New Grayson College president settles into routine

New Grayson College President Dr. Jeremy McMillen said he is excited about the upcoming fall semester and the chance to meet even more GC students and faculty. He became the college’s fifth president when the GC Board of Trustees chose him for the position earlier this summer.

McMillen has been on campus for a little more than two weeks and said he is enjoying meeting students and instructors as he makes his way around the campus. He expects that will pick up when the new semester starts.

Until then, the Bonham native and former associate president for academic affairs at Trinity Valley Community College (in Athens), is keeping busy working on the college’s budget along with the help of the college’s administrative staff.

“It is a different view of the world and a different pace, but I am enjoying it. I am acclimating to it very well,” McMillen said in his office at the college.

He said there are certainly some differences between his last job and this one. For one thing, he said, he has been concentrating on what is happening with the college’s budget at the state level. “We are going to have some adjustments to that, based on some re allocations that happened mid year this year that didn’t happen in years past. We are going to get less money.”

“We are trying to look at those things and build a budget so that we can remain a strong college,” he said. “I think the team has already done a good job at doing their work to set us in place to do that. I think as far as the budget, we have those concerns. We try to plan for those complexities and do the best we can and spend the tax payer’s money wisely.”

McMillen said one of the fun things about his new job is getting to look at the possibility of helping GC grow in ways that are needed to meet the needs of the community. A few years ago, GC received a grant for $2 million to help the college build a campus in Fannin County. The Fannin County voters rejected the idea of that campus. Now the college would like to spend that money to add on to the campus in Van Alstyne. McMillen said that is looking like it might work out, and there is still some discussion about what classes are needed to meet the students’ needs. There is still some work be done to find out if GC can use those funds in that way, but they are sorting that out.

There are some new programs on the main campus, including the culinary arts program which is continuing to fill its class size. “It seems like that is going well,” he said, indicating that the program has even offered some fun-ed type of classes this summer.

“This is the community’s campus, and we want them to be able to be here,” McMillen said.

There are, he said, a number of those types of classes on campus as well as classes to help meet workplace needs for local businesses.

He said he plans on being accessible to students, faculty and staff and trying to have open conversations about “what we are doing here at the college, what ways we are changing and what ways we could further that change.”

McMillen said, “This is a new phase in the life of the college, and it is an opportunity to celebrate the college and not me personally.”