MARTINSVILLE, VA – Virginia’s State Board of Community Colleges voted Thursday to add an ampersand to Patrick Henry Community College’s name.
Last July, the State Board of Community Colleges directed all community colleges in Virginia to review their names for appropriateness. After a year of review and discussion, Patrick Henry Community College’s Local Board presented a letter to the State Board suggesting that PHCC should continue to be named after the counties it serves. The Local Board offered to insert a hyphen or ampersand to more clearly delineate the name’s geographic connotations. Without punctuation, the name Patrick Henry could stand for the Revolutionary War hero Patrick Henry who owned slaves.
At the last meeting of the State Board, the board members considered adding a hyphen to PHCC’s name (which is the way that the college’s name first appeared when it was founded). At that meeting, the State Board appeared to reject the hyphen and asked PHCC to reconsider their suggestion to retain their name.
Several things occurred between today’s meeting where the State Board agreed to insert an ampersand and the last State Board meeting in May. The college solicited public feedback regarding its name and PHCC’s local board met over a series of special called meetings to review this feedback. The public also provided feedback through social media and by writing opinion editorials in the local paper. PHCC’s Foundation Board –which is a separate entity from the Local Board – crafted a letter that they sent to the State Board. The Foundation Board would be responsible for any costs related to a name change.
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,” says 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.”
Now, PHCC and the other colleges that have been directed to change their names will begin the process of creating new visual identities and replacing anything that displays the old name. For PHCC, the process has been simplified because the name is not changing significantly. However, the college will produce a new official logo featuring the ampersand and will begin using this logo in place of the previous one. The compass will remain unchanged.
All of the colleges have been given until December 31, 2022 to fully implement their changes.
For members of the community who would like to learn more about this change and what it means for the college and the communities it serves, PHCC will be producing a Question and Answer session with President Greg Hodges in the following weeks. Please follow Patrick Henry Community College of Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to view this Q&A.