BRYAN/COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Richard Rhodes, interim president at Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen, has been named Austinite of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce for his work leading to the explosive growth of the Austin Community College District. Rhodes was ACC’s longest serving chancellor before retiring this summer and being named interim president of Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
Under Rhodes’ leadership, ACC redefined what collaboration looks like in higher education as the college established partnerships with companies such as Tesla, Samsung Austin Semiconductor, NXP, Apple, St. David’s HealthCare, Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White and more, the Austin Chamber of Commerce said.
“We 100 percent agree with the Austin Chamber’s assessment of both Richard Rhodes and the impact he has made on the region by making high-quality, low-cost education available to anyone who wants it,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “That’s why we think he’s the perfect person to lead the transformation of A&M-Central Texas in Killeen to best serve that rapidly growing area better.”
Under Rhodes’ leadership, ACC grew to 11 campuses, created new learning spaces for the community and passed two general obligation bonds totaling approximately $1 billion. This expansion included the redevelopment of the former Highland Mall into an advanced and state-of-the-art college campus with three business incubators, performing arts spaces, simulation centers and more.
“The Austin region has flourished into one of the most desirable places to live, work and thrive in the country, and it’s because of community leaders like Richard Rhodes,” said Ali Khataw, 2023 Austin Chamber board chair. “His dedication to serving his community is immeasurable, and his leadership at ACC was inspiring. He spearheaded numerous community partnerships that propelled ACC to be a model for community colleges across the nation and cultivated an institution that reinforces that higher education is accessible for everyone who wants to pursue it. I can’t imagine a more deserving Austinite of the Year for 2023.”
Rhodes will be honored Feb. 13 at the Austin Chamber of Commerce’s “Cheers to the Year” event.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $7.8 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 153,000 students and makes more than 23 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy.
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