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Greenville Technical College president sets retirement date

Ross Norton //February 22, 2024//

Miller has served as president of Greenville Technical College, with the second-largest enrollment in the state's system, since 2008. (Photo/Greenville Technical College)

Miller has served as president of Greenville Technical College, with the second-largest enrollment in the state's system, since 2008. (Photo/Greenville Technical College)

Greenville Technical College president sets retirement date

Ross Norton //February 22, 2024//

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

The approval sets into motion a national search for his successor, according to a news release from the college. Miller, the second president in the college’s history, has led the school since July 2008.

Miller is often thanked publicly for his role — and the college’s — in helping attract new employers to the growing Upstate region. Since the fall of 2014, Greenville County alone has attracted nearly 18,000 new jobs and $3,9 billion in capital investment for more than 220 projects, according to the Greenville Area Development Corp.

Some of Miller’s most notable accomplishments have involved working with and guiding development of programs that serve the business community, especially in workforce training and development.

He led the charge for the first applied bachelor’s degree in advanced manufacturing technology, making Greenville Technical College the first in the South Carolina Technical College System to offer a four-year degree.

“With one of the greatest technical college systems in the world, it makes perfect sense that we would give South Carolinians the opportunity to utilize those institutions of higher learning to contribute to one of the fastest-growing manufacturing industries in the country,” Gov. Henry McMaster said in 2018 when he signed legislation paving the way for the degree program.

Much of what Miller has accomplished at the college has been the result of partnerships, according to the news release. He has worked closely with employers including BMW, Michelin, Lockheed Martin, Prisma Health, Bon Secours St. Francis and Bosch Rexroth, as well as local, state, national and international organizations with ties to the Upstate and South Carolina.

Miller with Ray Lattimore, who presented the Order of the Palmetto, considered the highest honor from the government to a citizen of South Carolina. (Photo/Greenville Technical College)

“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 in the release. “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.”

McMaster frequently calls the technical college system the best in the nation and he often cites Greenville Technical College and its responsiveness to employer needs as a reason why.

Miller led efforts 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 Prisma Health sought a new avenue for creating 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 this fall, the largest building on the college’s Barton Campus will allow students to pursue careers in health care and complete general education requirements. This facility will impact 90% of GTC students and serve all of the 500-600 health science graduates that the college contributes to the local workforce each year, according to the release.

The Truist Culinary and Hospitality Innovation Center was developed as an answer to employer needs. 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.

The Center for Workforce Development, expected to open in 2026, is being developed to solve a 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 release stated. The 44,000-square-foot facility will offer enhanced technology, expanded and inviting teaching and learning spaces and increased welding stations.

Miller 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.

He 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 in adult and continuing education.

This experience as a two-year college student has informed his interest in helping students navigate unfamiliar territory, the release said. He worked to ensure 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.

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. The program has earned the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award seven times, most recently in 2023.

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.

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 and the Education Spirit Award from the Community Foundation of Greenville.

His contributions everywhere will be missed, said Ray Lattimore, chair of the GTC Area Commission.

“Naturally, it will be difficult to see a leader of Keith Miller’s caliber step back,” Lattimore said in the release. “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.”