Virginia Western racquetball team wraps up season strong

The Virginia Western Community College racquetball team finishes its first season in the MidAtlantic Collegiate Racquetball Conference in seventh place out of 15 teams. The conference is open to colleges and universities in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, West Virginia, east Tennessee and the District of Columbia.

Four team members: Nick Taylor, Cedric Hall, Ansel Steele and Kaitlin Wray represented Virginia Western this past season.  What makes their achievement noteworthy is that they competed against other colleges who fielded teams of up to sixteen players.  Students may compete in one of four divisions against others at the same skill level in both singles and doubles.  Tournaments are conducted in the Olympic format thereby ensuring each student with multiple matches.  Participants earn points for their individual rankings as well as for their respective colleges.

The Virginia Western team practices at the Kirk Family YMCA and is coached by former college instructor Phil Wheeler, who also serves as the commissioner of the conference. Assistant to the Dean of Student Services, Bonny Wheeler, is the team advisor and serves as the assistant commissioner of the conference.

The racquetball club is seeking new members.  For more information, students may contact: Bonny Wheeler in Chapman Hall (C102) or by phone 540-857-6348. Coach Phil Wheeler at vadriveserve@gmail.com or by phone 540-721-9035.

Posted on March 20, 2015 in Campus News | Permalink

Application period for Fall 2015 scholarships at Virginia Western now open

Virginia Western Community College’s tuition is approximately one-third that of a typical four-year college. However, many students continue to face financial hardships that prevent their access to education, causing barriers to future growth and achievement. Individuals, businesses, community organizations and corporations have generously invested in scholarships at Virginia Western, making college possible for many deserving students.

Prospective and current students can apply for Fall Semester 2015 scholarships between now and 4 p.m. on Friday, May 15, 2015, at virginiawestern.edu/foundation/scholarship. Scholarship awards range from $500 to $2,000 per semester.

Highlighted are several new scholarships making an impact on the lives of students:

  • Shenandoah Life Annual Diversity Scholarship may be applied to tuition and other related fees for students enrolled in the Business Science or Humanities Division. The scholarship is awarded to diverse students with cultural experiences; first priority is given to students who fluently speak Spanish.
  • Dr. Betty Turner Shepherd Nursing Endowed Scholarship covers full tuition and other related fees to students entering the second semester of the Nursing Program.
  • Dr. George K. Bowers Youth Haven-Sanctuary Annual Scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate financial need, and  meet one of the following criteria:  finished a prescribed program at Youth Haven or Sanctuary; attended Youth Haven or Sanctuary for a substantial time; attended counseling sessions with the Roanoke Juvenile Services and are recommended by the Youth Care Administrator of the Roanoke Juvenile Justice Services Division;  been recommended by the courts of Roanoke City, Roanoke County and Salem and the Probation Departments of each locality; and youth who are before the court on petition, or youth who are before Juvenile Intake on a complaint in the City of Roanoke, City of Salem, or County of Roanoke.
  • Encore Capital Group Inc. Community College Scholarship helps to cover costs for tuition, books and other related expenses to students pursuing a certificate or associate’s degree.
  • Shentel Foundation Annual Scholarship helps to cover costs for tuition, books and other related expenses to students, full- or part-time, who are graduates of Botetourt or Franklin high schools and live in those counties. Preference is given to first-generation college students who demonstrate an interest in community service.

The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation awarded more than $136,000 in scholarships to nearly 100 students for the 2014-15 academic year. At a ceremony on March 25, the college will honor its scholarship recipients and donors.

For more information about the scholarship process or to learn how to establish a scholarship, contact Carole Tarrant, Coordinator of Development, at (540) 857-6281 or ctarrant@virginiawestern.edu.

Posted on March 3, 2015 in Campus News, Educational Foundation | Permalink

Virginia Western Educational Foundation’s new workforce credentials scholarships help non-credit students seeking employment

The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation has awarded its new Workforce Credentials Scholarship to the first two recipients. Marvin E. Jennings of Boones Mill and Harold A. Young of Roanoke recently received financial assistance in pursuing certification in the College’s Industrial Maintenance Technician (IMT) Program.

The Workforce Credentials Scholarship, established in 2014, is designed to support Virginia Western students seeking non-credit, industry-recognized credentials in fields such as welding and maintenance, mechanical systems, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, and electrical control systems. Students engaged in non-credit coursework are not eligible for federal financial aid.

“With this scholarship, we are addressing a growing need for students who want to pursue credentials yet face significant financial obstacles,” said Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti, executive director of the Educational Foundation and Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Virginia Western. “We are supporting a statewide effort to increase noncredit opportunities for students.”

The Workforce Credentials Scholarship will support educational assistance such as tuition, books and fees for students facing life circumstances that affect their ability to fund their education. Applicants encouraged to apply are: workers who have been laid off or lost their jobs for reasons other than misconduct; military personnel discharged honorably; those who are unemployed or underemployed; those who are unemployed due to a medical condition or disability; and independent business owners.

“Without the funding provided, I would remain unemployed ‑ at best, underemployed,” said Jennings, an honorably discharged infantryman. “With this funding I will be able to complete IMT training and obtain employment in the field of industrial maintenance. The funds will create life opportunities previously unavailable to me.”

Young was laid off after being employed at ITT Exelis for 15 years. During his search for a new career he discovered he needed new skillsets and credentials.  The scholarship helped help Young pay for class supplies.

“I’m currently exceeding expectations and I feel very confident that, once I complete my Industrial Maintenance Technician certification, I will be able to add significant value to an employer,” Young said.

The Workforce Credentials Scholarships will be available year-round. For more information, contact one of Virginia Western Community College’s Career Transition coaches:  Deb Squire, (540) 857-6296, dsquire@virginiawestern.edu; or Amanda Decker, (540) 857-6279, adecker@virginiawestern.edu.

Posted on February 27, 2015 in Campus News, Educational Foundation | Permalink

Richard J. Gaynor Memorial Scholarship to honor service of Virginia Western professor

The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation has established a new scholarship fund, The Richard J. Gaynor Memorial Scholarship, in honor of Richard (Rich) Gaynor, a professor of mental health technology from Salem who loyally served the College for 33 years and passed away Feb. 12.

Created through an initial gift of $10,000 by family members, the Gaynor scholarship will provide assistance for tuition, books and other related expenses to students enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester in a program of study with a cumulative 2.5 grade point average. Students may apply beginning March 2 for fall 2015 scholarships at virginiawestern.edu/foundation/scholarship.

Gaynor joined the faculty at Virginia Western in September 1977. During his time at the College he served as the assistant dean for the Social Sciences division and as the program head for the Human Services program. He taught a variety of classes for that program, and was named Virginia Western’s Faculty Marshal for 2011, retiring that same year.

Gaynor “truly was the heart of the Human Services program for the many years that he served the program and its students,” said Dr. Annette Chamberlin, program head for Social Sciences. “His students did not just respect him, they adored him, and they would do anything to earn his respect in return.  It was a sad day for the College when he retired, and it is an even sadder day today to know that we have lost one of the most brilliant professors we have ever had in Human Services.”

Gaynor received his bachelor’s in psychology from Christopher Newport College, his master’s in clinical psychology from Radford University, and his master’s in educational counseling from Radford University.

In 1993, Gaynor was honored with the Chancellor’s Commonwealth Professor award. This award is designed to recognize teaching excellence and to provide the recipient with the opportunity to pursue a special project. He used this award to establish a partnership with Radford University to offer a bachelor’s of social work on the Virginia Western campus.

Dr. Jim Sargent, former dean of Health and Human Services and Gaynor’s supervisor and colleague, praised Gaynor as “an innovator, always working to integrate technology into the classroom as well as to improve his teaching skills.

“Roanoke Valley employers prized students from Virginia Western’s Health and Human Services program over those graduating from four-year colleges and universities,” Sargent said. “That is a fine testament to Rich Gaynor, the quality of his teaching, his advising and counseling of students, and his fellow faculty members.”

In addition to dedication to his family and his work at Virginia Western, Gaynor maintained a private counseling service, helped start two free medical clinics, and enjoyed camping, hiking, golf and photography.

Gaynor’s colleagues were also his golfing buddies, and touted his exploits on the golf course.

Dr. Gary Dent, professor of history, said Gaynor “was an excellent mentor, always on the cutting edge of technology.  The times and memories I will always treasure, however, are those as friend and golf partner.

“Once, when I was just starting out in golf, Rich hit his ball into a sand trap,” Dent recalled.  “He told me this would be an excellent opportunity to show me how to get out of the sand and onto the green.  He unintentionally hit his ball out of the trap all the way over the green and into the trap on the other side.  He then headed over to his ball and hit it back into the same trap he was in originally. I told him, ‘I think I am getting the idea.’  We laughed about that many times.”

Donations can be mailed to The Richard J. Gaynor Memorial Scholarship, c/o VWCC Education Foundation Inc., 3093 Colonial Ave., Roanoke, VA 24015. To contribute online, visit http://goo.gl/DYIMoc. For more information, contact the Educational Foundation at (540) 857-6281.

Posted on February 19, 2015 in Campus News | Permalink

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