Nettles to retire
After over 33 years in education, Co-Lin President Dr. Ronnie Nettles announced his retirement effective June 30, 2018. The announcement came at the monthly Board of Trustees meeting.
“I believe that our success as a college is because of the strong administrative team that has stood with me throughout my years as President,” said Nettles. “They have worked tirelessly with our employees to help our college achieve national rankings in student completion rates, minority graduation rates, and veteran’s services.”
Nettles, who has spent the last 10 years as president of the college, served as the Director of the Community and Economic Development on the Wesson Campus from 1994-1997. When Dr. Howell Garner became president in 1997, he moved to Natchez to serve as the Dean of the Natchez Campus. Nettles moved back to the Wesson Campus as Executive Vice President from 2004-2008.
During his tenure as president, Co-Lin has seen growth in enrollment to an all-time high, increase in the Co-Lin Foundation’s endowment to double to over $8 million, instituted new instructional programs and services that have increased student graduation rates, and construction of new buildings and other renovations on all three campuses.
Construction of six new buildings including the Alton Greenlee Pro Shop (2010), Howell C. Garner Instructional Building (2011), Eugene Bates Men’s Residence Hall (2012), Stone Stadium Press Box (2014), Early Childhood Education Building (2015), and the New Women’s Residence Hall (to be completed in 2018).
Renovation and repair projects including lighting on the softball and soccer fields (2009), Mullen Gymnasium (2011), Henley Cafeteria (2012), softball/soccer restrooms and concession stand (2012), Pitts Field House (2012), softball bleachers (2013), new hitting facility at baseball field (2013), visitors restrooms at Stone Stadium (2013), Anderson Building, Smith Hall Chemistry Lab, Ewing Fine Arts Auditorium (2014), Ellzey Hall (2016), Diesel Mechanics Classroom (2016), Callendar Hall (2017), new hitting facility at softball field (2017), energy/mechanical projects totaling over $2.9 million, roofing projects over $1.5 million, and two new parking lots and paving projects.
Co-Lin’s latest building project is the new women’s honors residence hall on the Wesson Campus. This $5.5 million project will open in the fall of 2018, will house 28 double bedrooms (for 56 students), a study area, laundry room, and an elevator. It will have a similar floor plan as Bates Hall, the men’s honors residence hall that was built in 2012. Each room is provided with a private bath, single beds and mattresses, armoire/dresser, desk, and chair. In addition, the rooms will have Internet and cable access. Students living in this honors residence hall must have above a 21 or above on the ACT and maintain a 3.0 grade point average.
“The accomplishments are a reflection of the work of an outstanding faculty and staff,” Nettles said. “They have been and continue to be the heart of this institution and have made Co-Lin one of the best community colleges in the nation.”
During his tenure as president, Co-Lin has been recognized on a national and statewide level. Co-Lin has been recognized by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program for two consecutive times, Great Colleges To Work For by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Purple Heart College, Military Friendly Award (No. 3), Best Colleges in Mississippi, and are currently working to have the first ACT Work Ready Region in the state.
He currently serves as President of the Southern Association of Colleges with Associate Degrees, President of the Mississippi Community College Presidents Association, Secretary on the Mississippi Commission of College Accreditation, and has served as past president of the Mississippi Association of Colleges (MAC) and past president of the Copiah County Economic Development District.
Nettles is a member of numerous professional organizations and civic clubs including the Mississippi Humanities Council, Wesson Lions Club, Wesson Chamber of Commerce, and is a charter member of the Brookhaven Rotary Club.
He has received the National Institute for Organizations Development Excellence Award, Co-Lin’s Howell C. Garner High Performance Award, Phi Theta Kappa’s Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction, and was a member of Mississippi Economic Council’s Leadership Mississippi Class. He also received the Ann Bradberry Award, which is presented by the Co-Lin Trailblazers to a faculty, staff, or administrator of the college who the students feel has made an extra effort to assist students.
A graduate of Trinity Episcopal Day School in Natchez, Nettles received his bachelor of science degree in political science and a master of education degree in counseling and personnel services from the University of Southern Mississippi. He received his PhD. From the University of Mississippi in educational leadership.
Nettles and his wife, Rosie, were inducted into the Co-Lin Foundation Hall of Fame in 2016. They are parents of two children, a daughter, Jordan and a son, Brandon. They are members of St. Francis Church in Brookhaven.