Three Rivers Board Appoints Payne President of College

Sep 24, 2014

Dr. Wesley Payne was named President of Three Rivers College by the institution’s Board of Trustees during the Board’s monthly meeting in September.


Three Rivers College’s Board of Trustees has offered Dr. Wesley Payne a contract as president of the institution, which Payne accepted at the Board’s September meeting. The contract makes permanent Payne’s appointment as President of Three Rivers, a post that he has been filling in an interim capacity since June.

“We felt no need to wait until November to offer Dr. Payne this position,” said Randy Grassham, chair of the Three Rivers College Board of Trustees. “He has a clear passion for the work, a proven ability to get along with everyone, and I believe he’s a positive fit for our college and our service region.”

The contract offers Payne the position of President for the next three years, with an automatic one-year extension each year. Now that he is settled in the position, Payne says that his priority is to focus on maintaining and improving the quality of the Three Rivers experience for students, faculty, and staff.

“We’ve done a great job reaching out to the community, and now it’s time to continue to look at how we can improve the college as we move forward,” said Payne. “As I’ve often said, I’m one of the least important people at the institution. The real heroes are the faculty and staff who are in the trenches and get on with the business of teaching our students. My job is to help make sure the environment exists where everyone can succeed.”

Payne joined Three Rivers as the Vice President for Learning in July 2009. He was named Interim President after the departure of Dr. Devin Stephenson in July. He previously served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Business at the College of Coastal Georgia. Payne has 20 years of experience serving as a faculty member and academic leader in community and baccalaureate colleges.

Prior to joining Three Rivers, Payne was also a frequent consultant to colleges and universities in the areas of accreditation, distance learning, and learning outcomes assessment. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership from Mississippi State University, a Masters of Business Administration from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, a Bachelors of Professional Studies from the University of Memphis, and an Associates of Arts in Accountancy from Northwest Mississippi Community College. He and his wife, Dr. Maribeth Payne, live in Butler County.

Three Rivers College is committed to contributing to the quality of life in Southeast Missouri with affordable higher education opportunities and community services that support and encourage the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the region. For more information about college and workforce programs and upcoming events, visit