State board approves new community college name

Virginia’s Community CollegesThe State Board for Community Colleges unanimously approved a new name for a college at its regular meeting this week.

The institution formerly called Thomas Nelson Community College will become Virginia Peninsula Community College.

“This new name emphasizes this college’s community and sends a welcoming and inclusive signal to the students they serve and those they seek to serve,” said NL Bishop, chair of the State Board for Community Colleges. “I commend the college leadership who led a thorough and inclusive process to examine the college’s name and move the institution forward. Community colleges are life-changing institutions, and we want every single person in the community to understand that he, she, or they are welcome here and we exist to help them move forward.”

This week’s decision is the fourth to change the name of a Virginia community college. An additional institution, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, is expected to propose a new name for itself and seek board approval in November.

“Hundreds of names were suggested as the College began consideration of a new name,” said Thomas Nelson President Dr. Towuanna Porter Brannon. “Narrowing the list of suggestions down to three was no small task. However, when speaking with diverse groups of students, faculty, staff, and alumni about the new name, one theme continued to emerge – ‘Virginia Peninsula Community College represents me.’ I believe we have identified a name that is welcoming, inclusive, and representative of our unique region.”

The board’s decisions represent the latest step in a process that began more than a year ago when it asked local college advisory boards to review the appropriateness of the names of their college, campuses, and facilities.

In May, the board adopted a new policy requiring college names to “Reflect the values of inclusive and accessible education articulated in the VCCS mission statement, with special emphasis on diversity, equity, and opportunity, and be relevant to the students it seeks to serve and to the geography of its service region.”

The board, by policy, carries the sole authority to decide the names of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

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