Last updated: August 26. 2013 5:53PM - 109 Views

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Marsha Drennon, who has led State Fair Community College to record enrollment and an expansion of course offerings on campus and online, will retire as president on June 30, 2013.

Drennon, 63, will have been president for 10 years at the time of her retirement.

“The fact that after next year, I will have been here 10 years, folks in these kind of positions need to know when it is time to turn it over to new energy, new ideas, new direction,” she said. “It is a good time in the life of the college to do that.”

With 14 months before she bows out, Drennon stressed that there are a lot of projects she wants to see completed, including the Missouri Center for Waste to Energy project, the use of the McLaughlin Brothers Furniture building in downtown Sedalia and the planned expansion into Boonville, as well as completion of the SFCC students’ renovation of Camp Pin Oak.

“I want to leave the college in good shape for the next president and the next administration,” Drennon said. Those projects “are really large efforts that will require a lot of time and focus and energy.”

Gary Noland, president of SFCC’s Board of Trustees, said in a news release: “Dr. Drennon has done much to enhance our visibility, the aesthetic quality of our campus and our reputation as a center of learning that focuses first and foremost on its students.”

Drennon’s tenure has included the $8 million “Power to Transform” capital campaign, which enhanced the college’s allied health programs, provided more student scholarships and built the Heckart Science and Allied Health Center. And SFCC’s record fall 2011 semester enrollment was 5,073, a 5.2 percent increase over the previous year’s total.

Other SFCC accomplishments during Drennon’s watch include the college being listed among the top 50 fastest-growing community colleges of its size nationally each of the past two years; also for the second year in a row, it was among the top 15 percent of military-friendly colleges.

The college now offers a degree in renewable energy and by September, as part of the Waste to Energy partnership, will begin construction of a power plant at the Waste Corporation of Missouri central landfill in Pettis County.

An alliance with state agencies allowed construction management students to rebuild the historic lodge at Camp Pin Oak, and SFCC has signed articulation agreements with University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Central Missouri, Central Methodist University and Drury University that allow State Fair students to continue their education without having to travel far from home.

In an interview for the Democrat’s “Progress” editions, Drennon said online courses now constitute 27 percent to 30 percent of SFCC’s offerings and enrollment.

Drennon is the fourth president in SFCC’s 44-year history. Before coming here, she was vice president for institutional advancement and executive director of the San Juan College Foundation at San Juan College in Farmington, N.M., where she had worked since 1999.

Her plan is to return to New Mexico and do consulting work with community colleges, assisting them with fundraising and resource development; she also plans to work with the Rural Community College Alliance, an advocacy group that helps build educational and economic opportunities in rural areas.

Noting that she still has more than a year left on the job, Drennon said she will miss providing service to students, interactions with faculty and staff, and “the tremendous support this community has given this college, which is beyond anything I have known in my life.”

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