York Technical College President Dr. Greg F. Rutherford, who has led the two-year institution since February 2007, announced his retirement effective July 31, 2021. Rutherford is leaving York Tech after spending over three decades working in higher education.
“There is no perfect time to announce your retirement,” expressed Rutherford. “While both the College and I are healthy, I feel this is a great time to make the transition. We have accomplished so much over the past 14 years, and I am confident these successes will positively impact an untold number of students to come.”
Since Rutherford took the helm of the College, he has prioritized student success. Most recently, the College had its highest number of graduates and completers, including a 94 % placement rate among graduates and its highest fall-to-fall student success rate – the number of students who persist, graduate, or transfer to a four-year institution. Additionally, the College witnessed its highest enrollment during the Great Recession in 2010. The College implemented more options to promote student completion by creating Reconnect, a pathway for former students to return to the College to complete their program of study, along with offering Wintermester, a four-week online session open to all college students during the winter break.
“Students and their educational success have and always will be the number one priority for York Technical College,” added Rutherford. “It is imperative to me that students are provided access to education that is affordable, attainable, and centered in learning excellence.”
During his presidency at York Tech, Rutherford has overseen the largest fundraising effort in the history of the College through the York Technical College Foundation’s Real. Bold. Better. campaign that started in 2016. The Foundation successfully exceeded it $6.5 million goal to support three priorities - creating access to educational opportunities, inspiring and fostering innovative learning experiences, and creating an engaging learning environment. The campaign launched concurrent to the opening of the remodeled C-Building, which is now known as the Comporium Center, and culminated with the opening of the expansion and remodeling of the Anne Springs Close Learning Commons in January 2020.
Other notable accomplishments under Rutherford’s leadership include: the opening of the College’s Chester Center, significant upgrades and renovations to campus buildings and roads, eliminating the College’s debt, implementing an institutional rebranding effort, beginning a campus police force, and establishing a tobacco-free campus. Several new programs were also launched at the College to include mechatronics, paramedic, diesel engine performance, and accelerated options for the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science. Additionally, the College expanded its dual enrollment program with all school districts within the College’s service area and established a bridge program with Winthrop University.
“The York Technical College Commission would like to thank Dr. Rutherford for his outstanding service and commitment to the college, the community, economic development, and most importantly, to student success,” expressed Geri H. Rucker, Chair for the College’s Area Commission. “We wish him continued success on his well-deserved next chapter.”
Prior to serving as president of York Tech, Rutherford was the Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development at Haywood Community College in Clyde, NC. Throughout his career, he held several key positions to include interim associate vice president for instruction, interim vice president for administrative services, dean of Workforce Development and Regional High Technology Center, and director of Continuing Education, among others.
A native of Asheville, NC, Rutherford attended community college at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, where he earned his associate degree in business administration. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of North Carolina at Ashville, a Master of Business Administration from Western Carolina University, and his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in educational administration.
Rutherford has been recognized for his work by Phi Theta Kappa International and was bestowed the Distinguished Graduate Award from University of Texas at Austin for the Community College Leadership Program. He has been a member of several boards including serving as chair of the South Carolina Technical College System’s Council of Presidents and Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation. Currently, he serves on the York County Economic Development Board, Lancaster County Economic Development Board, Catawba Council of Governments Board, South Carolina Coordinating Council for Workforce Development, and I-77 Alliance Board. He has also been actively involved with a wealth of organizations to include: American Association of Community Colleges Commission on Economic and Workforce Development; York County Regional Chamber of Commerce Board; Chester Development Association Board; U.S. Chairperson for the Trans-Atlantic Technology and Training Alliance (TA3); member of Rock Hill Rotary Club; volunteer for Junior Achievement, Boys and Girls Club, and United Way; and a host of other local, regional, and national organizations, boards, and commissions.
In the coming weeks, the York Technical College Area Commission will announce the College’s next steps for the presidential search and the appropriate celebration activities for Rutherford’s retirement.
“The Area Commission is fully committed to the difficult task of finding a worthy successor,” shared Rucker. “We are also truly grateful that Dr. Rutherford has offered to assist with a smooth transition.”