BRCC Educational Foundation Awards $227,991 in Scholarships

During the 2011-12 academic year 187 BRCC students benefited from $227,991 in scholarship awards.  Scholarship recipients were given the opportunity to meet the donors who helped make their education possible at the annual scholarship luncheon held on April 13th.  In this challenging economy, scholarships are more important than ever, and help people reach their educational goals.

Student speaker Brooke Bailey expressed her feelings in a memorable and compelling manner:

“Receiving a scholarship has changed my educational experience, as well as my life.  I have also been talking with other students who received scholarships, and they all want the donors to know that we appreciate their help and support, and that this inspires us to give back to our community as we are able.”

Brooke received the Massanutten Lions Club James Martin Memorial Scholarship.  She conveyed her heartfelt thanks, and spoke on behalf of all BRCC scholarship recipients:

“I know I can say on behalf of all students in this room, we thank you for your overwhelming financial support.  Without your selfless sacrifices some of us wouldn’t even be here and would have had to abandon our dreams on the side of the road.  For some of us, the only way that we can continue our education is if we have people like you that are willing to donate in faith that we will be able to achieve our goals by succeeding in college.  We all want a better life than we have now, and for us, receiving an education is how we can start that process.  So, once again, thank you for your generosity and sacrifice.”

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Center for Academic Vision and Excellence (aka The CAVE) Opens

Once an ordinary classroom, BRCC room A110 has been transformed. The Center for Academic Vision and Excellence, better known as The CAVE, was unveiled in March. The beautiful new facility will address the need for improved face-to-face connections between faculty and students to keep students academically engaged.

“Students and faculty have indicated they needed a place like The CAVE, and I am really looking forward to seeing it come to life,” says Vice President of Instruction and Student Services Dr. Bob Young.  Two grants—one for $100,000 from the BRCC Educational Foundation and one for $45,000 from Virginia Community College’s Chancellor’s Innovation Fund —are bringing the center’s vision into focus.

The mission of The CAVE is to “enhance student academic success by increasing student engagement with academic resources outside the classroom.” Faculty members across a variety of curricula will offer academic guidance and programming in The CAVE. Dr. Julia Lewis, assistant professor of sociology, served as coordinator of the center during the spring semester. Lewis notes, “The CAVE will give students a place to have a cup of coffee while they work in study groups, discuss group projects, seek help with their coursework, or just get to know their professors in a setting that is less formal than a classroom or faculty office.”

The room will feature state-of-the-art technology, including two “Mediascapes”— collaborative workstations that allow group members to display their individual laptop screens to the entire group—as well as laptops available for use in the room, and comfortable,  versatile furniture that can be configured for one-on-one tutoring or collaborative group work.

The CAVE will be the new home of the peer tutoring program as well. “The peer tutors are really looking forward to using the new larger space and the latest technology in The CAVE,” states Katrina Farmer, peer tutoring coordinator. In addition to peer tutors, a number of faculty members will hold office hours in The CAVE to assist any students in their areas of expertise. Math and English faculty will schedule “open houses,” blocks of time when they will provide academic assistance to students. “We want students of all ability levels to feel comfortable dropping by for help with a math problem, a writing assignment, or any other coursework issues they may encounter,” says Lewis.

Visit The CAVE website for a virtual tour:

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The Blue Ridge Community College SIFE team was named the Regional Champion at the SIFE USA Regional Competition held in April in Baltimore, Maryland. The event was one of 11 SIFE USA Regional Competitions being held across the United States in March and April. Other colleges and universities in this regional competition included James Madison University, the University of Virginia, and Ferrum College.  As a SIFE USA Regional Champion, the BRCC SIFE team  advanced to the 2012 SIFE USA National Exposition in Kansas City, Missouri, where they placed in the top eight teams in the country and won the Spirit of SIFE award.

Participating students use business concepts to develop community outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. During this academic year, the Blue Ridge Community College SIFE team organized 16 projects in the Shenandoah Valley community.

BRCC SIFE is well known for their work in Haiti, and will be returning there in June.  They were recently awarded a $2,000 Lowes Community Improvement Partnership Grant; the grant will be used to help the small mountain village of Mon L’opital, Haiti in opening their first general store and bakery. BRCC SIFE worked with villager residents to convert and upgrade an existing building for use as a village general store and bakery. BRCC SIFE will travel to Haiti to assist with the final preparations for the store’s grand opening.

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BRCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Chapter Recognized

At the annual Virginia Regional Convention in March, Alpha Xi Xi members Rachel Lam and Jo Fulk were named to the Virginia Region Hall of Honor. The chapter also received honors at the international level and earned 5-star status, the highest such status available in the Phi Theta Kappa 5-Star Development Program. The chapter was also recognized as a Distinguished Chapter.

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BRCC Students Win Poetry and Art Awards

Blue Ridge Community College students Stephanie Bottoms and Jay Ripley recently won national awards for poetry and artwork from the Community College Humanities Association.  Ripley received an Honorable Mention award for his acrylic paintings, six of which also appeared in 540 Magazine. The Mount Sidney resident is pursuing an associate’s degree in art. Bottoms, a Verona resident, won an Honorable Mention award for her poem, The Reese’s Klondike Dance, published in 540 Magazine, BRCC’s literary magazine. Bottoms is a College Transfer major at BRCC and plans to study neuroscience at The College of William and Mary.

BRCC student Zoya Saadatmand’s photograph has been selected as a finalist in an international collegiate photography contest sponsored by Nikon and Photographer’s Forum magazine. This is a competitive contest with over 17,000 photographs being entered–only 10% of these are selected for publication.

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BRCC Selected As One of America’s Top Military-Friendly Colleges

Military Advanced Education (MAE) has selected BRCC for inclusion in their 5th Annual Guide to America’s Top Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities. From community colleges to state universities and nationally known centers of higher learning, the annual guide provides service members with information about schools that go out of their way to give back to our men and women in uniform. “Blue Ridge has seen a rapid increase in enrollment by veterans in the last few years.  We have a dedicated veteran’s counselor, an outstanding financial aid department, and a growing number of scholarships to support of veterans,” said Dr. Bob Young, BRCC’s Vice President for Instruction and Student Services.

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Blue Ridge Community College Announces BioProcessing Program

In response to local industry demand for bioprocessing training for incumbent workers, BRCC has developed a bioprocessing program that was officially unveiled to business and economic leaders, educational partners, as well as local government officials at SRI International on April 26th.  “This program will have an immediate impact on the workforce needs of existing industries like bioscience, food processing and agriculture in the Shenandoah Valley. Over time, it will also be an important tool in the recruitment of new companies to the region, as we can showcase employees with technology based skill sets” explained Robin Sullenberger, CEO of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership.

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Planned Giving Corner

Want to raise your income, lower your taxes, and help hard-working young people all at the same time? A charitable gift annuity may be just for you!  A gift annuity is a gift of cash or stock for the benefit of the BRCC Educational Foundation, resulting in a lifetime of fixed payments back to you (plus a spouse or other family member).  Your gift also benefits the Foundation – and BRCC students – entitling you to an immediate and significant tax deduction!

Using appreciated stock for a gift annuity will avoid capital gain tax.  The gift annuity payments will reflect the stock’s full fair market value.  Or use cash (like a renewing CD paying low rates) and receive much of your annuity payments tax-free! There are many possibilities, but each one means that you will be building a legacy of hope and opportunity for deserving members of our community. Contact the BRCC Educational Foundation today to learn more : Sally Jane Conner, P.O. Box 80, Weyers Cave, VA 24486, 540-453-2211, or

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Graves- Light Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors Honored

Graves- Light Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors of Harrisonburg, Virginia, has earned the 2012 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy.   The firm was nominated for the award by Blue Ridge Community College.  The award was given at a luncheon ceremony at the Country Club of Virginia on April 17th.  Graves- Light Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors has been a strong supporter of BRCC since 1994, and believes that BRCC enhances the quality of life in our community by providing a cost-effective and quality education for our citizens.

The Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy luncheon is hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) to honor the leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges as well as the statewide foundation.  This marks the seventh year the awards have been given. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of more than $48 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

“These philanthropic leaders are tremendous partners,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “These individuals, organizations and employers are difference-makers who play an essential role in helping our colleges fulfill their mission of addressing Virginia’s unmet needs in higher education and workforce development.” The honored philanthropists will have a scholarship named after them which will be awarded next fall to a student attending their community college.  The one-year scholarships are funded by Wells Fargo and Dominion.

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BRCC Commencement 2012

BRCC is the right choice for so many in our community.  This was evidenced by the more than 500 degrees, diplomas, and certificates conferred at BRCC’s 44th commencement ceremony on May 12th, and the crowd of over 2,000 family and community members who were in attendance to show their support.  Senator Mark Warner added his greetings and advice to that of keynote speaker Julien G. Patterson.  Both implored graduates to learn from failure and use their imagination to inspire success.  Taylor Fix, who received her associate of arts and sciences degree on Saturday, was this year’s student speaker.  She plans to transfer to Virginia Tech and double major in Animal and Poultry Science and Agriculture and Applied Economics.

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