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MARCH 20, 2014

Three Rivers renews President's contract for four more years

The Three Rivers College Board of Trustees approved renewing the contract of college president Dr. Devin Stephenson for another four-year term at the Board's monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 19.

"The Higher Learning Commission, our independent auditors and record enrollment indicate we are doing something right at Three Rivers," said Darren Garrison, Chair of the Three Rivers College Board of Trustees. "I think Dr. Stephenson and his team have us going in the right direction."

Under Stephenson's leadership, the college has secured more than $25 million in state and federal funds. Since 2009, the institution has seen a 50 percent increase in enrollment, with the Community College Times naming Three Rivers as one of the fastest growing institutions in the nation for two years in a row.

In conversation, however, Stephenson tends to downplay his own achievements in favor of praising the faculty, staff, and administration of Three Rivers, who he says are the real drivers of Three Rivers' success.

"I'm honored by the trust that the Board of Trustees continues to place our vision for Three Rivers. Above all, I have to give credit to our amazing administration, faculty, and staff at the college," said Stephenson. "What we've accomplished so far is the result of the hard work of many people, and I'm fortunate to have been able to be a part of it."

"We could not have made the strides we have made without an exemplary team at Three Rivers. They are in the ‘trenches' every day, working with our students to assure they reach their educational goals," he added. "We have many great team players at Three Rivers and they are dedicated to the mission and vision of this college."

The college has seen dramatic expansion in its facilities under Stephenson's leadership, including the renovation of the Lambert C. Drury Academic Resource Commons and current construction of a Grand Entrance and a Humanities and Social Sciences Building on the Poplar Bluff campus, and an Eastern Campus in Sikeston. The college has doubled the number of off-campus centers and expanded academic and career programs across the region.

Workforce development programs at the college have also exploded in the past five years, culminating in Three Rivers securing a $2.75 million Department of Labor grant for advanced manufacturing, welding, and precision agriculture programs. The college also has administered millions of dollars worth of new job and job retention training programs during that time, along with the acquisition of two Mobile Training Labs.

"The Three Rivers team has been instrumental in leading the phenomenal growth of not only Poplar Bluff, but the entire Southeast Missouri region," said Steve Halter, President of the Greater Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce. "Three Rivers College plays a significant role in the area's economic progress and has garnered national attention through its innovation and expansion of educational opportunities for students."

The college's current growth and expansion doesn't satisfy Stephenson, however. To him, the past four years were amazing - but only the beginning.

"I believe that what we do in the next four years will have a positive effect throughout Southeast Missouri for generations to come," Stephenson said. "I promised our community that Three Rivers would transform into the premiere educational institution in our region, and our team at the college is working toward that goal. This will give us time to finish what we have started."
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