Dr. Gregory D. Williams serves as president of Odessa College, a position he has held since January 2007. Accepting that post was a true homecoming for Dr. Williams, who began his journey in higher education as a student at Odessa College in 1983.
Before earning his doctorate in higher education administration from Baylor University, Dr. Williams’ educational journey also included the completion of three degrees from the University of Texas Permian Basin: first, a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a certification to teach psychology, history, and learning disabled students, followed by two master’s degrees, in education mid-management and in psychology, respectively.
Since Dr. Williams’ return, Odessa College has experienced nothing less than a major transformation. Solid community support and a successful bond election in 2010 allowed OC to launch and complete “Vision 2015”, a $78 million, campus-wide new building and renovation program. During that same period, Dr. Williams initiated several other innovative programs designed to enhance both community and student engagement with the college. His long-standing personal dedication to the health and fitness lifestyle led to the launch of the very successful “30 for 30 Fitness Challenge”, which takes place annually during the month of September, and promotes both school- and community-wide participation in health and fitness activities for that entire month. Drawing once again upon outstanding community support, Dr. Williams also initiated the “Drive to Success®” program at Odessa College. Made possible by the unfaltering support of several major community partners, “Drive to Success®” is now entering its 11th consecutive year. Operating solely on funds generated by sponsor donations, DTS encourages and fosters engagement and participation in success-driven activities by enabling students to accumulate “points” toward earning a new car – specifically a new Ford Mustang.
Further, Dr. Williams has led the OC team in breaking every major enrollment record, student retention record, student success record, and fund-raising record previously held by the college. His leadership has set OC on the path to becoming the best community college in the nation. In 2018, Odessa College was awarded Achieving the Dream’s Leah Meyer Austin Award. In 2017, and again for 2019, Odessa College was named an Aspen Institute Top 10 Community College. OC went on to win the 2017 Rising Star Award for Community College Excellence from the Aspen Institute, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 2017 Star Award for the program presentation Eight Week Terms: A Pathway to 60x30TX. In February of 2016, OC also was named the first AVID demonstration site in higher education in the U.S. This remarkable list of achievements during Dr. Williams’ tenure has not escaped notice by the press, either. Odessa College has attracted national media attention, with reports and articles regarding OC’s path to excellence appearing in U.S. News and World Reports, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, University Business, and several other print or online media.