DALLAS – Gaston College President Patricia Skinner has announced her plans to retire in March 2020, ending her more than 50-year career in higher education.
August will mark 25 years of Skinner serving as president of Gaston College. She is the first woman and fourth president to lead the two-year community college that serves Gaston and Lincoln counties.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as president of Gaston College. I came at a time when the College was poised for growth and expansion,” Skinner said in a statement. “This college has become an integral part of Gaston and Lincoln counties, and I am grateful for the tremendous support the college has received over the years from our many talented students, dedicated faculty and staff, community, county and statewide partners, members of our foundation and Textile Technology Boards, and the college’s Board of Trustees. Together, we have built an institution focused on quality education and student success, and I am proud that we have become one of the top community colleges of the 58 in North Carolina.”
The retirement was accepted at the March 25 Board of Trustees meeting.
“We reluctantly accept her decision and are forever grateful for all she’s done for the college and will continue to do in this next year,” said Jim Watson, chairman of the Gaston College Board of Trustees, in a statement. “Thanks to Dr. Skinner’s vision and leadership, the college has experienced unprecedented growth since she became president more than 24 years ago. She and her dedicated team of faculty and staff have prepared this institution to serve the students, businesses, and industries in our counties for many years to come.”
Before coming to North Carolina, Skinner was an administrator for the Ohio Board of Regents and served as vice president of academic and student affairs at Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio.
She has served on professional boards in various capacities including president of the N.C. Association of Community College Presidents, and chairwoman of the Charlotte Area Education Consortium, Gaston Together and the N.C. Student Success Center Advisory Board.
Since becoming president in 1994, Skinner has led Gaston College through significant growth. When she started, the college was comprised of only its main campus in Dallas, but has since added the W. Duke Kimbrell Campus & Textile Technology Center in Belmont and its Lincoln Campus in Lincolnton. During her tenure, the college has expanded its instructional and administrative space from 371,294 to 793,264 square feet with the addition of 11 buildings. The newest building, the Veterinary Medical Technology Facility, is scheduled to open on the Dallas Campus in 2020.
In 1965, Gaston College’s first graduating class consisted of six students. The first graduating class during Dr. Skinner’s tenure consisted of 347 students. In 2018, the college had its highest number of graduates with 1,455 students.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are grateful to Dr. Skinner for her commitment to our students, our great college, and the citizens of Gaston and Lincoln counties and the state,” Watson said.