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Columbia Business Monthly

Greenville Technical College President Keith Miller Announces Retirement Plans

Feb 22, 2024 02:55PM ● By David Dykes

The Greenville Technical College Area Commission on Feb. 21, 2024, approved President Keith Miller’s plan to retire in July 2025.

Officials said the approval sets into motion a national search process that will culminate with the selection of a successor. 

Miller assumed the leadership of Greenville Technical College (GTC) in July 2008 as  the institution’s second president. He brought experienced leadership to the position, having spent 12 years as a college president in Illinois, first for Spoon River College and later for Black Hawk  College. 

Miller began his own college education at a community college, earning an associate degree in  technical education – radiologic technology before adding a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and finally, a doctorate degree in adult and continuing education.

Officials said the experience as a two-year college student informed his interest in helping students navigate unfamiliar territory. 

He has ensured that GTC puts students first, with emphasis on not just getting  students enrolled but seeing that they are supported from day one to graduation and that every student has an equal opportunity for success, the officials said.

Innovative efforts include the African American  Male Scholars Initiative, the state’s only Collegiate Recovery Program at the two-year college  level, and a Student Assistance and Resources Center where those facing the obstacles of  hunger and emergency financial barriers can find relief. 

Officials said the result is an inclusive environment where each employee and every student can find a sense of belonging, earning GTC the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award seven times, most recently in 2023. 

As Miller has steered the college toward fulfillment of its mission of transforming lives through education, he has greatly improved efficiency, the officials said. 

While many educational leaders confine themselves to academic processes and traditions, Miller has borrowed best practices from business and industry in order to maximize resources and focus on continuous improvement, the officials said.

The college now uses Franklin Covey’s Four Disciplines of Execution to focus the entire employee base on a common goal and recently received the Franklin Covey Greatness Award for exceptional progress with the system. 

A focus on Baldrige quality practices has resulted in GTC being named a South Carolina Governors Quality Award Gold Achiever, the only technical college in the state to ever win at any level.

Much of what Miller has accomplished at the college has been the result of productive  partnerships. 

He has worked closely with employers – both large and small – including BMW,  Michelin, Lockheed Martin, Prisma Health, Bon Secours St. Francis, Bosch Rexroth, and local,  state, national and international organizations with ties to the Upstate and South Carolina. 

“I am grateful to the elected officials, the employers, the educators at all levels, and the college’s faculty and staff who have worked alongside me to move the college and the Upstate  forward,” Miller said. “My job has taken me across the state and around the country, and I have yet to encounter a better environment anywhere for collaboration that ensures  progress.” 

In an email to school officials and supporters, Miller said, “I have established this timetable because I believe that the college is at a point where it is well positioned for the future. We owe this progress to partners and leaders like you, who continue to assist us in fulfilling our mission of transforming lives through education.” 

He added, “Until the summer of 2025, I will continue to rely on your support as we come together to meet workforce needs in this area. I expect that my role will be especially attractive to job candidates because of the environment of cooperation that a new president will find. As I meet with other presidents in the state and across the country, I have learned that what we have here is very special, and your role in supporting community college education is one of the reasons for that.”  

And he said, “When I do leave this office, I won’t be far away. I plan to remain in Greenville and look forward to seeing Greenville Technical College and this community move forward from the position of strength we occupy now. You have my sincere thanks for everything you have done to help us reach this position, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead." 

As the partners discuss workforce needs, Miller has worked to create innovative solutions.

Examples include the Center for Manufacturing Innovation, which is training and educating  mechatronics technicians, machinists, and electronic technicians for advanced manufacturing. 

When employers in that sector asked for an educational step beyond the associate degree, one  that would create candidates for technical and managerial leadership positions, Miller gained  support from legislators for an applied bachelor’s degree in advanced manufacturing technology at the technical college level. 

GTC is now the only two-year college in the state  pioneering that curriculum.  

When Prisma Health sought a new avenue for creating well-qualified professionals to enter the health care field, Miller worked with the hospital system to bring the Prisma Health Center for Health & Life Sciences to reality. 

Opening fall 2024, the largest building on the college’s Barton Campus will allow students to pursue careers in health care and complete general education requirements.

The facility will impact 90 percent of GTC students and serve all of 500-600  health science graduates that the college contributes to the local workforce each year.  

Similarly, officials said the Truist Culinary and Hospitality Innovation Center is an answer to employer needs. 

Officials said when the hospitality industry needed to expand its pipeline of skilled employees, Miller matched that need with those of an underserved area in West Greenville, creating a change agent that provides a clear path to upward mobility as it increases the number of qualified  hospitality employees.  

The Center for Workforce Development, expected to open in 2026, will solve the welding challenge in workforce development. The General Assembly has appropriated $15 million for this facility, to be located at the college’s Brashier Campus. 

The 44,000-square-foot facility will offer enhanced technology, expanded and inviting teaching and learning spaces, and increased  welding stations.  

Miller serves on the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education Presidents Council and has been a member of the White House/AACC National Apprenticeship Advisory Panel, past board chair for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), board member for the American Council on Education (ACE), and co-chair of the Voluntary Framework for  Accountability. 

Miller is also active in organizations that improve the community. He served as chair of the Greenville Chamber board of directors, chair of the Commerce Club board, and board member  for United Way of Greenville County, Upstate Alliance South Carolina, and the Health Sciences  Center – Prisma Health.

In addition, he was chairman of March for Babies and chairman of the board for the Urban League of the Upstate. 

He has been recognized for his many contributions to the community and the state with the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest civilian honor, and the Education Spirit Award  from the Community Foundation of Greenville.  

“Naturally, it will be difficult to see a leader of Keith Miller’s caliber step back,” said Ray Lattimore, chair of the Greenville Technical College Area Commission. “But as we look with  gratitude at all he has accomplished in his years of leadership, we know that he has done an amazing job of preparing this institution and the students and employers it serves so well to  face the future from a position of incredible strength.”