Dr Edwards RetirementAfter 14 years, Dr. George D. Edwards, founding president and CEO of Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), will step down as college president and CEO on January 5, 2015. He will work on a special assignment through June 30, 2015.

This is a bittersweet day for our family, said Dr. Edwards. I have had the honor of working with a dedicated board of directors, foundation board, a great leadership team, and a group of passionate faculty and staff who are committed to our mission. Together, we have made great strides in providing the people of the Big Sandy region a comprehensive community and technical college that is devoted to student success, access and transfer.

Dr. Michael B. McCall, founding president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), issued the following statement on Dr. Edwards retirement:
Dr. Edwards outstanding leadership during the past 14 years has enabled BSCTC to provide the local community with educational programs in high-wage, high-demand fields, designed to enhance the eastern Kentucky economy. We are currently working with Dr. Edwards to ensure a seamless transition plan is in place as we move forward in our mission to provide Kentuckians with a quality postsecondary education that is both accessible and affordable.

Dr. Edwards and his wife, Dr. Joyce Edwards, plan to relocate to Verona, Va. upon his retirement.

This will allow us to be within two hours of all of our children and grandchildren, he said. Family is very important to Joyce and me, and we look forward to spending time with them, traveling and volunteering in the community.

Dr. Edwards became the third president of Prestonsburg Community College and the founding president of the Big Sandy Community and Technical College in November 2000, shortly after the passage of House Bill 1 which created KCTCS. Under his leadership, Prestonsburg Community College and Mayo Technical College together formed Big Sandy Community and Technical College in 2003.

Student success has been the cornerstone of Dr. Edwards administration. Since 2008, the college has increased credentials awarded to students by 140 percent and graduates earning associate degrees by 64 percent.

Dr. Edwards has overseen more than $23 million in building projects during his tenure. BSCTC opened the Student Center in 2002 and the Postsecondary Education Building and East Kentucky Science Center and Planetarium in 2004. The Mayo campus benefitted from a more than $7.5 million renovation in 2002. Additionally, more than $4 million have been spent on infrastructure upgrades in the areas of technology and sustainability.

Dr. Edwards strong and compassionate leadership has led to many accomplishments, including: the creation of the Floyd County and Johnson County Early College Academies; a highly responsive Workforce Solutions program; the creation of the Big Sandy Singers, Big Sandy Idol and Fine Arts department; the Honors Scholarship program; leadership development for employees; and the continued growth of the Big Sandy College Educational Foundation, Inc.

"Im most proud of the students weve helped, said Dr. Edwards. Its rewarding to be in a position and represent an institution that has unwavering commitment to students. Its also been rewarding to watch our employees grow and develop over the years. I hope that my efforts have made a difference.

Karen Sellers, chair of the BSCTC board of directors, said Dr. Edwards transformed an already well respected community college into a remarkable place to work and study.

As a result of his strategic leadership, BSCTC has seen significant growth in student enrollment, faculty achievement and campus improvements, she said. Dr. Edwards has done a terrific job of reaching out to the business community, fundraising and recruiting talented students, faculty and staff. Every step of the way, he has reminded this community of the vital importance of Big Sandy Community and Technical College."

Charles Rusty Justice, vice chair of the BSCTC board of directors, said: I would like to thank Dr. Edwards for his leadership of this wonderful institution over the last 14 years. Under his guidance he has overseen growth and progress in all facets of the organization. I would also like to thank him for his friendship. He is a man of intelligence and character and I have benefited from that relationship.

Bobby McCool, chief institutional officer, said Dr. Edwards leadership has elevated the importance of postsecondary education in economic development.

Big Sandy Community and Technical College has brokered the dialogue of conversation on the role of our college in workforce development, he said.

Dr. Nancy B. Johnson, provost at BSCTC, said Dr. Edwards leadership and commitment to students and communities served by the college has been phenomenal.

The many successful programs initiated increased scholarship access; the improvement of facilities; the access to technology and its infusion into the learning process; the responsiveness to workforce needs; and the continual encouragement and support to faculty and staff through professional development opportunities all provide evidence of this leadership and commitment. Working as a member of his team at Big Sandy has truly been a gift for me.