Come late March Chipola College will be without a leader. The current president announced his retirement Tuesday evening and for the first time in over twenty years, Chipola College is preparing for a future without him. After going to Chipola College as a student in 1968, Dr. Gene Prough returned to the campus to finish his career. In 2002 he became president and now he is moving on.
In a statement read to the Chipola College Board of Trustees, Dr. Prough addressed his retirement, "It is with great excitement and sadness that I announcement my retirement effective March 31st, 2014. Thank you for helping me and making a difference in the lives of our people through education." Dr. Prough has made many changes to Chipola college in his years serving the institution. Dr. Prough, "We have programs where you can get a job and move on and the opportunity is the biggest thing i wanted to give back to the college." During his time on campus, Prough has taken the school from a community college to a state college offering bachelor degrees for a variety courses.
Chipola College was the second community college in the state of Florida to offer bachelor degrees.
He also aided the growth of the Health Science Programs, "We had 24 positions in our nursing program and of course we had an RN program and then we moved now into a four year BSN. We can take over 100 students a year just in our nursing program." Take a stroll down Prough Drive and discover the Chipola Center for Arts. Lights over look 655 seats in the state of the art theater, used by both the college and community. According to Prough the building took seven years to generate funding for the 16 million dollar project. In addition to adding five new buildings to the campus 19 acres were added in the last 20 years. Now the campus totals over 135 acres in Marianna.
According to Dr. Prough, he may be leaving the campus in a few months but the college is expected to continue on a bright path he has helped pave, "As I leave Chipola College I'm so incredibly honored to know that the best is yet to come. It's only going to get better and better."
Chipola College Board of Trustees made a four person committee to look for Prough's replacement within the current staff. The committee will reconvene in December to assess their options.