Lester McKenzie is TTU’s new director of Financial Aid. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from TTU in 1988 and a master’s in adult education from East Carolina University in 1999. He is currently working toward a doctorate in education from East Tennessee State University.
“I’ve always dreamed of working at one of my alma maters, so being here really is like a dream come true for me,” he said.
“While I’m still learning the duties and responsibilities that will be required of me here, every financial aid employee has taken initiative not only to keep the department running smoothly, but to try to increase its efficiency,” McKenzie continued. “This is a group of dedicated professionals, and their positive qualities speak for themselves.”
Three TTU Financial Aid employees have recently earned promotions. Debbie Maynard has been promoted from assistant director to associate director. Judy Riggsbee moves from lottery scholarship coordinator to assistant director, and Adriane King has been promoted from financial aid assistant to lottery scholarship coordinator.
As the new director, McKenzie brings more than 16 years of experience to the position, having served in various capacities in financial aid departments at four different North Carolina institutions.
He served as systems administrator and senior financial aid officer at Phillips Junior College, director of financial aid at Carteret Community College, assistant director of financial aid at East Carolina University and assistant dean of students for financial aid at Lees-McRae College.
Immediately prior to accepting the position at TTU, McKenzie served as a regional account manager for ELM Resources, where he communicated with higher education institutions about their financial aid system demands and requirements and helped them streamline their loan processes.
“I found that I missed the day-to-day contact with students and the rewards of providing a direct service to them, so I look forward to helping TTU’s financial aid department continue to evolve and to function more efficiently,” he said.
McKenzie’s wife, Patricia, works in TTU’s electrical and computer engineering department.
Both former director Ray Holbrook and associate director Janis Bulow recently retired from the department.