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FTCC’s Keen announces plan to retire


Larry Keen on Tuesday announced his pending retirement as president of Fayetteville Technical Community College.  

Keen, who has been president since Aug. 1, 2007, said his retirement is effective Jan. 1, 2023.

“To say this is bittersweet would be an understatement,” Keen, 74, wrote in a letter to the FTCC Board of Trustees at its monthly meeting. 

FTCC is financially solvent, academically strong and dedicated to continuous improvement, he told the trustees, and Keen said he will continue to see that FTCC stays that course.  

In a news release, FTCC listed some of the school’s accomplishments under Keen’s leadership. They include:  

  • The school’s service to military members, veterans and their families, including the creation of a data-driven process to grant college credit for the formal training that service members receive during their military service. 
  • Creation of the All American Veterans Center on FTCC’s Fayetteville campus.  
  • Recognition as a Top 10 Military Friendly school, Top Military Friendly Spouse school and Best for Vets school.  
  • Development of a state-of-the-art fire and rescue training center, including an indoor swiftwater rescue training facility that will serve the county, the region and the state.  
  • Partnership with seven other community colleges and three four-year institutions to create the Carolina Cyber Network to fill the growing need for cybersecurity personnel through coordinated training programs at each partner institution.  
  • An early commitment to ensure education online, a critical initiative for students during the COVID-19 health pandemic. 
  • And a strong relationship with elected and civic leaders at the local, regional, state and national levels. 

Keen also has taken the lead in revitalizing technical programs verging on the brink of closure, resulting in a robust series of programs in great demand and with high job placement rates, the release said. He has been a leader in human resources development, training, and economic and workforce development and has served on numerous delegations, including at the international level, the release said. 

“It is with great sadness that we hear this news,” David Williford, the board chairman, told Keen. “We appreciate your knowledge and your leadership. We wish you the very best.”

Keen assured trustees his work is not done.

“I'll be with you for another year," Keen said.  "If anyone expects me to be a lame duck, they're expecting the wrong thing.”

Keen said he will be “forever grateful” to the FTCC trustees and board chairs with whom he was worked over the years.

“You have led with grace, expertise from a variety of perspectives and with not just your intellect,” he wrote in his letter to the trustees, “but your hearts and compassionate understanding and support as well.”

FTCC is the third largest of the state’s 58 community colleges. Keen said FTCC has remained true to its mission and passion for community college education. 

Before succeeding Larry Norris as president at FTCC, Keen was vice president of Economic and Workforce Development for the North Carolina Community College System for five years. He also previously served as business and industry development manager for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. 

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.   

Fayetteville Technical Community College, retirement, Larry Keen