Virginia’s Community Colleges Celebrate Fifty Years of Progress; Promise for the Future

VCCS Logo webVirginia’s Community Colleges are marking the 50th Anniversary of the statewide system of comprehensive community colleges in 2016 with a year-long observance that celebrates the progress of the past 50 years as well as the promise of the future.
And one part of that year-long observance is to ask community members to share their stories regarding what community colleges have meant for them. A web landing page has been created to collect those stories at, and they will be shared later in the year at events commemorating the system. Community members are welcome to share stories from a student, family, business, or government perspective, past or future, about how community colleges have strengthened the community – and student lives.
“We know that there are numerous people who have been affected by their decision to attend Paul D. Camp Community College and who have successes to share,” said Dr. Renee Felts, vice president for institutional advancement at Paul D. Camp Community College and executive director of the PDCCC Foundation. “We encourage you to visit the VCCS site to let others know how you rose above hardships or secured a job. The successes of others inspire those who think they cannot afford college or fit workforce training in their busy schedules.”
Virginia’s Community Colleges were created by the General Assembly in 1966 to provide comprehensive institutions that addressed unmet needs in higher education and workforce training. By 1972 there were 23 community colleges located across the state in a master plan that put access to quality higher education within a short drive of every Virginian.
Since then, Virginia’s 23 colleges have served well over 2.6 million people, awarded more than 575,000 credentials and associate degrees, and launched countless numbers of transfer students into bachelor programs, advanced degrees and successful careers. The Franklin campus of Paul D. Camp Community College has been serving the community since its opening in 1971 and was followed by the establishment of the Smithfield site in 1993. Although there was an earlier version of the Hobbs Suffolk Campus on Pinner Street, the current building on Kenyon Road opened in 1995, followed by the Regional Workforce Development Center in 2002.
In 2016, Virginia’s Community Colleges are celebrating tremendous gains while enthusiastically looking forward to the profound difference community colleges will make in Virginia’s new economy over the next half-century.