A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Nationally-recognized community college president Barbara Veazey announces retirement

After more than 40 years of service in education, West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) President Dr. Barbara Veazey announced her plans to retire, effective June 30, 2016.

During a faculty and staff meeting in Crounse Hall today, Dr. Veazey said she has been blessed to work in the community college and have a career in a place that changes lives, like no other, through education.

“I am inspired each day by the brightest, most forward thinking group of individuals. Our faculty and staff, the WKCTC Board of Directors, PJC Foundation and the community have been a bedrock of support for education,” Dr. Veazey said.

WKCTC President Dr. Barbara Veazey (Photo Provided)

WKCTC President Dr. Barbara Veazey (Photo Provided)

West Kentucky enrolls more than 9,000 students in academic, career and transfer programs in western Kentucky and online. It also conducts extensive customized education and training programs for area employers.

In May 2002, then Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) President Michael B. McCall appointed Veazey president of Paducah Community College (PCC). McCall named her CEO of the West Kentucky Community and Technical College District. When PCC consolidated with West Kentucky Technical College to become West Kentucky Community and Technical College in 2003, Dr. Veazey became the founding president of WKCTC.

Dr. Veazey had been a nurse, a nursing instructor, a college department chair, a dean of academic affairs, and an interim college president before being named the first WKCTC president. From the start, her goal for the College was clear – to work with faculty, staff, students, and the community to build a truly preeminent, comprehensive community and technical college.

In her tenure as president, West Kentucky has been recognized nationally for achievements in student access and success and contributions to regional economic development. The College was named to the top 10 in the nation each of the three (2011, 2013, 2015) times the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence has been awarded.

With an intense love for not only the College but also the region, Dr. Veazey translated her knowledge of education into what was needed to have a thriving community college in the 21st century. In her vision of the College, there was a future for a state-of-the-art emerging technology center, an art school, new and expanded off campus centers, and expanding academic and career programs to meet local and statewide needs. All of which were accomplished in record time during her 14-year tenure as president.

“Over the last 14 years, Dr. Barbara Veazey has proven herself as an outstanding college president. She has elevated WKCTC to national prominence through multiple Aspen Institute awards and has firmly established WKCTC as the shining star in Kentucky’s western sky,” said Dr. Jay Box, KCTCS president. “Dr. Veazey has focused on the comprehensive mission of a community and technical college—putting as much emphasis on developing a skilled workforce as to expanding arts education. She will be sorely missed.”

A Marshall County native, Dr. Veazey gained a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Murray State University, a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Evansville, and a doctorate in higher educational administration from Southern Illinois University.

During her long and respected career at Paducah’s community college, Dr. Veazey assisted in the development of new programs in a variety of fields including physical therapy assistance, paramedicine, health physics, and the establishment of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering at Paducah.

Dr. Veazey successfully led the merger of two separate colleges into today’s WKCTC – an institution that is a leader for quality of life through education. Dr. Veazey has been a national and international consultant on higher education and workforce development issues.
In 2000, she was named the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year.

She received the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2002 from Murray State University and the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award that same year. In 2011, Dr. Veazey and the College were honored by receiving the Chamber’s prestigious Summit Award for leading economic development in the community. Dr. Veazey was named “A Champion of Change” by the White House and President Barack Obama.

Despite tough economic times, Dr. Veazey has guided WKCTC through a period of transformation and growth and spearheaded significant changes in the communities it serves. Under her leadership, WKCTC added additional programs including: applied engineering technology, criminal justice, medical laboratory technician, culinary arts and logistics and operations management – all in cooperation with and the support of local businesses and industries.

Dr. Veazey oversaw the construction of a new $18 million emerging technology building and engineering research lab, the renovation of an Inland Logistics and Marine Institute, the Skilled Craft Training Center in Graves County and the establishment of the three-building Paducah School of Art and Design campus located in LowerTown.

Box will be on campus later in the month to explain the search process for the next president.

From KCTCS Communications

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