Distinguished alum returns to college as vice president

by: NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

Students attend college and never imagine coming back and being part of the administration.

But one former South Plains College student recently got the opportunity to return to the Levelland campus.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, former academic dean for the School of Allied Health Sciences at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, has joined the administration as vice president of academic affairs.

Originally from Ropesville, Dr. Satterwhite attended SPC after graduating from high school and received his Associate of Science Degree from SPC in 1990. Later, he transferred to Texas Tech University, where he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in management information systems in 1992. He then completed his Master of Business Administration Degree in management in health organization management in May 1997. He also received a doctor of education degree in higher education administration in 2004.

“My first move was from Ropesville to the Magee dorms back in 1988,” says Dr. Satterwhite. “When I finished at SPC, I went to Texas Tech and I was not actually majoring in higher education. I actually got my bachelor’s in information technology, and after that, I started working in a hospital setting.”

Before majoring in higher education, Dr. Satterwhite worked in the hospital systems in Lockney and Mexia.

“I was the hospital CEO in Lockney, and then also in Mexia, and from there is when I went into higher education,” explains Dr. Satterwhite. “I moved back to Odessa, where I was orgingally the dean for the school of Allied Health Sciences, and eventually moved to Lubbock.”

While working in the hospital systems, Dr. Satterwhite also majored in business administration.

“I majored in business administration in information systems because, like most students, I looked at my strengths, and I was in business at SPC,” says Dr. Satterwhite. “I was vacillating between finance and information systems, and I really saw that information systems was my strength, and that’s where I went.”

Dr. Satterwhite continues, “Sometimes, when you’re 20 years old, you don’t really know exactly what direction you want to take, but I did like business, and I just followed what my strengths were.”

Dr. Satterwhite says he had always been interested in higher education because he came from a family of educators.

“My dad was a superintendent of schools, and my mother was an English teacher,” Dr. Satterwhite explains. “I always had a passion and interest in education. But I knew I didn’t want to be at the high school level of education. So, when I was in hospital administration and in health care management, I had an interest in education. Being from a health care background, I was able to move to a health care education setting, so that worked perfect for me. When I got in that setting, I immediately realized that I needed to get my doctorate. So that’s when I started pursuing my doctorate.”

Named a Distinguished Alumnus of the college in 2013, Dr. Satterwhite explains he never thought he would be vice president for academic affairs after graduating from SPC. He says he never thought he would come back to SPC until he started working toward his master’s degree.

“I’ve always watched SPC from the periphery, and I loved it when I was a student here,” says Dr. Satterwhite. “I think it has such an incredibly important and successful mission of educating students, either technically or having that preparation for that next step in a University setting. It isjust something near and dear to my heart, and it’s something that I felt that had a clear and successful mission. So when the job opened up, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to apply.”

Even though Dr. Satterwhite experienced two different career paths, he expresses those two career paths have similarities.

“I’ve have had two different career paths throughout my lifetime,” explains Dr. Satterwhite “and it’s interesting because you have the management, finance, and the information systems, and then you have the higher education. When you think about them, they seem very different, but there are a lot of similarities and they complement each other very well.”

Dr. Satterwhite has been involved in higher education for almost 17 years. He describes his time attending SPC as enjoyable and memorable.

“I’m glad I’m here, because the faculty and staff teach students, and they do it very well,” explains Dr Satterwhite. “The faculty and student relationship always attracted me. When I look back at all the different degrees I worked on, I have very few faculty that I really remember or worked close with. But when I look at South Plains, I can readily name you a number of faculty that I’ve admired and who really took a interest in my success and my learning. I think what’s unique and exciting about South Plains College is the student and faculty relationship.”

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Dr. Robin Satterwhite settles into his office on Sept. 1.
JOSHUA RAMIREZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS