SCC’s Macon campus named after college president Cecil Groves

It’s a first for the president and a first for Macon County.

Southwestern Community College Board of Trustees named the new Macon Campus after the college’s President Cecil Groves, whom they called “the visionary leader” behind the project. The name of the 27,600- square-foot building on Siler Road will be the Cecil L. Groves Center.

It’s the first time Groves has had a building named after him. It’s also the first time Macon County has had its own college campus.

While the building may carry his name, Groves stresses how it belongs to the people of Macon County.

“Macon’s new college is a culmination of a community-based effort to provide the citizens of Macon County with the latest educational opportunities,” said Groves, SCC’s president since 1997.

“We’ve been open the past weeks so folks could drop in and watch us set up all the new furniture and equipment but Monday, Aug. 6, we’ll be officially open for business,” said Groves. “The timing is right since registration for fall semester is Aug. 16. You could be a member of the very first class of Macon County’s first college.”

“Since Dr. Groves has been instrumental in the concept, design and development of the project and it was the board’s feeling that it would not have been accomplished without his vision and leadership, we proposed naming the building after him,” said Conrad Burrell, chairman of the SCC board of trustees. “We are extremely pleased with Dr. Groves’ performance and with his contributions to the college and feel he is extremely deserving of this honor.”

“I think it’s an excellent choice,” said Bob Simpson, Macon County commissioner and SCC trustee. “Dr. Groves is an excellent president and has really spearheaded Macon’s first college.”

Former Macon County Commissioner Jerry Sutton, who has served on SCC’s Board of Trustees for 24 years, including seven terms as chairman, said, “Dr. Groves has added more to Southwestern Community College than anybody I’ve worked with. He is an exceptional educator and a real asset to our community.”

“One of these days Dr. Groves is going to leave and we need to honor him somehow and this seemed like the fitting way,” said Terry Bell, director of auxiliary services for Macon County schools, and SCC trustee for 12 years. “After we announced it at the board of trustees meeting, Dr. Groves called me the next morning and said, ‘I was so surprised that I didn’t understand all of what you said. Did you mean the whole building? I thought you just meant a room.’”

“There was certainly no question who the whole building would be named for,” said SCC trustee Pete Penland. “Dr. Groves is a number one educator and just a number one person, too. He is most deserving and as a trustee and citizen of Macon County I’m honored to name the building after him.”

Groves said the naming of the building for him “came as a big surprise.”

He said it’s not often that he is without words, but the board’s action was one of those times. “The naming of the new facility on the Macon Campus in my honor was certainly an unexpected and much-appreciated recognition,” he said. “It far surpasses any honor I’ve received during my four decades in higher education.”

“Dr. Groves has devoted his life to an unyielding commitment to providing accessible, affordable and quality education,” said Burrell.

Before assuming the position of SCC president, Groves served as chancellor of the Texas State Technical College System, president of Pikes Peak Community College, president of Austin Community College and executive vice president/provost for Delgado College.

Burrell said SCC and the counties it serves are fortunate to have Groves’ knowledge of advanced and emerging technologies.

“We have state-of-the-art fiber optics in the new Macon Campus and it was Dr. Groves who saw to that,” said Burrell. BalsamWest FiberNET’s $16 million high-speed fiber optic network connects the Macon Campus to SCC’s other campuses, area schools and the world beyond.

“While there are many others equally as deserving of such recognition, I do appreciate and accept the recognition on behalf of so many people who worked very, very hard to make Macon County’s first college a reality,” said Groves, who invites the community to come in and experience the new campus.

Fall registration Aug. 16 will be from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. For more information, call 828.369.7331.

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