Keith’s time with Valencia has allowed him to connect his passion for education and helping others — Keith also served as an adjunct professor of student success on West Campus for nine years — with his leadership skills in operations and finance. “What better way to approach work each day than to combine your passion with your strengths?” he asked.
While he has been happy to help find millions of dollars in new revenue and free up millions from various areas of operations and finance to be re-purposed for other areas of the College, his most memorable moment at Valencia occurred at a commencement ceremony.
While he was putting on his cap and gown at the Silver Spurs Arena, he received a call from a former student who graduated from Valencia the prior year saying that she had to see him before the ceremony. A few minutes later they connected, and she presented him with an appreciation sash for the influence he had on her education and her life.
“My heart nearly exploded, and I proudly wore the sash and a big ear-to-ear smile all through the processional,” he said. Then the student who was giving the commencement address, who had been in Keith’s class a couple of years before, specifically mentioned him in her speech. “I told Joyce Romano [vice president, student affairs] later that it just doesn’t get any better than that,” he added.
For most of his professional career, he has worked in organizations which were large partnerships. “Hopefully, this background of working in truly shared governance organizations has helped me leave a legacy of selflessness, collaboration and transparency in — not only the resource allocation process — but the way we all interact with others,” he said.
“As a learning-centered College, we knew nearly a dozen years ago we wanted a learning-centered vice president of finance, and Keith has been that and more,” said Sandy Shugart, Valencia president. “He’s helped us move millions of dollars to the learning mission, he’s created a collaborative, humane and high-performing culture in his division, and he’s been a great counselor and friend to me. He really is extraordinary.”
What’s next for Keith? Besides his role as the new Community College Business Officers academy dean, he will invest more time with his family as “Epaw,” the name that his six wonderful grandchildren call him. “Life is great!” he exclaimed.
Have a fantastic retirement Keith!