Dr. John A. Downey became the fifth President of Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave in 2009.
Prior to being named president, he served for four years as the Vice President for Instruction and Student Services at the College. Downey has also worked as Coordinator of Counseling Services and as an Academic Division Dean at Blue Ridge. Before starting at the College in 1992, he worked in the Admissions and Student Activities offices at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, Massachusetts. Downey received his Bachelor of Arts degree from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York, and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. He completed his doctoral program in Higher Education Administration at the University of Virginia, where he was awarded the Annette Gibbs Research Publication Award.
Downey is currently the Chair of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) 2021 Strategic Initiatives Task Force, where he will lead that group’s efforts to create the next VCCS six-year strategic plan. He also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank – the largest organization alleviating hunger in western and central Virginia through a network of approximately 250 member agencies. In fall 2014, Dr. Downey was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the GenEdge Alliance (aka A.L. Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership) Board of Trustees.
Under his leadership, BRCC has garnered recognition from around the state for its progressive workforce initiatives and partnerships. For the past five years, Blue Ridge Community College has been recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great Colleges to Work For” program. In 2010, he was recognized as the most supportive president of the year at the Enactus (formerly SIFE) National Exposition.