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Wright saluted at retirement celebration

Retiring Wilson Community College President Tim Wright, left, accepts an honorary degree from Charlie Pat Farris, chairman of the Wilson Community College Board of Trustees, on Thursday. Drew C. Wilson | Times

Wilson Community College’s outgoing president said Thursday that he feels good about the college’s position on his departure and is “gratified and satisfied.”

Tim Wright has led the community college for the last eight years and has seen it grow under his leadership.

Wright was given a retirement celebration at the Frank L. Eagles Community Business Center by 75 friends and supporters of the college.

“It’s been great to work here for eight years with so many great people here at the college and, of course, many folks around town too,” Wright said. “There is always a sadness leaving those people that you have worked closely with for a long time, and I certainly feel that. At the same time, I am really happy about the work that we have been able to do together. I feel good about the position that the college and Wilson itself are in now. I feel very positive about that, and so I’m gratified and satisfied.”

During Wright’s tenure, the college added the Lee Technology Center near its main campus at Herring Avenue and Ward Boulevard.

“I am very happy about that being finished or close to finished at this point,” Wright said. “I am happy about some of the things that we have been able to do at the college with some of our local K-12 folks to have the WECA high school on campus and the WAAT school was new while I was here, and Sallie B. Howard added their new high school while I was here, so it has been really great to be part of the team that worked those into the college to give those young people the opportunity to get their degrees.”

Wright said he and his wife, Patricia, plan to take it easy and are considering a move to the American Southwest “to get a little warm weather and sunshine.”

Wright’s official last day is May 31. The new president, Jami Woods, formerly vice president of instruction and student services at Roanoke-Chowan Community College, will begin her new position June 1.

“They have met several times and talked for hours on end,” said Jessica Griffin, director of institutional advancement at Wilson Community College. 

Woods has visited the campus several times and met with staff and several folks just to get the lay of the land, Griffin said.

Griffin said Wright “has been incredible to work for.”

“It is going to be very emotional in the next few weeks when he is officially gone and off into the sunset,” Griffin said. “He has been very supportive of everyone here.”

Griffin said one thing that is unique about Wright is that he took it upon himself to remember names. 

“He knew all the staff by first name. He knew all the faculty by first name,” Griffin said. “He did a lot for this college, and I am sure that we will see the fruits of his labor for years to come.”

Charlie Pat Farris, chairman of the WCC Board of Trustees, said working with Wright has been pleasant. 

“It has been a good association between him and me and the board. We’ve had our ideas. He has had own ideas. We try to go down the middle of issues for the school, and I feel like our new president, Jami Woods, is going to go along with whatever the board is wanting to do when we all get together for her first meeting,” Farris said.

Amy Noel, vice president of student development at the college, said Wright’s approach to decision-making was noteworthy.

“He has always taught us to look at things from all different perspectives, to take as many different things into account as necessary,” Noel said. “He knows the value and importance of having everyone at the table because he knows that we all have a piece of the puzzle and a part of the picture, and we won’t see what that complete picture is unless we all work together. And he has empowered us and allowed us to do that to the benefit of this great institution.”