Illich Finalist for AACC Award

The American Association of Community Colleges announced the 2024 Awards of Excellence finalists. Dr. Paul Illich, Southeast Community College president, is a finalist for the Exemplary CEO/Board Relationship Award. Winners will be announced at the Awards of Excellence Gala on April 8 during the AACC Annual Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

Illich was named SCC president on July 1, 2014, after serving as vice president of research, planning and information at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas. He is a visionary leader who believes in data-driven decision making and in the value of creating a culture of opportunity, creativity and intellectual, and personal respect.

One of his first tasks when arriving at SCC was to lead the College in creating its first strategic plan. The 2015-19 Strategic Plan provided a clear direction in the areas of program development, enrollment, student success, financial management, facilities planning, and program and partnership development. In 2016, the College completed its first comprehensive Facilities Master Plan under his guidance.

“Dr. Illich has worked tirelessly to develop and execute the College’s first Strategic Plan, which resulted in dozens of transformational achievements throughout the 15-county service area,” said Neal Stenberg, SCC Board of Governors chair. “Within the College’s first strategic plan, he embedded a goal (Goal 9.6) to maximize a positive and engaging organizational climate by encouraging input, reflective and transparent communication, and compassion and respect toward the views and ideas of others.”

Illich and the Board have worked together to infuse this climate goal and its associated emotional intelligence skills in all aspects of the College’s operations and Board governance. This created a framework for the Board and president to collaborate to ensure the College’s open-access mission is celebrated and at the forefront of institutional decisions.

Most recently under Illich’s leadership, the Higher Learning Commission granted reaffirmation of accreditation to SCC for a 10-year period expiring in July 2033. The College hosted a team of six trained peer reviewers April 24-25, 2023.

“The Reaffirmation of Accreditation through HLC demonstrates the tremendous commitment, effort and openness of our collective pursuit of SCC’s mission, vision and strategic goals and objectives,” said Illich. “It’s quite evident that the visiting team recognized and appreciated our commitment to creating the highest quality student experiences through personal and sincere relationships with engaged and invested faculty, staff and administrators.” 

Illich has a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Texas A&M University in College Station, a Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University in experimental psychology, a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with a computer science minor from Texas State University in San Marcos, and an Associate of Arts degree from Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.

Jennifer Snyder
Communications Specialist