‘Pathways to greatness’: FDTC picks new president
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
Starting in October, Florence-Darlington Technical College will have its first permanent president in three years and its first African-American president ever. After two weeks of intermittent executive sessions to discuss the candidates, the board that governs FDTC on Aug. 11 chose Dr. Jermaine Ford of Louisiana to run the technical college. “Dr. Ford has worked his way up the ranks through extensive education and work experience to prepare himself for this next chapter in his life,” said Paul Seward, chairman of FDTC’s Area Commission. “He brings a unique skill set based on his 26 years of experience between the private sector and higher education. Dr. Ford brings a high energy and collaborative leadership style, which was on full display during the interview process.” Ford officially becomes president Oct. 4. FDTC has been without a permanent president since 2018, when then-president Ben Dillard retired during a period of financial issues and problems affecting the college. Since then, FDTC official Ed Bethea has served as interim president, but he is now retiring. Ford said in a statement: “As a first-generation college student and advocate of underserved populations, this is a dream come true.” “I have dedicated my career to transforming lives and offering pathways to greatness through education,” he said. “I would like to personally thank the Florence-Darlington County Commission for understanding my passion and drive for higher education.” “I look forward to working with Florence-Darlington Technical College’s faculty, staff and students to bring growth, excellence and innovation. I take great pride in our technical college mission, and I am inspired to lead the charge for student success. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and find it a blessing to serve.” Ford previously served as Vice President for Workforce & Economic Development at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette, La. While in that job, Ford increased enrollment by more than 250 percent, created the college’s first Center for Professional Development for faculty and staff development and increased unrestricted revenue by more than $30 million. Ford holds an associate’s degree from Moraine Valley Community College, a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University, an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a doctoral degree from Grand Canyon University. He has been married for 22 years to Professor Khalilah Ford. They have two daughters, Kailynn and Kaci. FDTC spokesman Clay Williams said he did not yet know what Ford’s salary will be.