JACKSONVILLE—Jacksonville College Director of Distance Education Michael Paul Creech was honored at a retirement reception held at the Central Baptist Church Youth Building in October.
The whole college community – including administration, faculty, staff, and alumni – attended the event to honor Creech’s 29 years of dedicated service to the college mission of “Challenging Minds and Transforming Lives.”
“We are so grateful for the tremendous contribution that Mike has made to Jacksonville College,” Jacksonville College President Joe Lightner said. “Mike’s choosing to invest his life into reaching students for Christ is an inspiration to our Jacksonville College family.”
“Mike truly left his mark on Jacksonville College,” said Mike Smith, the college’s former president. “He was more than just an employee; he was a friend and servant of our Lord. No one was more knowledgeable and possessed a servant spirit than him, working many hours behind the scenes and on weekends and late at night so that the college could have the best in technology.”
Creech joins a long line of Jacksonville College employees whose lives have left a legacy of sacrifice while fulfilling the mission of the college. He began teaching at the college in August 1992 and subsequently served as Business and Computer Science Department Chair, Chief Information Officer, and the first Director of Distance Education. In the latter position, he laid the foundation for the distance education program.
His significant contributions to the advancement of technology at the college include leading his students to create the first website of any college in the East Texas area. He guided the college in choosing and implementing the Empower student information system, which allows online registration and tuition payment. He also implemented the college’s first Learning Management System, paving the way for course materials to be made available online – an invaluable benefit when Covid-19 forced colleges to go online.
Creech served numerous other leadership roles during his nearly 30-year career at the college. He was on the leadership teams for the 1999, 2009, and 2019 Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College (SACSCOC), the regional association for the accreditation of degree-granting for higher education. Serving as the Quality Enhancement Plan advisor, he provided the QEP Leadership Team assistance for “Going the Distance with Distance Education,” a plan to guide the college’s educational focus over the next 10 years.
Colleagues expressed deep admiration for Creech, commenting on his patient instructions as he assisted faculty and staff with technological needs. “Mike never let me know that he was frustrated because of my technology deficiencies. I require much assistance and patience and Mike always seems glad to give both,” religion instructor Mark Rogers said.
Added Smith: “(Mike) wanted our students and faculty to have the resources they needed. He provided excellent training opportunities, so we were equipped to meet our responsibilities.”