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New name approved for Virginia community college

Banners with the Dabney S Lancaster name hang at the Clifton Forge campus.
Banners with the Dabney S Lancaster name hang at the Clifton Forge campus.(WDBJ7 Photo)
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 7:29 PM EST
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CLIFTON FORGE, Va. (WDBJ/VSBCC Release) - The Virginia State Board for Community Colleges has unanimously approved a new name for one Virginia college.

An institution established in the early 1960s in Clifton Forge, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, will become Mountain Gateway Community College.

The decision represent the latest step in a process that began in the summer of 2020 when the state board asked local college advisory boards to review the appropriateness of the names of their colleges, campuses and facilities. The board has now approved name changes for five colleges.

The decision was based on Lancaster’s history.

“I applaud the hard work these colleges and their leaders have done to ensure that their institutions are welcoming and connected to the students they serve and the students they seek to serve,” said NL Bishop, chair of the State Board for Community Colleges. “As a graduate of a Virginia community college, I know how life-changing our colleges can be and I want every single person, regardless of gender, race, or background, to know that we exist to welcome them and help them succeed.”

“I am grateful for the State Board’s support. Mountain Gateway is the result of a great deal of work on the part of many people. The name reflects the geography of our service region and celebrates the inclusiveness and welcoming environment to all the students, businesses, and the community,” said John Rainone, president of Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.

In May, the board adopted a new policy requiring college names to “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.” The board carries the sole authority to decide the names of Virginia’s community colleges.

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