Mountain Gateway Community College name change becomes official

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 10:56 PM EDT
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ALLEGHANY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Dabney S. Lancaster Community College is now known as Mountain Gateway Community College. The official change comes after more than a year of reviews and searches to rename the college.

In 2020, the Virginia State Board for Community Colleges called on colleges in the state to review their names. That review led to Dabney S. Lancaster Community College as whole learning some of Lancaster’s history.

Lancaster had been a college president and the first superintendent of education in the state, but a look back shows he also supported segregation and had ties to a white supremacy group.

The local board then proposed a name change to the state. The college then formed a 25-member renaming task force. It started with 437 names and got down to three. A final survey led to the choice for Mountain Gateway Community College. It was then unanimously approved by the state in late 2021.

July 1, 2022 that name change became permanent.

”Now we’re starting our 61st year really as Mountain Gateway Community College, so it really will take us into the future. I think it’s a fresh name, a bold name and really represents our entire service without sliding one community over another,” said Dr. John Rainone, president of the college.

The banners are already on display at the college and a sign-unveiling ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Friday to celebrate the occasion. It is open to the public.

For more information on the college’s history and a timeline of the name change process, head to its website here.

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