Southside Virginia Community College has received the Gerald L. Baliles Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative Award from the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education to increase high school and college completion.

The award was renamed to honor the legacy of Gerald L. Baliles, the 65th governor of Virginia, a native of rural Patrick County and a forward-thinking leader. Baliles worked to ensure that all Virginians had access to education and training.

The Gerald L. Baliles Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative Award is aimed at reducing the number of rural residents without a high school diploma from 1 in 5 to 1 in 10, and to increase the number of rural residents with an associate’s degree, diploma or certificate from 26% to 52%.

To date, the initiative has provided more than $10 million in direct and matching funding toward achieving these goals. Significant outcomes indicate that the population of the region aged 25 and over without a high school degree has decreased by 4.2% and those with at least an associate’s degree has increased by 4%.

SVCC was one of 13 colleges to receive the award.