MARTINSVILLE, Va. – On Thursday, Virginia’s State Board of Community Colleges decided to let Patrick Henry Community College keep its name — for the most part.
The community college will add an ampersand to its name and it will now be referred to as Patrick & Henry Community College. This change was made to recognize the counties that it serves.
College leaders explained that the school was named after Patrick and Henry Counties rather than Virginia’s first and sixth governor, Patrick Henry, who owned slaves from the time he was 18, according to Thomas Kidd’s book on him, “Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots.”
This name change comes after nearly a year of back and forth with the State Board after it asked the college to change its name two times. Last month, the college sent a letter to the School Board stating that the name change would hurt enrollment and cost it more than $1,000,000.
“On behalf of the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and local board of Patrick & Henry Community College, I express my deep appreciation for the leadership of the State Board in this important renaming process,” said PHCC’s President, Dr. Greg Hodges. “We are grateful that the State Board has put forward a name for our college that allows us to maintain the names of the counties that we serve. Patrick & Henry Community College has a rich history of educating students, closing equity gaps, and lifting families out of poverty, and we are excited to move forward in this work while preserving the names of the regions served by our college.”
In addition, the State Board unanimously approved new names for John Tyler Community College, Lord Fairfax Community College. John Tyler Community College will become Brightpoint Community College and Lord Fairfax Community College will become Laurel Ridge Community College.
The Board also approved a recommendation from the local advisory board of Dabney S. Lancaster Community College to change its name. In the fall, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College and Thomas Nelson Community College are expected to return to the Board to recommend new respective names.