Nathan Cleveland, associate provost of TSTC’s Marshall campus, graduated from TSTC’s Computer Aided Manufacturing (now Precision Machining Technology) program in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Cleveland.)

(MARSHALL, Texas) Texas State Technical College graduate Nathan Cleveland seemed destined to be a machinist from an early age. No one could have predicted that someday he would become associate provost at the college’s Marshall campus.

Cleveland said growing up in a family interested in science, technology, engineering and math gave him and his siblings a passion for building things, including his brother trying to build a submarine in their garage. Cleveland himself took after his father, becoming a machinist.

After high school, Cleveland wasted no time in finding a job. When the economy slowed, however, he decided to enroll in TSTC’s Computer Aided Manufacturing (now Precision Machining Technology) program, graduating in 2007.

“I just figured I would take the opportunity to go to school and get a degree to make myself stand out when applying for positions,” he said.

Cleveland said he immediately noticed the difference that his Associate of Applied Science degree made on the job. He was upgraded to being a maintenance and production manager, and held that job until the economy suffered another downturn. 

He returned to TSTC to pursue an Industrial Maintenance (now Industrial Systems) degree. But before he could complete that program, Cleveland accepted a position as a temporary teaching lab assistant for the Precision Machining Technology program after instructor Daniel Nixon broke his arm. 

That was the beginning of Cleveland’s 15-year career at TSTC.

“I didn’t come here to get a job, to be honest,” he said.

Once Nixon’s arm had healed, Cleveland began serving at TSTC in a variety of roles, including full-time instructor, statewide department chair, associate vice president of student learning, and now associate provost.

Bart Day, TSTC’s Marshall provost, has worked with Cleveland since 2012.

Nathan has earned a great reputation across the state as a highly respected leader and an absolute wealth of knowledge,” Day said. “I can’t imagine a better right hand here in East Texas.”

Cleveland said he fell in love with TSTC’s mission and hopes his next 15 years will be spent at the Marshall campus.

“What TSTC means to me, it means an opportunity,” Cleveland said. “It means helping people to better their situations and the lives of those around them. It gives me the ability to help people. That’s what it means to me. I feel very blessed, and because of that fact, it’s allowed me to bless others not just here, but outside of here.”

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