Originally created 07/05/96

Search begins fornew Augusta Tech head



Jack B. Patrick can't imagine a putting green occupying his life from Mondays to Fridays.

Golf's great for a while when you first retire, but then what? Especially if you're a man who brushes off the 37 vacation days he earned as Augusta Technical Institute president, with no plans to use the time.

"I feel so frustrated right now because I've only got six months to do a year's work," Mr. Patrick said.

On Dec. 31, Mr. Patrick will retire as Augusta Tech president, stepping down from the job he's held since 1977. He sent his official letter of retirement to Georgia Department of Adult and Technical Education officials last week.

For the six months left in his Augusta Tech career, Mr. Patrick will be involved - somewhat - in the search for his successor. He'll be more involved in trying to redirect about 5 percent, or $550,000, from Augusta Tech's budget and improving the technology offered at the Deans Bridge Road school.

He swears he has no idea who might succeed him at Augusta Tech, but wagers some local names will appear among the applicants.

"This presidential position, I think it'll be a plum," Mr. Patrick said. "I think we will have some internal applicants. (But) they'll look nationwide, probably."

Which is not to say an Augustan couldn't get the job. But the choice will be made in Atlanta, based on recommendations from an all-local search committee.

This will be the fifth or sixth time in three years Atlanta education officials have had to find a replacement president for a state technical college, said Norm Moye, assistant commissioner for external affairs.

"Mr. Patrick is one of the fine presidents we have out there and we're not happy about this," Mr. Moye said. "(Vacancies are) coming more frequently now the last year or two because we're got so many individuals who are reaching retirement age. In the last three years, we've probably filled four or five vacancies out there."

One Augusta Tech faculty member and two members of the school's board will be selected by Mr. Patrick, with state approval, to serve on the local presidential search committee. Two community leaders will be chosen by Mr. Patrick and state officials to round out the five-member search team.

"Preferably individuals in business and industry," Mr. Moye said.

The search committee will be formed within the next two months, to give them three to four months to find a replacement for Mr. Patrick. They will choose if the search for a new president will be restricted to the Southeast or extended nationwide, Mr. Moye said.

"One thing they don't want to do is they don't want the outgoing president to have...any real influence over the selection of the (new) president," Mr. Patrick said.

Names of three finalists picked by the search committee will be sent to Ken Breeden, director of the state adult and technical education department. Dr. Breeden and his staff then will chose the new Augusta Tech president.

"The final choice is Dr. Breeden's," Mr. Moye said.

It's not likely the choice will come from a small pool of applicants, either, judging from the last two presidential searches at Georgia technical colleges, Mr. Patrick said.

"One of them had 70 (applicants) and another one had over 100, I believe," he said. "I would expect that a school this size, you would probably have more than 100 apply."

He'll leave the sifting through applications, resumes and interviews to the others as he ponders what to do with himself after the nameplate on the president's door no longer says "Jack B. Patrick."

Mr. Patrick plans to stay in Augusta, even though he and his family spent most of their lives in Savannah. He and wife Gloria have two daughters, sons-in-law and four granddaughters in Augusta as well.

But he won't stop being president of something, at least.

"I'm not quite ready for five days of golf, so I'm going to start a little company of some type," he said.