Daily Sun: Did you foresee how much growth there would be?
Sanchez: I did not foresee this amount of growth. I knew that Navarro College had the potential to grow dramatically beyond what it was when I came with 3,600 students. I began working with staff and we developed a very aggressive plan for enrollment management. We had our recruiting and marketing department out speaking to students ... and the enrollment began to increase. It was very aggressive marketing plan, and the trustees supported that, and the faculty and staff bought in to the vision, and we moved together, and collectively we brought this campus from 3,600 when I arrived to almost 11,000.
Daily Sun: Where does it go from here?
Sanchez: The college will continue to grow, but what I envision for the college is most of the growth will be coming from Ellis County. ... because the population base and the industrial base from Dallas is now moving south as opposed to north. ... there’s an abundance of property and it’s reasonably priced. That’s the reason I believe Ellis County will someday become a county of 450,000 people.
Daily Sun: What would you call your proudest moment?
Sanchez: I think I have two. One is when I was able to develop the ‘Opening Doors to Success’ program, a program for first-generation, disadvantaged students who have every potential for college but for some reason never thought of attending college. That program is one of my most sacred achievements. And second was bringing Texas A&M/Commerce to the county, and allowing people to access a baccalaureate degree. Every May when we graduate, I see over 100 students earning their baccalaureate degree, and about five to 10 earning their Master’s degree. That didn’t happen before I arrived. I was just so happy that we could encourage the president from A&M Commerce to bring a program here to Navarro College and begin offering this program to our residents, because time and money are very critical, and a lot of these folks don’t have the time or money to access these higher education institutions that surround us in a radius of 50 miles.