Executive director of THEC and TSAC will serve through the end of the year
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Richard G. Rhoda, the executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) and the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), will retire at the end of the year.
THEC oversees development of the state’s master plan for higher education, makes recommendations for capital appropriations in the governor’s budget, recommends tuition levels, approves new academic programs, and evaluates the state’s education lottery scholarship program. THEC coordinates functions of the Tennessee’s public higher education systems, which consists of nine universities, 13 community colleges and 26 technology centers.
TSAC administers state and federal student financial assistance programs and is a former student loan guaranty agency. The state lottery scholarship program serves 100,000 students with $300 million in awards.
“Rich has dedicated his career to higher education in Tennessee and has served the state well for more than 40 years,” Haslam said. “He has been a great partner in our Drive to 55 as we’ve put a focus on and resources toward more Tennesseans earning a certificate or degree beyond high school.
“I am grateful for his dedication and hope he will remain engaged in education issues in Tennessee as he moves into this next phase of life.”
Rhoda, 64, began his career with the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) as a member of the research staff in 1973. He has served as interim president at Austin Peay State University and Nashville State Community College, vice chancellor and acting chancellor of TBR, held several roles with Tennessee State University, and served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University.
“It has been a tremendous pleasure serving THEC and TSAC, and I am proud of the progress we’re making in higher education in Tennessee,” Rhoda said. “It has been an honor to work with Gov. Haslam, previous governors, THEC board members, legislators, our public colleges and universities, and the hard working staff at THEC and TSAC. I look forward to continue supporting the state’s important work to prepare more Tennesseans for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
Rhoda is from Allentown, Pa. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Vanderbilt University, his master’s degree in education from George Peabody College for Teachers at Vanderbilt, and his Ph.D. in higher education administration from Vanderbilt.
He has served on the boards of the University of Tennessee, TBR, State Board of Education, TSAC, Board of Trustees of the Baccalaureate Education System Trust and Tennessee Foreign Language Institute.
His civic activities include serving as chairman of the board for the Center for Nonprofit Management, chairman of the board of the Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee, as a member of the Downtown Nashville Rotary Club and Leadership Nashville Alumni Association.
Rhoda and his wife, Nancy, live in Nashville and have two grown children, Meredith and Nicholas.
He is one of the longest serving state higher education executives in the country. His retirement will be effective December 31.