President’s Message | Technical College of the LowCountry

President’s Message



Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It’s an honor to be at the helm of such a fine community college.

For nearly 150, years TCL has been shaped by the aspirations of the citizens of the Lowcountry. The College grows better and stronger every day because of you. You are our supporters and our stakeholders. So each year at about this time I will send you a letter, the President’s Mid-Year Brief to Donors, to share with you the difference you have made in the life of the College during the first six months of the calendar year.

As TCL’s president, one of my greatest pleasures is talking with our students about what they hope to do with the degrees, certifications and diplomas they’re working so hard to earn. Ensuring student access and opportunity is a TCL priority, a priority shared with Mrs. Lou Gast. In February Lou gave TCL $50,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund. We are fortunate to have scholarship supporters such as Lou—and many other individuals and organizations, including the Hilton Head Island Hospital Auxiliary. In June the Auxiliary gave TCL $15,000 to support nursing scholarships. The HHI Auxiliary is an important partner to TCL and an exemplary student advocate. Over the past twenty years the Auxiliary has given $500,000 in nursing scholarships. Because of Lou, the Auxiliary and many others, this spring term sixty TCL students received scholarship support.

As a college, and as a community, we’ve stepped up our commitment to our students by establishing the Guarantor Program. The Guarantor Program is our promise that no deserving student will leave TCL due to significant financial challenges. Many of you have come forward to share this promise and become Guarantors. Your support of this program has been quite moving. The Guarantor Program has restored electricity to the home of a nursing student, purchased required clinical shoes for a massage therapy student, and supported the cost of child care so that a student could complete her associate degree and graduate on time.

As a former Marine I’m committed to serving the educational needs of our military neighbors. I’ve restored TCL’s presence on the Marine Corps Air Station and Parris Island. This spring we established the Veterans Scholarships Forever Fund, providing support for our active duty and veteran service men and women who are seeking workforce certifications such as EMT, Welding, and Logistics Technician—to name only a few of the workforce development certifications offered at TCL. These workforce development programs provide vocational and trade training and propel graduates into jobs, sometimes in as little as five weeks. Unfortunately South Carolina and federal educational aid programs do not cover the cost of these programs, nor does the GI Bill. At TCL, we estimate that 5 veterans a month are unable to enter their program of choice due to financial barriers. With your help, the Veterans Scholarship Forever Fund aims to help our service men and women who have volunteered themselves and their families in service to our country.

With a leadership gift from a generous donor, we created the President’s Fund for Opportunity and Excellence. Since then many of you have given to the fund. Your gifts to the President’s Fund provide TCL with the financial resources to respond to immediate and emerging academic needs, such as instructional equipment and innovative workforce solutions. Already this year, your gifts to the President’s Fund have empowered investment in TCL’s Cyber Security Program and our Health Sciences school.

The Perfect Pitch Entrepreneurship Award Program came to life with a generous contribution, and multi-year commitment, by Tom and Sue Potrykus. The competition, geared toward TCL students and alumni, allows budding entrepreneurs to present their well-developed business plans to a diverse panel of judges to compete for valuable funding. This spring three students were awarded a total of $7,000–funds they will use to grow their businesses here in the Lowcountry.

Your gifts have power.  I take seriously my responsibility to ensure that your gifts serve the College, our students and faculty. In the past six months with your help we have:

  • Upgraded or replaced student computers in the Open Use Computer Lab at our New River Campus
  • Purchased two TIG welding machines to enable advanced welding instruction required for jobs in the automotive and marine services industries
  • Purchased a laboratory grade refrigerator/freezer for the Health Sciences Biology Lab
  • Purchased a human anatomical model for instruction and study by students in our Nursing, Surgical, Radiologic and Physical Therapy associate degree programs

I am deeply grateful for your philanthropy. Through your support you express your faith in our College and our mission.

As I settle into my role, I am listening to our community and defining priorities.  These priorities include expanding the avionics technology program, renewing our culinary arts program and implementing new programs such as medical assisting in order to meet the current and emerging workforce needs of the Lowcountry. But any vision for our future depends upon philanthropy and your continued support of the programs and opportunities that represent your own priorities for TCL. I hope you will continue to be our partner in the years that lie ahead.

Best regards,

Richard J. Gough

Did you know?

  • TCL enrolls more than 5,000 full-time and part-time students.
  • More than 93% of TCL graduates are placed in a job related to their education or continue their studies at larger schools.
  • TCL has transfer agreements with Clemson University, University of South Carolina, Frances Marion University, Coastal Carolina University and Lander University.
  • This June TCL graduated more than 350 students, almost 70% of whom received associate degrees in nursing, criminal justice, business, education, industrial technology, computer technology, physical therapy, radiologic technology and paralegal studies.
  • TCL is the Lowcountry’s community college.