Wayne Community College’s president announced his resignation today.
Dr. Thomas A. Walker Jr. has accepted the position of Senior Advisor for Economic Development and Military Affairs for The University of North Carolina System.
In addition to the duties implied by the title, he will be the liaison between the university system and the North Carolina Community College System.
“We wish Dr. Walker the very best in his new position with The University of North Carolina System,” said WCC Board of Trustees Chair Donnie Barnes. “While Wayne Community College greatly regrets seeing him leave, we are pleased that he will become a vital part of the best state university system in the United States. Wayne County can now share him with all of the state of North Carolina.”
His last day at WCC will be July 23.
“I won’t be a lame-duck president,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to do before I go.” One project he wants to focus on in his remaining time is the creation of the CITE (Center for Industrial Technology and Engineering). He also wants to help get college enrollment back to its pre-COVID-19 levels and growing again.
“Dr. Walker’s leadership over the past five years have been instrumental in moving Wayne Community College forward. The addition of degree and certificate programs, construction of the automotive and collision repair center, the progress towards building a Center for Industrial Technology and Engineering, and the significant increase both in statewide and national recognition for Wayne Community College’s accomplishments are all evidence of what a tremendous leader he has been,” said Barnes.
“There is not a Board of Trustees member who has worked with Dr. Walker who would not tell you his strongest quality is her character. He has led us with honesty and integrity and has been a friend to each of us. He will be greatly missed,” Barnes said.
“This is the best faculty and staff I’ve worked with in 30 years,” Walker said of WCC employees. “These past five years have been some of the most professionally and personally rewarding of my life.”
“I thought I would be here for another 10 years,” he said. “It is just an opportunity I can’t turn down.”
Walker also believes that moving to the Triangle area will provide new career options for his wife, Camelia. “She has never complained; she just follows me around,” Walker said. “I’d like for her to spread her wings.”
Walker took the reins at WCC in September 2016. He came to the college from Nebraska where he was the campus president of the Grand Island campus of Central Community College, a position he had held since 2014. Prior to that, he was the vice-president for student and enrollment services for all locations of the college, which serves 25 counties. He has also worked in higher education in Missouri, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
In taking the position at UNC, Walker is returning to his alma mater. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His graduate degrees include a master of public administration and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Memphis.