Dr. Glen Fenter
Dr. Glen Fenter, a native of Charleston, Ark., has served as president of Mid-South Community College since its inception in 1992. A graduate of Hendrix College with an Ed. D. from the University of Arkansas, Dr. Fenter first accepted the leadership of Mid-South Technical College and the challenge of guiding the community through a successful millage election in 1993 to secure local funding for a community college. He then worked with architects and board members to develop a master plan for campus expansion that has included more than $100 million in renovation, new construction and equipment focused on providing a breadth of higher learning for a community previously without such opportunities.
Fenter also implemented the MSCC Foundation Capital Campaign that has generated $3.5 million in gifts and pledges for the college to date. He has also worked with local philanthropist Thomas B. Goldsby Jr. to develop and sustain an endowment scholarship program designed to improve the college matriculation rate in Crittenden County by encouraging high school students to take college classes for concurrent credit. To date, this program has afforded students the opportunity to attain more than 15,000 credit hours and, in the process, saved parents an estimated $12.5 million. In 1997, he secured an $8 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to assist in the construction of a $12 million student support center designed to promote academic success for an undereducated, economically challenged citizenry.
Dr. Fenter’s vision of higher education is that of a catalyst for economic development – a commitment which has driven every major initiative in the college’s development. In the spring of 2005, Dr. Fenter worked with presidents of the other four community colleges in eastern Arkansas to create the Arkansas Delta Training and Education Consortium (ADTEC), which provides a comprehensive, regional approach to meeting current and future educational and training requirements through the creation of career pathways that begin with secondary education and extend through the provision of economically targeted baccalaureate degrees with multiple stop-out and entry points.
ADTEC has received national recognition for its workforce education model five times in seven years. Honors include Southern Business & Development magazine’s “Ten Outstanding Southern Community Colleges for Workforce Training,” the Bellwether Award in Workforce Development, the U.S. Department of Labor Recognition of Excellence Award, the Southern Growth Policies Board Innovator Award, and recognition as a national model in a Workforce Strategy Center report underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Under Fenter’s leadership, ADTEC has secured more than $66 million in mostly federal investments, starting in November 2005 with a $5.9 million Department of Labor Advanced Manufacturing grant. In support of regional workforce development, the Department of Labor awarded an additional $5.1 million in March 2006, designating eastern Arkansas as a U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Region. A year later, he successfully lobbied the Arkansas General Assembly for $2 million annually to create a regional university center to be housed on the MSCC campus. In 2009, Dr. Fenter was again successful in obtaining $2 million in state funding and $1.875 million in federal recovery funds to sustain ADTEC and the ADTEC University Center model.
MSCC has been awarded more than $81 million in institutional grants to date, including a $3.3 million Department of Labor grant in March 2010 to support creation of an aviation technician training program in partnership with FedEx Express. Other awards include four U.S. Department of Education Title III grants and three National Science Foundation grants, providing more than $11.5 million in seed money to create new programs targeting viable career opportunities in manufacturing, allied health, diesel technology and transportation technology and providing support for at-risk populations place-bound by financial and family responsibilities.
Dr. Fenter has spearheaded numerous innovative training and regional economic development efforts, and the opening of the Marion Berry Renewable Energy Center provides the region with significant capacity to train workers for the growing and evolving renewable energy and transportation industries. This facility supports the production of biofuels and other bioproducts, analyses of these products, and research on their effects on full-scale transportation equipment such as large class-8 trucks and agricultural equipment. The facility also houses an education pathway in diesel/biodiesel technology that includes high school concurrent-credit programs that articulate with community college certificates and degrees that articulate with baccalaureate degrees – all under one roof!
In 2013, Dr. Fenter earned recognition from Southern Business & Development magazine as one of “Ten People Who Made a Difference in the South.” In 2012, Dr. Fenter made a presentation at the 2nd National Summit on the Role of Education in Economic Development in Rural America in Washington, D.C. Two years earlier, he traveled to Washington to discuss strategies for strengthening America’s workforce at the invitation of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada) and Senators Debbie Stabenow (Michigan) and Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas). MSCC was the only higher education institution invited to participate.
In 2009 MSCC’s president accepted an invitation to serve on the Manufacturing Institute’s Education Council. As an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, the institute is the preeminent body that supports strategic activities to provide a skilled workforce for the nation’s manufacturers. Twice a year Dr. Fenter joins other education leaders from across the nation in Washington DC to assist the institute in planning and implementation of national strategies that support workforce development. In April 2011, MSCC and the Manufacturing Institute entered into a partnership to facilitate deployment of the National Association of Manufacturers-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System in Arkansas.
Dr. Fenter has served as chair of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges and as co-chair of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board Executive Council. Active in local service and leadership organizations, he has been named a West Memphis Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow and Citizen of the Year by the West Memphis Chamber of Commerce.
MSCC’s president is married to the former Jo Ellen Price of Elkins who serves as the physical education coordinator for the West Memphis School District. The Fenters have four children: Jerry, a physical therapist, his wife Sara, and grandchildren Isabelle “Izzy” Kate and Beau Franklin Fenter; Zackary, a physical therapy assistant; Shelby Jo, a graduate student, and Gray, a senior at West Memphis High School.