Dr. Ronald L. Rhames was born in Columbia, S.C., in 1954 to Sarah Rhames. He grew up during the times of racial segregation which made dreaming beyond limited scopes difficult for a young African American boy.
While in high school, Dr. Rhames developed a passion for drawing and painting and decided to be an artist. However, upon finishing high school, Dr. Rhames was working at McDonald’s and not pursuing his passion to become an artist oradvance a professional career. At that point, he enrolled in business classes at Midlands Technical College and received an associate degree in business. This decision began his quest for knowledge that took him to ultimately graduating from Benedict College (B.A.), Central Michigan University (M.S.), and Nova Southeastern University (Ph.D).
Dr. Rhames began his career in banking before going to work at Claflin University overseeing accounting and budget. He started at Midlands Technical College in 1990,launching his highly successful career in higher education that led to his current role as president of Midlands Technical College beginning in 2015. Under his leadership, the college has worked with every school district in Richland, Lexington, and Fairfield counties. He has also worked with other colleges and universities, as well as businesses and organizations, to secure funding for scholarships, build pipelines to employment, and make college more affordable for every student. Dr. Rhames’ early personal interest in the arts resulted in the establishment of the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, which is the only performing arts theater belonging to a technical college in the state.
Dr. Rhames spearheaded the creation of a first-of-its-kind partnership with high-school level welding programs to make it easier, quicker, and less expensive for students to become certified welders. The partnership helps fill the local workforce demand for welding professionals with some of the highest levels of training and certification.
Dr. Rhames is the first African American president of Midlands Technical College and the first graduate of any South Carolina technical college to rise to become its president.