Midlands Tech president to retire in 2014 - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Midlands Tech president to retire in 2014

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Midlands Technical College President Dr. Marshall "Sonny" White, Jr. will retire at the end of 2014.

The institution will launch a nationwide search for White's successor and expects to have a candidate in place before White steps down.

White enjoyed a successful career in international business, science and technology before putting his knowledge and experience to work in higher education. After retiring as a senior global executive with Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis), White served as executive vice president of Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina. He became the fifth president of Midlands Technical College (MTC) in 2006.

"Sonny has been an invaluable asset to MTC and to the community," said Randall "Mack" Jackson, chair of the Midlands Technical College Commission. "Drawing on his experience in both business and education, Dr. White has worked closely with employers, K-12 education leaders and other colleges and universities to focus on preparing students for in-demand jobs in the knowledge economy. Programs like the Gamecock Gateway with USC and the Michelin Technical Scholars program are two examples of how responsive the college has been to expand access to education and to careers."

During White's tenure, MTC opened campuses in Batesburg-Leesville and Fairfield County and opened Harbison Theatre, a state-of-the-art performance center that attracted approximately 20,000 visitors in 2013. The college also recently opened an 82,000-square-foot Engineering Technology and Sciences Building and in October received the largest grant in college history to fast-track students into careers in health care.

White said these are concrete examples of how MTC has renewed its focus on helping graduates immediately step into jobs or transfer to four-year institutions.

"Over the next five years in central South Carolina, there are 20,000 projected job openings, and most of those job openings will be in alternate energy, health care, advanced manufacturing and information technology," said White.  "If we don't have a workforce in place prepared to fill those jobs, those employers will go to other regions of South Carolina, to other states and even overseas."

One of the most exciting developments at MTC under White's leadership is the creation of the Enterprise Campus to foster entrepreneurship and small-business development. In addition to the technology and sciences facility, the Enterprise Campus is also home to the Business Accelerator, a 25,000-square-foot facility designed to accommodate emerging businesses, industries or technologies that have left the research and development stage and are ready for start-up production.

"These are leading-edge companies poised for growth," White said. "On the Enterprise Campus, we offer these businesses the benefits of prime location, proximity to regional transportation infrastructure and research institutions, use of the college's technology resources and faculty expertise."

Throughout the recession, MTC maintained institutional financial stability, in large part due to White's leadership. And for 17 consecutive years, MTC received "The Certificate of Achievement for Financial Reporting," a national award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). 

White earned his B.S. in Textile Chemistry and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Clemson University and participated in the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard University Business School.  White received the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction from Phi Theta Kappa, has been recognized by Clemson University as a Distinguished Alumnus and also was inducted into the Thomas Green Clemson Society in the College of Engineering and Science. US Senator Jim DeMint presented White with the SC on the Move Award to recognize White's innovative approaches to recruiting and retaining regional business expansions, and success with obtaining competitive federal grants.

White is married to Jo Ellen Abernethy White, and they have two children and two grandchildren.

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