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Summer 2014

BRCC’s 46th Commencement


With nearly 3,000 people in attendance, BRCC held its 46th commencement ceremony on May 10 at the Weyers Cave campus. More than 200 graduates crossed the stage to receive their diplomas with mothers, Dr. Stuart Porter leads the procession of eager BRCC graduates. fathers, sisters, brothers and their children cheering them on. For the entire academic year, the College graduated 798 students with degrees, diplomas, and certificates. The largest number of graduates were in the College/University Transfer Program. Nursing and veterinary technology also had large BRCC Nursing graduates look forward to serving our community. graduating classes this year, and you will surely meet them soon at your local hospitals, doctor’s offices, and vet practices! BRCC’s impact on our community is profound, as we provide a pathway to success for these students and their current and future employers. We challenge you to go anywhere in our community and not find someone with a BRCC connection!

BRCC Educational Foundation Board Chair Debra S. Callison Vice-Chair Thomas C. Mendez Secretary John A. Downey Treasurer Robert S. Baldygo Tony E. Biller Alphonso P. Boxley III Dennis O. Burnett

Stephen W. Claffey Denise E. “D.D.” Dawson Lawrence H. Hoover Jr. Nancy Hulings Camala B. Kite Martha Livick

Mary N. Mannix John L. Matherly Mary McDermott Beverly B. McGowan Karen E. Santos Stacey D. Strawn

Steven E. Stroop Alan J. Sweet Travis J. Tysinger Cynthia Weidner Cathleen P. Welsh

Community Link is an official publication of the Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation, Inc. It is distributed to friends in the Shenandoah Valley, as well as BRCC faculty and staff, and is published quarterly by the Development Office, Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, VA 24486. If you have any questions or comments regarding this publication, please contact Angie Glenn, Development Services Coordinator, at (540) 453-2307 or Additional articles can be found at

Valley Hospitals Honored


Augusta Health and Sentara RMH Medical Center have both earned the 2014 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The hospitals were nominated for the award by Blue Ridge Community College, and each will have a scholarship named after them which will be awarded this fall to students attending BRCC. “Both of these hospitals A group of spring 2014 BRCC nursing graduates poses with Dr. Dave have been long-time friends of the Urso, Dean of Life Sciences and Human Services. College,” said BRCC President John Downey. “From the establishment of student scholarships to their generous support of our nursing program, we are fortunate to have Augusta Health and Sentara RMH in our community.” The Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy luncheon is hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) to honor leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges, as well as the statewide foundation. This marks the ninth year the awards have been given. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of more than $12 million dollars to Virginia’s community colleges. President & CEO of Augusta Health, Mary Mannix explained her organization’s support, “There are certain cornerstones of a community. A hospital is one, and a community college is another. Both provide opportunities for residents and improve quality of life. Supporting community colleges is essential, as they effectively serve as magnets for future growth and economic development.” “We believe in preparing for the future and the future workforce, which means having trained individuals in the healthcare field who can properly serve our community,” said Jim Krauss, President of Sentara RMH Medical Center. He added, “Graduates of Blue Ridge Community College make up a good portion of our future workforce, and we believe in investing in their education.” In keynote remarks, Virginia Business Higher Education Council Chair W. Heywood Fralin said, “Many believe, including myself, that the community college will be the centerpiece of economic development in each region of the commonwealth for the next several decades... all philanthropists are interested in their local communities, and I would argue that in today’s world, the local community college should be considered a top priority for philanthropic dollars. Where it happens, regions will thrive, and where it doesn’t, they will struggle.” VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois said that the generosity of the two dozen philanthropy leaders makes a critical difference in the lives of students and their families as well as in the economic vitality of the commonwealth. “They believe in the knowledge and skills that Virginia’s community colleges offer to every Virginian. We thank them deeply for the partnerships that demonstrate the art of giving.”

BRCC Enactus Places in Top 10 Nationally The BRCC Enactus Team competed at the National Enactus Competition in April, winning over $24,000 in prize money for their community service projects. BRCC Enactus placed in the top 10 universities and colleges in the United States again this year, is the highest ranking two-year college, and the only two-year college to place in the top 20 teams in the country for the past five years.

Spring Fling 2014 The 2014 Spring Fling Auction was a great success, breaking attendance records and raising more than $72,000! This event, held in the Robert E. Plecker Workforce Center on April 11th, was sponsored by Diamond Sponsor Moseley Architects, and Platinum Sponsors Beam Brothers Trucking and Graves-Light Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. The BRCC Educational Foundation thanks all those involved in making this a successful community event. Be sure to make plans now to join us for the next annual Spring Fling Auction on April 17, 2015.

Attendees embraced the 80s theme, and spent the evening bidding on more than 165 items donated by generous businesses and individuals. Proceeds from the auction support student scholarships, technology in the classroom, innovative teaching, and a variety of other initiatives that enhance educational opportunities for our community.

BRCC Retirees Honored Accounting for close to 200 years of combined state service, Blue Ridge retirees Jim Eiland (Instructor of Electronics Technology), Bud Levin (Professor of Psychology), Sandy Martin (Lab & Research Specialist, Veterinary Technology), Betty May (Administrative & Office Specialist, Student Services), Stuart Porter (Professor of Veterinary Technology), and Nell Tiller (Assistant Professor of Spanish) were honored with a reception in early May.

Stuart Porter and John Downey.

From left to right: Jim Eiland, Nell Tiller, Betty May, John Downey, and Sandy Martin.

Bud Levin and John Downey.

BRCC Educational Foundation Awards a Record $294,631 in Scholarships


Thanks to your support and generosity, during the 2013-14 academic year 269 BRCC students benefited from $294,631 in scholarships awarded through the BRCC Educational Foundation. Scholarship recipients were given the opportunity to meet the BRCC supporters who helped make their educational goals a reality at the annual scholarship luncheon held on March 21st. Instead of sharing the story of how he arrived at BRCC, student speaker Gene Stainback shared a lesson learned during his time spent at BRCC. He straightforwardly pointed out that there is a stigma attached to community colleges: “Whether we like it or not, there’s an Albert “Gene” Stainback, pictured above with BRCC unfortunate stigma that community college President John Downey, was this year’s student is less than—less than universities or private scholarship speaker. Gene was named a 2014 Coca-Cola institutions—less challenging, less rewarding, Community College Academic Team Bronze Scholar. He less significant. And it’s sad. It’s sad that I heard was one of 50 students from across the nation to receive the honor, which included a $1,000 scholarship. Gene this in high school not only from my peers but was recognized at the Phi Theta Kappa’s (PTK) Annual from adults, parents, television, the internet, Convention at Disney World in April. In addition to the Bronze Scholar accolade, Gene was named to the PTK Top even from other universities. However, I knew Ten All-Virginia Academic Team. it wasn’t true. I knew how logical community college was. Even as a high school student, with peer pressure and influence, I knew Blue Ridge was the best option for me and probably for most of the people in my class. But not just because I couldn’t go anywhere else; I could have. I graduated top 10 in my class with above a 4.1 GPA. I was a president of a club, a member of three honor societies, and captain of the soccer team. I could’ve gone almost anywhere. However, Blue Ridge was right for me. I knew I could afford an education here, I knew I could transfer to a university in two years, and most importantly, I knew I would be successful if I began here at Blue Ridge.” However, Gene went on to say that during his senior year of high school, he began secondguessing what he knew was true about Blue Ridge, and even became embarrassed to say where he was going to college in the fall. “Today, I’m embarrassed, but for a different reason. I’m embarrassed that I ever felt less than anyone. I’m embarrassed I ever avoided saying, “I’m a student at Blue Ridge.” As it turns out, the word “community,” the word people tend to slander when in the name of a college, our college, the word I once hid from conversation, is the word we at Blue

Ridge are most proud of. Community is what makes up Blue Ridge, it’s what Blue Ridge is, and it’s what Blue Ridge supports and always will. So, today, I’d like you all to know I’m proud. I’m proud of the people I met and the friends I made here. I’m proud to have had the best professors I could ever hope for. I’m proud of the Blue Ridge Educational Foundation, and the family of Charles Pascale for investing in me and trusting me to succeed. I’m proud of my parents, who have loved me and supported me through everything. And most importantly, as I stand here before you all, I have never been more proud to be a part of this community, the community of Blue Ridge.” You can view Gene’s remarks in their entirety at or scan this QR code with your smart phone.

Scholarship donors and recipients enjoyed the opportunity to meet one another at the annual scholarship luncheon.

You Can Make a Difference With your continued support, many students like Gene are able to make their educational dreams come true. The BRCC Educational Foundation closes out its fiscal year on June 30, 2014, but there is still time to contribute to the Blue Ridge Annual Fund. If you want to be a part of building the dreams of today’s students while ensuring them one of the finest educations available, then make your gift to the Blue Ridge Annual Fund. Simply use the enclosed envelope today, and know that you are making a difference for our students, faculty, and community. Did you know that you can make an investment in BRCC online? It’s as simple as going to the BRCC Educational Foundation’s homepage at, and clicking on the “Online Donations” link! Additionally, the Blue Ridge Vision Society encourages all who support the College’s mission to use their financial and estate planning to help the College maintain the affordable access and educational experience our community expects and deserves. Please let us know of your plans, and allow us to publicize your name along with the other people who have so thoughtfully remembered our mission. If you have included the BRCC Educational Foundation in your estate planning or would like further information, please contact Sally Jane Conner at (540) 453-2203 or

Address Service Requested

April 17, 2015, 6:00 p.m., Robert E. Plecker Workforce Center

20th Annual Spring Fling Auction

October 8, 2014, 7:30 a.m., Spotswood Country Club October 10, 2014, 7:30 a.m., Stonewall Jackson Hotel October 17, 2014, 7:30 a.m., Waynesboro Country Club

Community Breakfast Series

September 19, 2014, 12:00 p.m., Robert E. Plecker Workforce Center

President’s Luncheon

Save the Date

Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation, Inc. P. O. Box 80 Weyers Cave, VA 24486 (540) 453-2211 Non Profit Org. U. S. Postage and Fees Paid BRCC

BRCC Community Link Summer 2014  

Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation Summer 2014 Newsletter

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