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Press Release

Monday, August 23, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Statement by: Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith Regarding the Retirement of Florida College System Chancellor Dr. Willis Holcombe

“Dr. Holcombe has spent a lifetime in support of the students of Florida, working tirelessly to expand their access to high quality postsecondary opportunities and rewarding workforce options. He has had a remarkable career, filled with countless achievements and an undeniable desire to help those around him. From his honored service in the U.S. Marine Corps to his roles as high school teacher, college professor and college administrator, few can claim such a devotion to the wellbeing and prosperity of others.

“It is through Dr. Holcombe’s role as Chancellor of The Florida College System that I have come to know him best. He has worked passionately with K-12 colleagues to increase college readiness and his leadership has been invaluable in helping Florida grow and diversify its workforce. For nearly three years I have watched as he skillfully balanced challenging financial times with exponential growth in the enrollment of our colleges, all while advocating for increased access to higher education opportunities for all Floridians.

“Dr. Holcombe has been a friend, a colleague and an exceptional leader of The Florida College System and his presence and expertise will be greatly missed as he enjoys the hard-earned retirement that I have fought to deny him for these last several years.”