CELEBRATING THE PROGRESS & PROMISE OF OUR FIRST 50 YEARS VIRGINIA’S COMMUNITY COLLEGES · ANNUAL REPORT 2015|2016
When your name adorns the board room at which a governing body meets; when an award representing an organization’s highest honor bears your name; when an entire building is named after you; and when an endowed scholarship is offered in your name: you have made a difference. While all those honors have been bestowed upon Dr. Dana Hamel, they fail to capture just what he means to the Virginia Community College System. Without the vision, leadership and perseverance of Dr. Hamel, the inaugural VCCS chancellor, maybe none of it ever comes to be. Perhaps there would be no 50th anniversary to celebrate. Dr. Hamel’s years of hard work, however, demonstrate there is. He oversaw the opening of all 23 Virginia community colleges. His fingerprints remain all over our governing structure and policy manual. Fifty years, and more than 2.6 million students later, we say, thank you Dr. Hamel. Your blueprint succeeded. And just like you’ve been reminding us for years, it is indeed a great day to be alive in the Commonwealth of Virginia!
“It’s a great day to be alive in the Commonwealth of Virginia!”
Virginiaâ€™s Community Colleges were created in 1966 to address Virginiaâ€™s unmet needs in higher education and workforce training. We give everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every community, we elevate all of Virginia.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHANCELLOR History, they say, is a story well told. So where do we begin in sharing with you the tale of our first 50 years? Do we open by sharing the stories of individual triumph? This might just be my favorite story because this is my story. Virginia’s Community Colleges have served more than 2.6 million people since our doors opened in 1966. How many of those people, like me, walked into a classroom or laboratory unsure of who they were, what they could do, or who they could be? Where would they be today and how different would our communities be without their contribution? Thank goodness we’ll never know. Do we start by telling you about our role in economic development and partnering
with Virginia businesses? The endless push of technology, in every area of our lives, inspired our creation. What would those business leaders say about the hundreds of industry-recognized certificates and credentials for which we are training people today? What would they think about the customized training we provide more than 13,000 companies every year? Do we lead off with a reminder of the incredible vision and courage it took to build Virginia’s Community College System? A young governor, 50 years ago, convinced Virginians to take a chance. Through a referendum, they accepted a tax they didn’t want for a promise of something they had never had: a comprehensive community college system. What would Governor Mills Godwin, Chancellor Dana Hamel and all those who
worked with them say today about the crowning achievement of their life’s work? Or should we simply focus on the future, describing the Virginia we hope to see, and build, over the next 50 years from our busiest urban centers to our bucolic rural regions? Earning a postsecondary credential is no longer optional for those who pursue their American Dream. Our colleges strive to triple the number of credentials our students earn over the next six years – a down payment, if you will, on our larger aspiration of seeing a college graduate in every Virginia home over the next 50 years. What will they say when we reach that goal? I can’t wait.
CELEBRATING OUR PROGRESS & PROMISE
WE GREW A COLLEGE IN MY FIELD
HELPING MORE STUDENTS GRADUATE
AN UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO VETERANS
BUILDING VIRGINIA’S NEW ECONOMY
AN INVESTMENT WORTH FIGHTING FOR
TRANSFER: THE $45,000 QUESTION
VCCS 50TH ANNIVERSARY LEGACY PROJECT
STATE BOARD FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES
FROM THE CLASSROOM TO THE BOARD ROOM
COMMUNITY COLLEGE PRESIDENTS
PROMOTING AFFORDABLE COLLEGE ACCESS
A LIFELONG COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION
“When I talk to people in southwest Virginia, they still talk about the community college,” says retired Southwest Virginia Community College President Charlie King, who arrived in the area in 1967 as a young man in his 30s to become the longest serving president in the system. “It was the greatest thing that had happened to this part of Virginia in several decades. We were more than a college. We were a community college. We really had a passion for what we were doing – I suppose you’d say we felt like missionaries.”
CELEBRATING OUR PROMISE & PROGRESS A STORY THAT BEGAN LONG AGO… The notion that became the Virginia Community College System was conceived on horseback, born during the Space Race and matured in the Information Age. Thomas Jefferson, in 1778, wrote that higher education should be available “without regard to wealth, birth, or other accidental condition” and provided “at the common expense of all.”
(L) Charlie King, retired president of Southwest Virginia Community College, and (R) Chancellor Emeritus Dana Hamel survey the land that will become the SWCC campus in 1967.
Governor Mills Godwin created the VCCS in 1966 as, “Another extension of the old philosophy that public education is the yardstick of progress and the birthright of every citizen of a Democracy.” That courage and vision was praised by Governor Tim Kaine, in 2006, when he said, “Our community colleges have become as much a part of Virginia as the air we breathe.” We cannot say what transformative opportunities Virginians will gain from their community colleges over the next 50 years. We cannot know what glories will earn the praise of future Virginia governors. Perhaps simply knowing that community colleges exceed expectations and defy predictions tells you everything about our beginnings…
Bob Sowder feels a paternal pride over the Fauquier Campus of Lord Fairfax Community College.
WE GREW A COLLEGE IN MY FIELD
“Not bad for a country boy, one of 11 children from the mountains of southwest Virginia,” he said. “It’s just great to show everyone what education can do for you.” Sowder, a farmer and real estate developer who dropped out of high school before later earning his G.E.D., played a key role in putting the campus together – including donating the barn and farm land that today is the campus’s focal point. A Fauquier Chamber of Commerce member in the 1980s, he was part of a communitywide effort to expand Lord Fairfax into Warrenton. “I was selling alfalfa one day, and I got to looking at my barn,” Sowder said. There, he envisioned classrooms in its six large stalls with doors, students and faculty gathering in the central area. Sowder donated the barn, the 2.5 acres of land on which it stood, and $90,000 for renovations. Later he sold the rest of his farm to the county, and the Fauquier Campus opened in 1999. “It was a community-wide effort,” he said, with many working hard to make it happen. Sowder is passionate about providing opportunities he never had to future students. And he takes pride whenever he drives by the campus.
3 out of 5
of those graduates are minorities, first-generation students, and economically disadvantaged individuals.
33,580 degrees and certificates.
College graduates, today, hold 65% of the nationâ€™s jobs.
HELPING MORE STUDENTS
GRADUATE The 50th year of Virginia’s Community Colleges produced an historic number of graduates; 26,899 individuals earned 33,580 degrees and certificates. Minorities, first-generation students, and economically disadvantaged individuals account for three out of five of those graduates. This is also the first year of Complete 2021, the VCCS statewide, six-year strategic plan, which aims to triple the number of credentials annually added to the Virginia economy by 2021. Reaching this goal will not be easy. Virginia’s Community Colleges serve student populations who offer new and different challenges. Increasingly, students come from families with little or no
higher education experience. They are more likely to attend college on a part-time basis. And they need more help, not just choosing a class schedule, but planning how to meet their career and life aspirations. Our colleges are evolving to meet these needs. With a student success focus, they are building campus cultures that value every student as an individual; launching their studies with a career
in mind; and providing them the financial aid, advising and other support they need along the way. College graduates, today, hold 65% of the nation’s jobs – a figure that will only increase over the next 50 years. Helping more of our students become graduates is essential to fulfilling our community college mission, meeting the needs of Virginia businesses and realizing the aspirations of individual Virginians.
AN UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO
VETERANS A growing and increasingly diverse number of U.S. military veterans are enrolling in Virginia’s Community Colleges. Collectively, our colleges served nearly 38,746 veteran students during the 2015-16 academic year. Women accounted for nearly 30 percent of the veteran students compared to only 10 percent of the total U.S. veteran population. “The system is more user friendly for veterans today than when I was in college,” says Brenda Dixon, a professor of nursing at Germanna Community College. “We reach out to the veterans and employ coordinators to ease the transition of veterans to the college setting.” Dixon was the first in her family to attend college when she entered the nursing program at Germanna Community College
in 1980. There, a mentor’s stories of military service inspired her to enlist in the Army Reserve where she would go on to serve four years on active duty and rise to the rank of Lt. Colonel. She continued her education, earning a master’s degree and several postmaster’s certificates. Today, she is a professor at the community college where it all began. Dixon says the increased diversity seen among veteran students simply mirrors the larger community. “When I started teaching nursing in 1986, I was the only African American nursing faculty member. [Today] more minority faculty and students, from many different countries, are part of our campus fabric.”
â€œWe reach out to the veterans and employ coordinators to ease the transition of veterans to the college setting.â€?
VIRGINIA’S NEW ECONOMY Historic….transformative….game-changing. People have scrambled to find the right words this year to describe Virginia’s first-in-the-nation performancebased program to match people eager to find good jobs with businesses seeking skilled workers. Virginia’s “New Economy Workforce Credential Grants” will effectively slash student costs for targeted workforce training programs by twothirds, opening a new path to the middle class for thousands, and boosting the commonwealth’s economic climate. Governor Terry McAuliffe says the grants program will “ensure that Virginia has a 21st century workforce with the skills and experience to compete in today’s global economy.”
Approved by the General Assembly in March 2016, the program already was being implemented statewide on our campuses in July, thanks to yeoman’s efforts throughout our colleges. With the new grants and increases in other financial aid for students in workforce training programs, Virginia’s Community Colleges are helping Virginia businesses meet their needs for capable workers, and empowering citizens to earn valuable industryrecognized job credentials in weeks or months instead of semesters and years without incurring a mountain of debt.
A pair of students practice their newly acquired welding skills at Blue Ridge Community College.
AN INVESTMENT WORTH FIGHTING FOR A large crowd gathers at the State Capitol to witness the signing of legislation authorizing nearly $20 million for the new workforce credential grant program.
In both good and bad budget times, and regardless of which party is in control, the Virginia General Assembly has been the leading and most reliable funding partner to Virginia’s Community Colleges. The reasons behind the support are as varied as the lawmakers themselves.
“My son was pondering what general direction to take in life until he completed several community college courses. He later transferred to another college and, eventually, law school, and now he and I have practiced law together for more than 26 years,” Diamonstein said.
For some, like former Delegate Alan Diamonstein (D-Newport News), supporting community colleges feels personal, having witnessed their benefits first hand.
For others, like former Senator Walter Stosch (R-Henrico), it was about expanding opportunities. “The community college system had proved itself,” Stosch said, “but
there was more work to be done.” Stosch spent years of his career seeking ways to expand transfer opportunities and make them more flexible.
Both lawmakers served more than 30 years in the General Assembly and said, while the fight over public dollars was often fierce, the value of Virginia’s Community
Colleges was never in question. “It was good for Virginia generally and a huge benefit for individuals,” Stosch added.
TRANSFER: THE $45,000 QUESTION SHOULD I BEGIN AT A COMMUNITY COLLEGE OR A UNIVERSITY? Virginia’s Community Colleges offer unparalleled opportunities for those seeking more affordable, more accessible ways to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The reasons for pursuing a transfer pathway are as numerous and diverse as the students we serve. Some individuals lack the desire to leave home immediately after high school, the insight to know what they want to study or the money to do so, while others hold high-school transcripts illustrating a lack of focus they have since
outgrown. Increasingly, a number of students, and their parents, are rejecting the unnecessary debt load that university attendance often demands.
between individual community colleges and nearby universities. Virginia’s Two Year College Transfer Grants can make transferring more affordable.
Nearly 15,000 students transferred last year from a Virginia community college to a university – a process that is now easier than ever before. The VCCS holds more than three dozen guaranteed transfer agreements with public and private institutions. Even more agreements exist
Students who first complete their associate degree save as much as $45,000 on the costs of earning a bachelor’s degree, including room and board fees – demonstrating that they are financially smarter already.
TRANSFER INSTITUTIONS IN VIRGINIA
on cost of a bachelor’s degree in Virginia by earning associate degree at VCCS
For this year, the average cost of tuition and fees at a Virginia public institution was $12,137 full time for two semesters.
$24,270 A student who earns an associate degree could potentially save $24,270 in tuition and fees (assuming no tuition/fee increases over the next two years) and nearly $20,000 in room and board.
COMPLETION RATE Earning a VCCS associate degree before transferring to a Virginia public university provides students with an affordable, and successful pathway to completion.
These five institutions account for 66.5% of transfers in Virginia.
% completing % completing bachelor’s bachelor’s after 3 years after 10 years
JMU Completing associate degree 55% before transfer
Completing 15-30 credits 40% 75% (1-2 semesters of credit) TOTAL VCCS TRANSFERS IN VIRGINIA
Completing <15 credits 33% 69% (less than 1 semester of credit)
VCCS 50th Anniversary
LEGACY PROJECT Virginiaâ€™s Community Colleges have served more than 2.6 million individuals in our first 50 years. Sharing all those stories of transformation and personal success is nearly impossible. Our golden anniversary, however, offers us a special moment to share just a few of those uplifting tales. Between 1966 and 1972, Virginia opened 23 community colleges. Accordingly, through our next several annual reports, we will share with you the stories of special people: one will be a graduate from a collegeâ€™s earliest days; the second will be a graduate from the same collegeâ€™s 50th anniversary class. This then-and-now approach demonstrates the progress and promise that our colleges, and their graduates, offer the entire commonwealth. This inaugural segment of the VCCS 50th Anniversary Legacy Project features graduates from Virginia Western and Northern Virginia community colleges, our first institutions which both opened in 1966.
Dabney S. Lancaster Central Virginia Danville Wytheville John Tyler
NORTHERN VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Germanna Southside Virginia
Rappahannock Paul D. Camp Eastern Shore
VIRGINIA WESTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Mountain Empire Piedmont Virginia J. Sargeant Reynolds
FIRST VIRGINIA WESTERN GRAD CAME TO COLLEGE AND STAYED FOR A CAREER Charlie Newell still has his original diploma — and the program — from his graduation from Virginia Western Community College. There were six liberal arts majors and 18 business majors (including Newell). The rest of his credentials were in engineering technology. “If it had not been for the community college system I probably would not have gotten an education,” says Newell. “I was raised by a single mother – and money was a rare commodity.” But after a short stint in the U.S. Marine Corps after high school and a job back home in an auto parts store, Newell knew he wanted more out of life. At $45 per credit hour, the newly opened Virginia Western Community College fit the bill. Newell graduated in the first class after VWCC opened as part of the community college system. After graduating, he took a job in the business office – and stayed until his retirement in 2000, ultimately obtaining an MBA from Averett Unviersity. His master’s thesis was creating the first accounting automation system ever used at Virginia Western. Says Newell, “The community college system was one of the best things that happened to many Virginians, including me.”
A LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT GOES A LONG WAY FOR THIS VWCC GRAD The high cost of tuition at four-year colleges and the advice of a high-school advisor directed Evita Huang, 20, to Virginia Western Community College, where — with financial aid and scholarships — she graduated in May 2016 with an associate degree in science. While juggling a full course load, Evita embraced campus life, volunteering as a campus tutor, college ambassador, as vice president of the academic honor society, and as founder of the campus Circle K International service organization. Not even her busy schedule could stop her from earning a 4.0 GPA and being invited to deliver the commencement address. This fall Evita transferred to Virginia Tech where she is majoring in Biochemistry with plans to attend dental school after graduation. Evita is grateful to VWCC for helping her succeed. “The most valuable part of the community college experience was learning how to think for myself. I was nervous going in, but my professors, coaches and fellow students encouraged me to think independently and logically. Because of that, I gained confidence, the confidence to be myself.”
“THE ONLY CLASS RING I WEAR” Herb Rendo has a class ring from the first graduating class at Northern Virginia Community College. “It’s the only class ring I wear.” One of 90 graduates in that class, his associate degree in business administration has been a springboard to a rewarding career as a Certified Public Accountant. Rendo, among a group of early students who were “superinvolved,” was president of his class. “It turned my life around,” he says of his community college experience. “It was the time of my life.” But he arrived at NOVA almost by accident. At 17, the high-school graduate was working as a stock boy for Geico when he saw an ad for classes at what was then Northern Virginia Technical College. Knowing he needed more, he grabbed a friend and signed up at the Bailey’s Crossroads campus. The college became part of the Virginia Community College System the following year. After NOVA, Rendo attended VCU and American University. Now 70 and a heart transplant survivor, he recently completed a master’s degree at the University of Maryland and teaches accounting at Seminole State College in Florida. “NOVA was the beginning of a tremendous career and a tremendous life,” he says.
NOVA STUDENT OVERCOMES NUMEROUS CHALLENGES TO STAY ON TRACK Augusto “Gus” Infantas has faced numerous obstacles in his short 22 years. Born in Peru, and raised in America, Gus at first was unable to pursue a college education due to his undocumented immigration status and financial struggles. Instead, he began working full time to support his family. The one thing he did have was a terrific attitude that earned him a prestigious Valley Proteins Fellows scholarship to Northern Virginia Community College. After obtaining legal residency, Gus graduated in May 2016 from NOVA with a deep appreciation for what he learned there. “As a very non-traditional student,” says Gus, “I was nervous going into college. I was older and working two jobs all through school. But the diversity of people, thoughts and ideas made me comfortable. I was encouraged by faculty and other students to succeed. They motivated me to reach toward my goals.” Gus is now studying finance at the University of Virginia. “NOVA really sets students up for success,” he added. “You just have to be willing to work for it.”
STATE BOARD FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES
James Cuthbertson chair
Eleanor Saslaw vice chair
Four new members joined the State Board for Community Colleges for 2016-2017, including Nathaniel Bishop, David Broder, Dr. Joseph Smiddy, and former State Senator Walter Stosch. James Cuthbertson was elected chair for 20162017, and Eleanor Saslaw was elected vice chair. The 15-member State Board is appointed by the Governor to oversee the Virginia Community College System.
David E. Broder
Benita Thompson Byas
Douglas M. Garcia
Susan Tinley Gooden
William C. Hall, Jr.
“If a 25-year-old new immigrant can do it, anyone can.”
FROM THE CLASSROOM TO THE BOARD ROOM
Douglas Garcia, Bruce Meyer and Hank Chao have at least two things in common: all three attended Virginia’s Community Colleges, and all have served or currently serve on the State Board for Community Colleges. Community college has changed a lot since Meyer was a student at Tidewater Community College. Back then, the Kempsville campus didn’t have a gym, and there was precious little space dedicated to student activities. In fact, Meyer says his car became his “student center.” “Now, TCC’s academic buildings are state-of-the-art learning centers. Students have more elbow-room, and the technologies in some buildings are actually superior to those in many four-year colleges.” For Garcia, who helped operate a family restaurant while taking a full class load at Northern Virginia Community College, his fondest memory of NOVA is the devotion of the faculty which left an indelible impression on him. “The passion and dedication my professors exhibited on a daily basis is something I’ll always be appreciative of and remember to this day.” Hank Chao immigrated to this country from Taiwan while in his twenties. He, too, graduated from NOVA and would go on to become the State Board’s first Asian-American chair. Coincidentally, the reins were passed to Meyer after Chao’s term on the board expired.
(L to R) Former Community College students Hank Chao, Douglas Garcia and Bruce Meyer. All three men have served or are currently serving on the State Board for Community Colleges.
Chao says the American Dream is within everyone’s reach and Virginia’s Community Colleges are uniquely positioned to fulfill that dream. “If a 25-year-old new immigrant can do it, anyone can,” Chao said about earning a postsecondary credential.
COMMUNITY COLLEGE PRESIDENTS
John A. Downey Blue Ridge
John S. Capps Central Virginia
John J. Rainone Dabney S. Lancaster
Bruce R. Scism Danville
Linda Thomas-Glover Eastern Shore
David A. Sam Germanna
Gary L. Rhodes J. Sargeant Reynolds
Edward “Ted” Raspiller John Tyler
Cheryl Thompson-Stacy Lord Fairfax
J. Scott Hamilton Mountain Empire
Jack M. Lewis New River
Scott Ralls Northern Virginia
Angeline D. Godwin Patrick Henry
Daniel W. Lufkin Paul D. Camp
Frank Friedman Piedmont Virginia
Elizabeth H. Crowther Rappahannock
Alfred A. Roberts Southside Virginia
J. Mark Estepp Southwest Virginia
John T. Dever Thomas Nelson
Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani Tidewater
Gene C. Couch, Jr. Virginia Highlands
Robert H. Sandel Virginia Western
Dean Sprinkle Wytheville
ENROLLMENT: 2015-2016 1
BLUE RIDGE Est. 1967 Headcount Full-time Equivalent
CENTRAL VIRGINIA Est. 1967 Headcount Full-time Equivalent
PIEDMONT VIRGINIA Est. 1972 Headcount 7,595 Full-time Equivalent 2,983
RAPPAHANNOCK Est. 1971 Headcount 4,690 Full-time Equivalent 1,903
20 TIDEWATER Est. 1968 Headcount 37,428 Full-time Equivalent 17,353
NEW RIVER Est. 1969 Headcount 6,605 Full-time Equivalent 2,824
SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIA Est. 1970 Headcount 6,271 Full-time Equivalent 2,798
VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS Est. 1969 Headcount 3,022 Full-time Equivalent 1,501
DANVILLE Est. 1967 Headcount 5,007 Full-time Equivalent 2,224
NORTHERN VIRGINIA Est. 1966 Headcount 75,858 Full-time Equivalent 34,016
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Est. 1968 Headcount 3,545 Full-time Equivalent 1,817
VIRGINIA WESTERN Est. 1966 Headcount 11,850 Full-time Equivalent 4,568
EASTERN SHORE Est. 1971 Headcount Full-time Equivalent
PATRICK HENRY Est. 1971 Headcount Full-time Equivalent
WYTHEVILLE Est. 1967 Headcount Full-time Equivalent
GERMANNA Est. 1970 Headcount 9,520 Full-time Equivalent 4,300
PAUL D. CAMP Est. 1971 Headcount Full-time Equivalent
J. SARGEANT REYNOLDS Est. 1972 Headcount 16,236 Full-time Equivalent 6,817
JOHN TYLER Est. 1967 Headcount Full-time Equivalent
LORD FAIRFAX Est. 1970 Headcount Full-time Equivalent
MOUNTAIN EMPIRE Est. 1972 Headcount Full-time Equivalent
DABNEY S. LANCASTER Est. 1967 Headcount 1,806 Full-time Equivalent 714
THOMAS NELSON Est. 1968 Headcount 13,966 Full-time Equivalent 6,020
1 6 15 3
16 7 5 2
FINANCIAL STATEMENT (UNAUDITED) FOR THE YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2016
Operating Revenue Tuition and fees
Operating Expenses 361,226,808
Federal grants and contracts
State and local grants
Operation and maintenance
Sales/services of education departments Auxiliary enterprises (net of scholarship allowances) Other operating revenues
Total Operating Revenue
216,064 27,068,222 18,625,115
Net Nonoperating Revenue Capital appropriations (state and local) Capital gifts, grants and contracts
Total Operating Expenses
Grants and gifts
Scholarships and fellowships
Nonoperating Expenses Interest on capital asset related debt Other nonoperating expenses
652,736,894 75,867,187 6,241,169
Final financial statements will be published in November 2016.
TOTAL REVENUE BY SOURCE
Appropriations (state and local)
29% Tuition & fees
Other nonoperating revenues
Operating grants & contracts
Other operating revenues
TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES BY SOURCE
Scholarships & fellowships
Operation & maintenance
COMMUNITY COLLEGE ADVOCATE
PROMOTES AFFORDABLE COLLEGE ACCESS When planning for the 50th Anniversary of Virginia’s Community Colleges began in 2015, Joe Daniel, a longtime community college supporter, was eager to step up to co-chair the anniversary fundraising campaign to benefit students seeking academic opportunities and workforce training. “All I can tell you is I love working for Virginia’s Community Colleges — and I love what community colleges do for the commonwealth.” After struggling at college, Daniel attended a UVA branch college in Madison County — a precursor to the community college concept. That decision led him to the McIntyre School of Commerce at UVA and a successful business career.
He and his wife, Linda, helped start Germanna Community College’s foundation board back in the 1980s. Daniel also served on the State Board for Community Colleges from 1996-2001 and was vice chair in 1998-1999. He was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy in 2009, and a driving force behind the creation of the Joseph R. Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper. Daniel’s passion is reminding students they have an option that minimizes student debt. “Virginia’s Community Colleges have a tremendous impact on people’s lives every day, and we as a community must support this mission.”
“Virginia’s Community Colleges have a tremendous impact on people’s lives every day, and we as a community must support this mission.” 33
LaVonne Ellis retired after more than three decades as a faculty member at Tidewater Community College. But, for Ellis, retirement was only the beginning. Ellis was appointed to the State Board for Community Colleges in 2012 and used her tenure to visit nearly all 23 community colleges. “I don’t have a favorite college because each campus is different. Each one has different programs,” she said.
A LIFELONG COMMITMENT TO
In 2015, inspired by her visits across the VCCS, Ellis endowed a scholarship through the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. “I felt it was worth it. I’m not a rich person. However, I enjoy giving and helping.” Though her state board tenure has ended, Ellis remains focused on the VCCS, cheering on efforts to reach the Complete 2021 goal of tripling the number of credentials annually awarded statewide. “We have a lot of good faculty members and people who work very hard. I think the approach that’s being taken is a good one.” Ellis says she holds high hopes for what Virginia’s Community Colleges will accomplish over their next 50 years. “I just hope we as an organization continue to flourish and continue to do a great job in educating people.”
â€œI just hope we as an organization continue to flourish and continue to do a great job in educating individuals.â€?
HONORING THE PROGRESS OF OUR FIRST 50 YEARS EMBRACING THE PROMISE OF OUR NEXT 50 YEARS The urgency of the community college mission leaves little time for nostalgia or tradition. The mission is grounded in today’s needs and tomorrow’s aspirations. We help families grasp the next rung of the economic ladder; businesses find employees ready to seize the next moment; and communities become the place where the next big thing occurs. Accordingly, the celebration of our golden anniversary was always about looking forward. The 50th Anniversary Steering Committee, assembled by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, would not have it any other way. Thanks to their leadership and support, the anniversary itself became a launching pad, raising more than $1 million to fund the people and opportunities that begin our next 50 years.
50TH ANNIVERSARY STEERING COMMITTEE A stellar group of board members, donors and friends gathered to plan for a 50th Anniversary Celebration for Virginia’s Community Colleges. Pictured are, left to right, Mr. Doug Elliott, Ms. Eva Hardy, Mr. G. Gilmer Minor, Ms. Connie Kincheloe (co-chair), Mr. Joe Daniel (co-chair), Mrs. Dottie Whitt, Dr. Stewart Roberson, Dr. Jennifer Gentry, and Ms. Susan Payne. Also serving on the steering committee but not pictured are: Ms. Carolyn Berkowitz, Ms. Nancy Nagle Bolio, Senator Rosalyn Dance, Dr. Deborah DiCroce, Dr. Glenn DuBois, the Honorable Alan Diamonstein, Mr. Ron Holmes, The Honorable Eddy Dalton Phillips, Mr. Laurens Sartoris, Ms. Eleanor Saslaw, Mr. Knox Singleton, Mr. Gerald “J. J.” Smith, Mr. Blair Wimbush and Mr. John “Dubby” Wynne.
â€œIn every walk of Virginia life there will be thousands of men and women of every creed and color who will look back with grateful thanks to the new horizon opened for them in the classrooms and laboratories of our community colleges.â€? - Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr.
VIRGINIAâ€™S COMMUNITY COLLEGES 300 ARBORETUM PLACE, SUITE 200 RICHMOND, VA 23236