Dr. Mahan received a bachelor of arts degree from the College of Charleston and a master of arts degree and a doctor of philosophy degree in Higher Education Administration from USC Columbia.
Before his current position, Mahan was the vice president for academics at Northeastern Technical College. He began his career as a history instructor at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, where he later became dean of arts and sciences.
Dr. Forest Mahan became President of Aiken Technical College in 2016, becoming the College’s fifth president since it opened in fall of 1972.
Classes for Aiken Technical College began in temporary facilities in Aiken. One hundred and seventy-seven students enrolled in the first class of what was then the Aiken Technical Education Center. The current campus opened in the winter of 1973. The name was changed to Aiken Technical College in March 1978.
The original ATC campus consisted of three buildings constructed at a cost of $2.3 million — $80,000 provided by Aiken County and the remainder from federal education grants.
The campus has seen great expansion over the past few decades. The Dale Phelon Information Technology Center opened for classes in the fall of 2000 and includes the College’s library, classrooms, offices and meeting space. In the summer of 2001, construction of the $3 million, 30,000-square-foot CSRA Manufacturing and Technology Training Center was completed.
A 52,000-square-foot Health and Science building was added in fall 2003 to allow the College to offer radiologic technology, surgical technology and medical coding programs. It was completed at a cost of $7.6 million. The Associate Degree in Nursing program became available there in fall 2005. With the completion of the Health and Science Building, a student commons was created and dedicated to Senator Thomas L. Moore in 2004.
The 700-800 Building was renovated in 2003-2004 and opened for classes in 2005. The renovation created multimedia classrooms, a state-of-the-art Testing Center, and an inviting and well-equipped Academic Success Center. ATC opened its 6,090-square-foot Enrollment Services Center in the Ashley J. Little Administration Building in 2013. By combining the College’s admissions and records, financial aid, and academic advising into one convenient location, ATC has streamlined the enrollment process for students.
During the summer of 2014, the College broke ground for its new Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing. To fund the $8.5 million project, the College received a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and $2.4 million from the S.C. state legislature to use along with $1.5 million of College funding.
The ATC Foundation also led a $2 million capital campaign, Putting Knowledge to Work. The funding sources combined allowed the facility to be completed without debt. The Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing was dedicated in September 2015.
ATC was once home to the Knights men’s basketball program from 1991-2013, and the Lady Knights women’s fast pitch softball program from 2006- 2013. The College offers opportunities for student leadership and development through a number of clubs and organizations, including the Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Campus Ambassador Program, Student Veterans Association, Christian Life Club, Student Nurses Association and the American Welding Society.
Through partnerships with local, regional and national nonprofit organizations, government entities, industries and educational institutions, ATC has created numerous pathways to assist veterans in achieving educational goals or advancing within their military careers. The ATC campus is home to nearly 300 veterans and veterans’ dependents.
More than four decades after its founding, ATC has grown into a multi-service, two-year comprehensive college offering numerous educational opportunities in college transfer credit and noncredit health, public service, business, industrial engineering, nuclear and computer technology programs.