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LBWCC-Greenville officially welcomes Riedel

A new era at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College was celebrated on Friday morning as a number of local citizens and civic leaders turned out to give a warm welcome to LBWCC’s new president, Dr. Herbert H.J. Riedel and his wife, Lisa.

View photos from the event HERE.

Jeddo Bell, a member of the presidential search committee, introduced Riedel, the father of two sons, as a “family-oriented person” who has a PhD in pure mathematics and can speak five languages.

“Dr. Riedel is both a calculator and a communicator, you might say,” Bell said.

“I know he is going to be a great college president who will be able to motivate the community to support him. Once the community is behind you, it is a go.”

Riedel, who has been on the job since early January, has extensive experience on the college level, having worked at three other community colleges, a four-year military school and a major research university.

“I have also worked with the accreditation program and I can tell you – LBWCC is second to none in what it offers as a community college,” Riedel said.

The new president shared some statistics on the importance of community colleges in the U.S., particularly in the wake of the economic downturn.

“Of all the undergraduates in the country, 46 percent attend a community college . . . this is the economical way to get an education,” Riedel said.

He added 95 percent of employers hire graduates of community colleges; 59 percent of all nurses in the nation come from community college programs and 80 percent of the nation’s firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMTs and other healthcare professionals receive their education at a community college.

He also stressed that many well-paying jobs can be obtained with the variety of certificate programs offered through the local community college.

“With the current economic climate, it is more important than ever for us to have people with the right kind of training,” Riedel said.

“The earning potential for community college graduates is 30 percent higher than for those with just a high school diploma – that’s $400,000 over the course of a lifetime.”

Proration has forced budget cuts for LBWCC, with a projected cut of $1.1 million in the current $13 million budget foreseen in the coming year.

While the school is tightening its belt, it is also seeing an increase in the number of students at all its campuses- a common occurrence during economically tough times, Riedel said.

“When the economy is slow and unemployment is up, a lot of people go back to school to get training and education to make them more employable . . . we are not raising our tuition or fees because it is important that we stay as affordable as we can,” the president said.

Riedel said such measures as an energy conservation program; reducing paper use by posting information on the school’s website rather than through handouts; shortening or canceling travel to professional development events; eliminating administrative cell phones and cutting down on athletic expenses through elimination of overnight trips, out-of-state games and having fewer games during the season will all help the school be better stewards.

“We will have to reduce institutional fee and tuition waivers by 10 percent. That is why private giving is still so very important to us. We don’t want to deny anyone the chance to get an education if possible,” Riedel said.