported bonds in 2004, 2007 and 2012 to enable Wake Tech to expand.

Scott worked 16 years at two South Carolina colleges before coming to North Carolina to be president of Southeastern Community College in Whiteville from 1988 to 1999.

He was executive vice president and chief operating officer of the North Carolina Community College System from 1999 to 2002, and president of Lenoir Community College in Kinston from 2002 to 2003.

When he took over as Wake Tech’s third president, he said he saw “a college full of promise, ready to grow by leaps and bounds – and it has done just that.”

“It has been rewarding and exhilarating to be a part of that growth and the fulfillment of that promise,” Scott said in a statement. “It has been an honor to lead this great institution. It is filled with passionate faculty, innovative staff, and the hardest-working students I have ever known. As I move forward with this next phase of my life, I am confident that Wake Tech will continue to change lives.”

Highlights of the college’s growth under Scott include:

▪  Full-time equivalent enrollment (upon which the college is funded) more than doubled, from 9,700 to more than 21,000

▪  The number of degrees, diplomas and certificates awarded increased from 1,911 to 8,754

▪  Total budget went from $60 million to $279 million

▪  Gross square footage owned or leased by the college increased from 800,000 to 2.4 million

▪  Addition of competitive athletics in 2008

▪  The number of full-time employees grew from 593 to 1,300

▪  Addition of the Western Wake Campus (2005), Northern Wake Campus (2007), Public Safety Education Campus (2008), Beltline Education Center (2015) and RTP Campus in Morrisville (opening summer 2018).

Scott has received numerous accolades during his time in Wake County, including the title of NCCCS President of the Year in 2008.

The Wake Tech board of trustees will begin searching for Scott’s successor immediately.