MARTINSVILLE, VA – In May, Virginia’s State Board of Community Colleges rejected Patrick Henry Community College’s recommendation to retain its name. The State Board also rejected the idea to add a hyphen into the college’s name. However, the State Board, which has the sole authority to change –or retain—a name of a college, has provided PHCC an opportunity to propose a new name.
Today, during the first of four special-called board meetings to discuss the renaming, PHCC’s Local College Board voted to take that opportunity and make the best of it. PHCC’s Local College Board also voted today that the community should be included in the process of recommending a name.
Starting today, community members and college constituents can submit name suggestions at www.patrickhenry.edu/CollegeName. The survey will close on June 14. At that time, PHCC’s Local Board will convene to vote on the top suggestions. The Board will then submit the top-voted suggestions to Virginia’s State Board of Community Colleges.
This renaming discussion began nearly a year ago when the State Board called for all of Virginia’s community colleges to review their names for appropriateness. After a lengthy and thorough review process, PHCC recommended to the State Board that it should retain its name. However, the State Board instated a policy during its May 2021 meeting that delineated how the appropriateness of a college names would be determined. In light of this new policy, the board rejected PHCC’s recommendation to retain its name.
The new policy states that institutions’ names “should reflect the values of inclusive and accessible education articulated in the VCCS mission statement, with special emphasis on diversity, equity, and opportunity, and be relevant to the students it seeks to serve and to the geography of its service region.”
To discuss the renaming, PHCC’s Local Board Chair called four special-called meetings. The remaining meetings will occur at noon on Thursday, June 10; Tuesday, June 15; and Monday, June 21. At the last of these meetings, the Local College Board intends to have a shortlist of names it can send to the State Board.