“Auld Lang Syne”. You may have heard or sung that Scottish tune that brings to mind people and things from the past, even very “long, long ago.” At year’s end, many of us reflect on all of the things that have impacted our lives during the past twelve months. I would like to take this opportunity to share with the community several highlights that have helped to make 2016 another wonderful year for Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.
DSLCC continues to grow and expand in many ways. There have been some stellar accomplishments to report. DSLCC reported an 11% increase in enrollment for the Fall semester, the highest increase in the Virginia Community College System. Two of our newest programs--Electrical & Instrumentation Technology and Arts Management--have made an impact on the community. These accomplishments were due to the terrific and dedicated faculty and staff at the College. Their efforts to help our students succeed in their career aspirations are commendable.
We have been fortunate to secure a number of Federal grants. Funding was extended for an additional five years for both of our TRiO programs, Educational Talent Search and Student Support Services (SSS), known as The Achievement Center. In addition, DSLCC is a partner is a partner in two large America’s College Promise grants from the United States Department of Labor. Funding will help to provide resources for the college to expand education and training for those who wish to enter and advance in skilled employment in the areas of advanced manufacturing and allied healthcare.
In June, we concluded an outstanding major gifts campaign that raised $4.1 million for scholarships, equipment, and new program initiatives. This is an excellent example of how DSLCC is truly a college that is an integral part of the community it serves.
All of you are part of our community college in some way; you may be a student, one of the thousands of graduates who have earned academic awards from the college, an employer who hires our students, or a resident who has a friend, neighbor, co-worker or family member at DSLCC as a student, instructor or member of the staff. If DSLCC has not yet been a part of your life, we invite you to join us soon. Visit our campus in Clifton Forge or our Rockbridge Regional Center in Buena Vista. Register for a class, prepare for a new career, take general education courses for a strong foundation and transfer, take a course just for fun, or participate in an activity or special event. All are invited and all are welcome—DSLCC is in YOUR community and is YOUR college.
We all have challenges and DSLCC is no exception. Sources of funding from the Commonwealth are shrinking and we continue to be warned that further financial challenges may face us in the coming year. This is not pleasant but it is a reality. We will do our best to move forward, working smarter and analyzing how all of our resources are used for maximum return, and most importantly, how best to serve our students. We also face the fact that while we live in the information age, there are many things about DSLCC that not all residents know. Not everyone is aware of how much lower our costs are than those at a four-year college or university. Not every public school student and their family know that they may earn some type of credential from DSLCC even before they graduate from high school! Not everyone knows that DSLCC graduates have gone on to advance and excel in nearly every field of employment from law to medicine to business and others in both the private and public sector. DSLCC has been many things to many people and our goal is to engage even more members of the community. Together, we can achieve that!
We continue to lay out a growing number of pathways to college and career success. We invite you to become part of the wonderful community resource that is Dabney S. Lancaster Community College. My best to you for a safe, happy holiday season, and a wonderful New Year.
Dr. John J. Rainone
Note: This is a reprint of a Letter to the Editor to the local newspapers and online news outlets.