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Garrison Named Interim President at McDowell Tech

The North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges, during its meeting on Friday morning, affirmed the decision of the McDowell Technical Community College Board of Trustees to name Mr. Ryan Garrison as Interim President of McDowell Tech effective September 1, 2023. He will serve on an interim basis while the board conducts a search for a new president as the college’s sixth president, Dr. Brian S. Merritt, will become Senior Vice-President at the North Carolina Community College System Office in Raleigh, NC on September 1.

At the board’s last meeting on August 10, Board Chair Gary Stroud discussed a possible timeline for the search process. Ideally, the board would like to have a new president in place as early as possible during the Spring 2023 semester, but he acknowledged that there are a number of variables involved in the process.

This will be Garrison’s second time serving as McDowell Tech’s interim president. He last served in the role from July to December, 2020, following the departure of the college’s former president, Dr. John Gossett, who had been named president at AB Tech in Asheville.

Ryan Garrison

Garrison is currently Senior Vice-President of Finance and Administration at McDowell Tech. He served as Vice-President at the college since 2008 and was recently named Senior Vice-President following an organizational restructuring approved by the Board of Trustees last week.

Garrison is a 1996 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. He also received a B.S.B.A in Accounting from Appalachian State University in 1999 and a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration in 2008.

Garrison has indicated that he will not be a candidate for the permanent position as president. Once a new president takes helm at the college, Garrison will return to his full-time role as Senior Vice-President for Finance and Administration. 

The Board of Trustees anticipates approval of a consulting firm to help facilitate the presidential search process during its regular meeting on September 14.

“We have a great leadership team at the college and Mr. Garrison is a proven, trusted, and effective leader,” said Dr. Merritt, the MTCC President. “I am confident that the growth and progress we have made toward our workforce development goals over the last couple of years will continue uninterrupted and our students and the community won’t notice a change, except for having a taller, bow-tie wearing, interim president. I wish Garrison and the college continued success during this transition.”

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