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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.


VCCS 50th Anniversary Annual Report