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…