It is a truly great time to be at Danville Community College.

For more than 50 years, DCC has been transforming the lives of our students and the communities we serve by providing a high-quality, affordable education. I am grateful and elated to begin this journey as president of this great institution.

When I took office on July 1, I was well aware of many of the challenges that DCC faced, centered around nearly a decade of enrollment decline. What I learned after I arrived is the tenacity of the college personnel, the #DCCfamily, and their deep love for the college and her students.

Students are the first priority on this campus, which may read as a given, considering that we are an institution of higher learning. Experience has taught me that not all institutions are created equal, and equity, representation, and access are three vital areas on which I am focused during my first year as DCC’s sixth president.

I have encouraged the college, and now I am encouraging the community to embrace a growth mindset about DCC. I believe that DCC can provide every person in this community opportunities for them to grow and learn. Despite obstacles that may arise, I want to assure you that DCC will continue to enhance our ability to help others rise above challenges and come out stronger on the other end.

In 2019, the community college must be vigilant and steadfast in service to its students. Let me say that another way: Service is a critical role of the community college in its service region. DCC supports students in the counties of Halifax and Pittsylvania and the city of Danville. Each of these localities have unique needs, and it is up to the college to meet and support those needs in favor of student success and, ultimately, attaining gainful employment.

Danville Community College is leading the charge in the region to provide a skilled workforce for manufacturing and cybersecurity industries throughout the commonwealth in our state-of-the-art welding and precision machining facilities as well as our National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security-endorsed cybersecurity program. Additionally, we are committed to diversity and inclusion, by providing programming and services to students with disabilities, military veterans, foster care children, GED students, working adults and high school students.

DCC offers many community support programs, through which we strive to address poverty in the community and provide opportunities for victims of inequity to obtain the skills and motivation necessary to succeed. More information about these programs is available at

My vision for DCC is simple, but multifaceted. We will bring the college into the 21st century with new classroom implements in support of student learning and technological competency. We will be systematically student centered in all aspects of the college operation. College employees will be empowered to affect change where needed and to see how their work supports the college mission. DCC will expand its commitment to industry to support businesses and coordinated regional economic development efforts. We will be accessible to the entire community we serve and constantly seek ways to improve the quality and variety of the services we provide, based on community needs.

All of what makes DCC extraordinary, the students, the alumni, the faculty, the staff, the retirees, the administration, the community stakeholders and everyone who is part of the #DCCfamily, will be “UKnighted,” meaning that we are all DCC Knights, and we are all moving in the same direction that will lead us to progress in the community and success for all of our graduates.

There is not a single part of this community that DCC hasn’t touched or to which DCC isn’t connected. That has been a well-kept secret, but it is a new day in Danville, and we are going to charge ahead with the tenets on which the college was founded and which can be seen on our college seal: Dignity, commitment and courage.

DCC is doing big things in this new era. We have already hosted Virginia Governor Ralph Northam twice in the past three months and I have had the great honor to meet with many people from all areas in this very special community.

If we haven’t met yet, you can expect to see me soon.

I plan to embark on a listening and learning campaign, engaging with faculty, staff, students, alumni, businesses, educational institutions and local community members. What I learn will inform institutional priorities for the next few years so please do not be shy about sharing what you want and expect from DCC.

I’ve seen how DCC employees, individually and collectively, make a difference in the lives of those in our community. DCC will continue to do our part through the tremendous impact we have on the students in our classrooms. I want to publicly appreciate the DCC faculty, staff and administrators for bringing their talents and experiences to DCC and distinguishing this college as a place where individual passions can be fully realized.

I’m so happy to be here, and if you’re looking for an engaging, enlightening and life-changing experience, come find your place to believe and belong at DCC. Now is the perfect time to become a DCC Knight and together, we can build a brighter future. Come join us at DCC where we are UKnighted.

I invite you to visit our beautiful campus on South Main Street anytime and join us as we realize our shared vision and take our community to new heights.

Jackie Gill Powell is the sixth president of Danville Community College.