It was a day of camaraderie and collaboration as the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) hosted a welcome reception for the region’s new community college presidents.

Dr. Jacqueline Gill-Powell, Danville Community College (DCC), and Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC), took the helm of their respective institutions on July 1. By virtue of their positions, they will each have a seat on the SVHEC’s Board of Trustees.

“We enjoyed a phenomenal day meeting and celebrating with our new community college presidents. Both presidents impressed me as sincere, down-to-earth, collaboratively-minded professionals who want to do what’s best for students. I’m excited to work with them to strengthen our region,” said Dr. Betty Adams, SVHEC executive director.

Johnson said, “We are excited about our partnership with the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. Many thanks to Dr. Adams, and the entire SVHEC team, for the warm welcome and excellent tour provided during the recent reception in South Boston. We are looking forward to building a stronger partnership moving forward as we collaborate to better serve the workforce and educational needs of the Southside Virginia region.”

The tour of SVHEC facilities provided Gill-Powell and Johnson with an opportunity to learn more about the SVHEC, their off-campus operations at the center and options for expanding the community colleges presence. A welcome reception provided community leaders and stakeholders with a chance to meet and introduce themselves to the new presidents.

“The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center provides a great opportunity for the people in Halifax County to receive a quality education at DCC and other institutions,” said Gill-Powell. “As I gain more understanding during my first year as president at DCC, I look forward to collaborating on future initiatives with SVHEC. Expanding on the key partnerships we have developed in South Boston and Halifax County to bring in-demand workforce training opportunities to the great people of Southern Virginia is something the three of us, Dr. Adams, Dr. Johnson and myself do not take lightly and will make every effort to ensure the success of this new chapter together. I am humbled and honored to have been so warmly received by the community at the elaborate reception held on July 31. I look forward to extending that same warmth and welcome to students, colleagues and new industry partners as our regional economy continues its transformation.”

DCC and SVCC are founding partners at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, with a collaboration that dates back more than 30 years. Today, the majority of students who attend classes at the center are enrolled with one or both community colleges.

“The SVHEC can’t be successful if our community college partners are not successful,” Adams said. “I pledge that the SVHEC will do everything it can to support and complement the work of our community colleges and to focus on the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Adams believes those future opportunities include:

• Developing feeder programs from SVHEC technical programs to community college associate degree programs;

• Featuring community college degrees in an upcoming marketing campaign;

• Participating in the college and career readiness initiative under the Halifax County Community Strategic Plan; and

• Expanding the use of technology to livestream instruction from DCC and SVCC campuses to the SVHEC.