New interim president at Texas A&M University-Central Texas
Special to the Leader-Press
Austin Community College Chancellor Richard Rhodes has been selected to serve as interim president at Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
Rhodes — who led the unprecedented growth of ACC over the past 12 years — starts his new job Oct. 1, pending approval by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. He will be taking over for A&M-Central Texas’ longtime inaugural president, Marc Nigliazzo, who announced his retirement June 21.
“Hiring Dr. Rhodes is a real coup for A&M-Central Texas,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “His success at ACC speaks for itself. I’m excited to see what he can do at A&M-Central Texas, a truly unique campus with an important mission.”
A&M-Central Texas in Killeen is the only public “upper-level” university in the state, uniquely focused on transferring in students who have begun, but not completed their undergraduate degree. Offering 30 undergraduate degree programs and 19 graduate programs, the university has been recognized for its affordability, engaged faculty and staff and degree completion, awarding more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees in the past 15 years.
“I can’t wait to get started. As someone who has devoted my career to building a community college system that serves everyone, I understand and appreciate A&M-Central Texas’ unique mission,” Rhodes said. “A&M-Central Texas is an exceptional option for community college students as well as anyone with some college but no degree — and its doors are open to anyone who wants to change their life.”
Under Rhodes’ leadership, ACC became recognized as one of the top community college’s in the nation. ACC grew to 11 campuses, with more than a 168% increase in the number of degrees earned by students. Rhodes led the redevelopment of the former Highland Mall through public/private partnerships, collaborated with the U.S. Army Futures Command to create the Software Factory at the Rio Grande Campus and developed four industry incubators for startups to develop products before going to market.
Rhodes’ work with the Texas Legislature resulted in the authorization for ACC to offer its first four bachelor’s degree programs. His partnership with Apple drew Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to visit and award ACC with Apple Swift Code and Apple Coding camps. Rhodes led the development of workforce training programs with Samsung, NXP, NI, Tesla, St. David’s, Ascension Seton and Baylor Scott & White Hospitals.
Rhodes also created co-enrollment programs for ACC students with The University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University and Texas A&M University.
Rhodes previously served as president of El Paso Community College and vice president of business services at Salt Lake Community College. He received his bachelor’s and masters from New Mexico State University and a doctorate from the University of Texas.