Message from the Chancellor: Announcing my retirement plan

Dear Riverbats, 

I hope that the first days of your spring semester have been rewarding and encouraging. We are honored you have chosen ACC for your college journey. 

As the new semester begins, I find myself reflecting upon my time here at ACC. Coming to Austin Community College and serving this great community are among my top personal achievements. I am immensely grateful to have served as President/CEO and then as Chancellor for nearly 12 years now. Being a Riverbat is part of who I am. It is what makes this email a bittersweet one to write. 

I want you to know that I will retire as Chancellor later this year. I will be with you through the spring and upcoming summer semesters. August 31, 2023, will be my last day. 

I find myself reflecting upon the incredible moments that have made my time here at ACC so memorable and enjoyable. 

Over the past 12 years, ACC has been recognized in the region, state, and nation for its innovation.

  • We passed two general obligation bonds totaling approximately $1 billion and created new learning spaces for the community, growing to 11 campuses, including the redevelopment of the former Highland Mall into an advanced and state-of-the-art college campus with three business incubators (Bioscience, Fashion, Manufacturing), performing arts spaces, art galleries, simulation centers, a student-run restaurant, and more.
  • We established new ways of teaching and learning through collaborative learning spaces like the ACCelerator — a nationally-recognized learning emporium that delivers personalized learning.
  • We launched three high-demand bachelor’s degree programs to provide students a more affordable pathway to an in-demand skill set in the region.
  • We expanded opportunities to high school students in the service area so that they can earn college credit while still attending high school at little to no cost through dual credit, Early College High Schools, Career Academies, and P-Techs.
  • Our graduation rates climbed and are now ranked as the fastest-growing in the state.
  • We launched our Career Scholars program which covers the cost of tuition and fees at ACC — up to $5,000 over three years.
  • We established partnerships with companies such as Tesla, Samsung, Baylor Scott & White, Toyota, NXP, Apple, Army Futures Command, University Federal Credit Union, St. David’s Healthcare, Ascension Seton, and more that help connect students with real-world experience.
  • We made significant strides to close equity gaps in higher education. ACC was awarded the prestigious Seal of Excelencia from Excelencia in Education, named one of the first 10 Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campuses in the nation, and recognized as an Achieving the Dream leader college.

While my last day is still months away, ACC will begin a nationwide search for a new chancellor immediately. Our Board of Trustees will guide this effort, and we will keep you updated. 

Please know that it has been my greatest pleasure to serve as Chancellor of Austin Community College. ACC believes college is for everyone, and I am confident our college will continue to grow and thrive in the days, months, and years ahead.


Richard M. Rhodes, Ph.D.


Austin Community College District

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