From left: Dr. Greg Powell and Rotary President Hollie Adams
March 12, 2019 - Dr. Greg Powell, Panola College President, spoke at the Center Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 about the college which has an enrollment of around 2,800 students.
"Nineteen years ago we had 1,400 students. So, we have just about doubled. 68% of our students are female and the average age is 22. And I will tell you for the first time, at least in the past 19 years, the plurality of our students come from Shelby County. It has always been Panola County but this year 26% of our students come from Shelby County, 23% from Panola, Harrison 15%, Rusk 9%, Nacogdoches 5% and it goes down from there. Last year about 54% of our students were in one of our technical program and we saw a pretty big shift this year. This year its 53% are in our academic transfer programs and they intend on earning a four-year degree," explained Dr. Powell.
"Panola College has been a leader in online learning and distance learning for a number of years, at least for the past decade. It surprises me that we have 349 separate distinct courses that are available online and 75% of our students take at least one online class. I think we have 7 full degrees that are available online.
"We have rolled out about 1,800 students in our workforce and continuing ed. I know that we have done a number of projects with companies here in Shelby County whether it is General Shelters, or Tyson, or Portacool."
Dr. Powell addressed the increase in tuition which is directly influenced by the decrease in money from the state which is around 18%. In relation to the number of Shelby County students attending Panola College, Dr. Powell said, "During this year 2018-2019, Shelby County students received Panola College scholarships, I'm not talking about the generous scholarships from Shelby County like Bone Hill and others, I'm talking about Panola College itself awarded $332,708 to 363 students from Shelby County."
"We really do value and appreciate the partnership Panola College has with Shelby County whether its the facilities or the Bone Hill contributions among others. And I think it has allowed us to do so much more here than any other county," stated Dr. Powell. He spoke about the improvements which have been recently made at the Shelby County Panola College site.
Currently the college is going through their Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaffirmation. He spoke about intercollegiate athletics and the successes are having this year highlighting the Rodeo Team. He highlighted new construction including the new student center and new health and natural sciences building. He mentioned renovation of the library several years back which students are greatly utilizing for its study rooms. New potential projects mentioned included the music department and technology department.