Students succeed highlight for Sutphin

Of all the accomplishments during Dr. Phil A. Sutphin’s 12-year tenure as East Central Community College’s seventh president, his fondest memory is a simple one: watching students graduate. “Whether it is a Commencement in May, a GED Graduation Ceremony or a healthcare pinning, the joy and sense of accomplishment is evident on all faces – students, families and faculty,” said Dr. Sutphin. “After all, is that not the College’s mission?” Dr. Sutphin, who announced his retirement plans at the Nov. 2011 meeting of the College’s Board of Trustees, will have completed 42 years in education when he officially steps down on June 30, 2012. A reception in recognition of his service to ECCC and the field of education will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 6, 2012, in the Associate Degree Nursing/Child Development Technology Building on ECCC’s campus in Decatur, which was named in his honor at the April 10, 2012, meeting of College’s Board of Trustees. After a rewarding career, Dr. Sutphin said it’s time for change. “I have been employed in education since 1970 and have had a wonderful career,” said the Mathiston native. “However, 42 years is enough. Significant change has occurred during my time in education and I have been fortunate to be a part of that change. Now it is time to do some of the things I have not been able to do because of a lack of time and resources.” In reflecting on his accomplishments as president, Dr. Sutphin said two things come immediately to mind, as he explained: “The College is financially sound and the physical appearance of the campus has changed. Financially, the College has weathered the worst financial environment since the Great Depression and yet EC has continued to grow and provide quality service. Physically, new facilities and additions to the grounds have made the campus more aesthetically pleasing and student friendly.” Dr. Sutphin’s accomplishments as EC’s leader are numerous. In the area of instruction, new computer/technology upgrades were implemented; online instruction was made available through the Mississippi Virtual Community College; and new healthcare education programs (Surgical Technology and EMT-Paramedic Technology) as well as Hotel and Restaurant Management Technology and Culinary Arts Technology were added to the curriculum. Culinary classes recently moved from the maintenance facility to its new location in the Rives Building on South campus. In looking toward retirement, Dr. Sutphin said he anticipates “learning about the world and all of the many unique cultures that express who we are as humans.”

He and his wife, Peggy, who is also retiring as a longtime educator, have already planned travels to various interesting places around the world.

And where does he see himself in 10 years?

“Still looking for interesting places to go,” he remarked with a smile.

Prior to joining the ECCC family in 1988, Dr. Sutphin was employed at Concord College in Athens, West Virginia, where he served as assistant to the president and assistant director of student affairs for financial aid.

He is a graduate of Wood College; Mississippi State University- Starkville, where he received bachelor and master’s degrees; and the University of Memphis, where he earned his doctorate.

Dr. Sutphin and Peggy have two sons, Brad and Brent and daughter-in- law Mandie.