“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.