The American Association of Community Colleges announced the 2024 Awards of Excellence finalists. Dr. Paul Illich, Southeast Community College (, SCC) 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, who holds both a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Texas A&M University in College Station, was named SCC president on July 1, 2014. 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.

“Dr. Illich has worked tirelessly to develop and execute SCC’s first Strategic Plan,” said Neal Stenberg, former chair of the SCC Board of Governors. “Within SCC’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.”

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. SCC hosted a team of six trained peer reviewers April 24-25, 2023.

“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,” said Illich.

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