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Hill, 2-year chancellor, visits LBWCC campuses

Believe it or not, the two-year college system is all about economic development, Chancellor Frieda Hill said Monday.

Hill, who toured Lurleen B. Wallace Community College campuses in Andalusia, Opp and Luverne Monday, is currently serving as chancellor the state’s two-year college system. She has committed to visiting all of the 90-plus locations of two-year colleges statewide.

“Everything we do is about economic development,” Hill said as she addressed the faculty and staff on the Andalusia LBWCC campus. “If a student comes here and takes an economics class or a nurse’s boss says, ‘If you go get this, you can do that;’ or you have someone taking a few classes or getting a certificate or an associates degree, that means (at the college level) we are doing work force and economic development. We are giving people the skills and education they need to better themselves, and in turn, in their community.”

Hill complimented the school on its level of community support and dedication.

“You are some of the most dedicated people around,” Hill said. “And in these times of proration, that’s important. Right now, we’ve ended the year with another 2 percent proration. That’s money not spent on other projects.

“We’ve heard that this year there’s going to be more proration anywhere from 2 to 7 percent,” she said. “Enrollment is up, but we have a decreased budget. I think our (two-year college presidents) presidents have done a great job in preparing for that.

“I think that people realize what a great value (education at the two-year college level is),” she said. “We want to see that huge number of enrollment.”

When questioned, Hill said she doesn’t expect to see additional stimulus funds to help cover the costs of proration.

“Our colleges are very aggressive with grants,” she said. “I think we’re going to have to look at every additional way we can to bring in revenue. We are going to try to accommodate every student that comes through that door (to fund their college education).

“That’s an awesome responsibility, but I’m proud that we can do it,” she said. “We are about student success. That’s where our focus is.”