PENDLETON --- There is a reason Tri-County Technical College continues to lead the S.C. Technical College System in student success, graduation and transfer rates. President Ronnie L. Booth told a crowd of community partners at the College's Annual Report Luncheon.

"We do the right things right, and we have the unparalleled support of partners like each of you, who play an important role in  helping us to create solid pathways to student success at Tri-County Technical College," said Dr. Booth.

"It is the partnerships and pathways that you have helped us to create that make our students' educational experiences so successful.  We like to share student success stories in our Annual Report publication -- but the proof is also in the numbers," he said.

"We have the highest student success rate among all sixteen technical and community colleges in the state.  We are ranked in the top five percent nationally for successful transfer to four-year colleges and universities.  Ninety-nine percent of employers are highly satisfied with the preparation our graduates receive.  We exceed all state academic benchmarks and performance standards. We are proud of these achievements, and we are on the right path," he said.

Dr. Booth said the signs of successful partnerships are in the highly-successful Bridge to Clemson program, a partnership between Tri-County Technical College and Clemson University that creates a pathway to transfer to Clemson; the Connect to College program, a much needed option for students who need an alternative to traditional high school; and the fast-growing Technical Career Pathways program that allows high school students to get a head start in preparing for high-tech jobs in advanced manufacturing.

The College is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Bridge to Clemson program, which has achieved a national reputation for excellence and is a role model to other colleges and universities.  Last year's Bridge to Clemson class achieved the highest success rate in the program's history. 82 percent of the students were eligible to transfer to Clemson.

Dr. Booth said the College continues to build on the success of its Technical Career Pathways programs that were funded by the State Legislature.  Pathways are in place in all seven school districts.

Looking ahead, the College has two major capital projects underway that support student success and economic development, said Dr. Booth.

The partnership with Oconee County and the School District of Oconee County will create a one-of-a-kind Workforce Development Center at the Industry and Technology Park, he said. The Center will co-locate an Oconee Campus of Tri-County and a new Career Center for high school students.  "We have the opportunity to become a national model through this partnership," he added. The groundbreaking is set to take place this spring.

Earlier this fall, the College broke ground on the Student Success Center on the Pendleton Campus. This 75,000 square-foot building will house a learning commons to include library collections, flexible meeting spaces for students, computer labs, study areas, and tutoring spaces, as well as student development offices, IT services and more. In addition to a new building, the project includes a complete refurbishment of Ruby Hicks Hall to house to house TC Central, a one-stop enrollment center, curriculum and academic support services, administration, and conference/training spaces, as well as the installation of a central chiller plant and energy loop.

"We are privileged and honored to serve our community and thank you for your continued support," he told the audience. "We owe a debt of gratitude to all of you -- our business and industry partners, county councils, legislative delegations, donors, public school officials and friends - for your support.  We all are moving in the right direction and it is remarkable what we can accomplish by working together."