Dr. Gregory D. Williams serves as president of Odessa College, a position he has held since January 2007. Accepting that post was a true homecoming for Dr. Williams, who began his journey in higher education as a student at Odessa College in 1983.
Before earning his doctorate in higher education administration from Baylor University, Dr. Williams’ educational journey also included the completion of three degrees from the University of Texas Permian Basin: first, a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a certification to teach psychology, history, and learning-disabled students, followed by two master’s degrees, in education mid-management and in psychology, respectively.
Since Dr. Williams’ return, Odessa College has experienced nothing less than a major transformation. Solid community support and a successful bond election in 2010 allowed OC to launch and complete “Vision 2015”, a $78 million, campus-wide new building and renovation program. During that same period, Dr. Williams initiated several other innovative programs designed to enhance both community and student engagement with the college. His long-standing personal dedication to the health and fitness lifestyle led to the launch of the very successful “30 for 30 Fitness Challenge”, which takes place annually during the month of September, and promotes both school- and community-wide participation in health and fitness activities for that entire month. Drawing once again upon outstanding community support, Dr. Williams also initiated the “Drive to Success®” program at Odessa College. Made possible by the unfaltering support of several major community partners, “Drive to Success®” is now entering its 10th consecutive year. Operating solely on funds generated by sponsor donations, DTS is the only program in the nation that encourages and fosters engagement and participation in success-driven activities by enabling students to accumulate “points” toward earning a new car – specifically a new Ford Mustang.
Further, Dr. Williams has led the OC team in breaking every major enrollment record, student retention record, student success record, and fund-raising record previously held by the college. His leadership has set OC on the path to becoming the best community college in the nation. In 2017 alone, Odessa College was first named an Aspen Institute Top 10 Community College, then went on to win the 2017 Rising Star Award for Community College Excellence from the Aspen Institute, and finally, won the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 2017 Star Award for the program presentation Eight Week Terms: A Pathway to 60x30TX. In February of 2016, OC also was named the first AVID demonstration site in higher education in the U.S. This remarkable list of achievements during Dr. Williams’ tenure has not escaped notice by the press, either. Odessa College has attracted national media attention, with reports and articles regarding OC’s path to excellence appearing in U.S. News and World Reports, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, University Business, and several other print or online media.
On the local level, Dr. Williams currently serves or has recently served on the ECISD Education Foundation Board, Prosperity Bank’s Advisory Board, the Permian Basin Workforce Development Board, and Odessa’s Comprehensive Master Plan Advisory Committee.
On the state level, he serves or has recently served as Chair of the Texas Association of Community Colleges, and on the TACC Executive Committee, TACC Rural College Committee, and TACC Rural College Transfer Sub-Committee. He is a former member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Formula Funding Committee, Community College Advisory Group, P-16, and the Academic Achievement Distinction Committee.
On the national level, he recently served on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Board of Directors and Executive Board. He also served as Chair of AACC’s Committee on Community College Advancement and on the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges’ Developmental Education Redesign Committee. Additionally, he serves on the Aspen Institute Change Management Task Force and the JFF Policy Leadership Trust for Student Success. Most recently, Dr. Williams’ appointment to the Achieving the Dream Board of Directors was affirmed by the ATD board and will become effective January 2018. He will serve on the Achieving the Dream Board of Directors for a period of three years.
Dr. Williams and his wife, Karen, have two sons, Kiaran and Gregory, and one daughter, Kara, who also is a graduate of Odessa College – notably as one of the first Dual Credit students to earn an Associate Degree from OC before graduating from high school.