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A Journey Through the Years

A Summary of
“The Seventies: A New Beginning”

(For a complete description of The Seventies: A New Beginning, see A Journey Through the Years: A History of New River Community College.)

Picture of book

The First Year

  • W. Robert Sullins, former dean of instruction at Wytheville Community College, was appointed first president of New River Community College.

  • In June 1970 Sullins announced that a $678,000 budget had been approved for NRCC’s first year of operation as a comprehensive community college.

  • Douglas D. Warren, chairman of the Division of Engineering Technologies, was   selected to participate in the Leadership Training Program for Administrators of New and Developing Junior Colleges.

  • The curriculum was expanded to include associate degree programs in business management, accounting, and secretarial science; as well as college-parallel programs in pre-teacher, business, science, and liberal arts education. Developmental courses were also added to help underprepared students get ready for their degree curricula.

  • Because only about one third of he new building on the main campus site would be ready for fall 1970, classes were conducted at numerous locations throughout the service region.

  • John C. Clem, as dean of student services, directed a staff of counselors which included Sibyle C. Ferrell, Edward C. Crews, and Gordon T. Jonas.

  • Other appointments included W. C. Martineson as dean of instruction, Ben Collins as dean of   financial and administrative services, Joe S. Dixon as chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics, Edward Huber as coordinator of library services, and Allen O. Kinzer as head of continuing education.

  • Along with new administrative staff, new faculty were added: Tom Diamond in biology; James Bennett and Wilma Clay in mathematics; Nancy Bird, Margaret Smith, and Bonnie Vass (Wynn) in English.

  • By November of 1970, more than 1,000 students were enrolled in credit and noncredit courses.

  • NRCC biology professor Tom Diamond and his students produced a video display in recognition of the first Earth Day.

  • As the 1970-71 academic term neared completion, an open house was held to show off the final phase of the completion of the first building on the new campus.

  • The NRCC annual, titled Reflections, was dedicated to Sibyle Ferrell. 1971-1973: Years of Optimism and Growth

  • The College initiated cooperative education, an Office of Continuing Education, and programmed modular instruction. Emphasis was placed on developing close ties with New River Valley businesses and industries, as well as on professional development activities for faculty and staff.

  • More than 1,000 students registered for the fall 1971 quarter, representing an increase of 57 percent over the total enrollment during the previous fall. The most popular programs continued to   be in the occupational-technical fields with 478 students enrolled for credit in these programs.

  • Replacing W. C. Martineson, dean of instruction, was W. Ronald McCarter, a native of Alamance County, North Carolina. Other additions to the NRCC faculty and staff included Brenda Jones, Charlie White, Virginia Wilson, Edith Ruben, Ron Dodson, Peggy Rusek, Craig Smith, Bobbie White, Rusty Stephens, Norman Scott, and Peggy Taylor. At the end of the year, William J. Dawson, Jr., was appointed chairman of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences.

  • Certificate programs in drafting and design, automotive engine mechanics, electronics and electricity, industrial instrumentation, and machine tool operations were added. Plans were made for a police science program which could lead either to a one-year certificate in law enforcement or to an associate degree in police science.

  • Transfer agreements were made with Bluefield State College and Virginia Tech.

  • A cooperative education program was established.

  • Joe S. Dixon, chairman of the Division of Science and Mathematics, launched a programmed modular instruction project which allowed students to complete class requirements at their own rate.

  • Quarterly enrollment by the Office of Continuing Education was exceeding 400 students.

  • Former Governor Mills E. Godwin delivered the 1971 graduation address.

  • Two student organizations, the Omicron Psi Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda and a Veterans Club, were established.

  • The 1972-1973 academic year saw a marked increase in the number of faculty and staff. One of these, Edwin L. Barnes, was appointed chairman of the Division of Business and Public Service Technologies. Other additions included Peggy H. Galloway, Bettie S. McMillan, Nancy L. Hamblin (Waddle), Roland M. Biesecker, Helen M. Harvey, J. Doyle Lyons, Lawrence S. Tibbetts, and Marvin Painter (Bud) Long.

  • In 1972 the State Board for Community Colleges adopted a major/core curricular design for all associate degree programs.

  • In October 1972 a self-instructional learning laboratory began full operation. Norman Scott, coordinator of library services, announced the addition of a closed circuit television system. Other new technology included IBM Executive Mag-Card typewriters in college offices.

  • The College, in cooperation with the Virginia Bureau of Correctional Field Units, offered instruction for selected inmates at the Pulaski Correctional Unit.

  • Graduate courses were offered by Virginia Tech for NRCC faculty. Several faculty members initiated work on their doctorate degrees through these classes.

  • In December 1972 the College received full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

  • Tenure was abolished in the Virginia Community College System.

  • The Omega Eta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa was established in spring of 1973.

  • Several physical changes were evident in the physical environment of the campus, including new tennis courts, an athletic field, and plans for a new building.

1973-1976: Facing New Challenges

  • The College was struggling with diminishing resources, increased accountability, and overcrowded facilities with a record enrollment of 1,713 students during fall of 1973.

  • A certificate program in welding and associate degree programs in automotive technology, electrical technology, electronic technology, instrumentation technology, and machine technology were approved.

  • Changes were seen in instructional methodology as faculty were being trained to prepare self-instruction instructional modules.

  • The number of academic division was expanded from two to four. A fifth, the Division of Developmental Studies, was added later.

  • New positions included a director of institutional research, data processing coordinator, director of cooperative education, and administrative assistant to the dean of instruction were added to the administrative structure.

  • The Office of Veterans Affairs was established in September 1973.

  • Administrative and staff personnel changes included the departure of W. Ronald McCarter, Allen O. Kinzer, and C. Edward Huber. New additions included Peggy R. Dalton, Karl Bren, E. Jon Bruns, Joseph L. Sheffey, Ronald E. Chaffin, Dotty Talbott, T. J. Anderson, Rita Dixon, Elizabeth Garter, and Jack Lewis. New faculty included Eddie Goodson, Anne Folsom, Teresa Johanson, Tom Fagan, Irene Barr, Lee Anderson, Charles D. Dean, Kenneth E. Long, E. Lewis Martin, Rebecca M. Ridpath, and Thomas C. Flohr.

  • A group of area citizens, including NRCC music instructor Larry Long, established the Old Pros, a band that would continue into the next century.

  • Drive for Show, Inc., a driving range for golfers, opened on June 28, 1974, on the NRCC campus.

  • The New River Center for Supervisory Development, funded through a Title III grant, was initiated.

  • A new associate in applied science degree in banking and financial management was approved.

  • The mid-seventies became a time of diminishing resources for NRCC and other colleges within   the VCCS. In addition, it was a time of close examination of accountability and questioning of college practices by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.

  • After serving more than six years as the first president of NRCC, W. Robert Sullins accepted a position on the Virginia Tech education faculty.

  • In May 1975 the College’s first literary magazine, OPUS I, was published. During the same month   the New River Community College Secretarial Association was   established.

  • Annual Appalachian Awareness Week observances began in 1976.

  • In June 1978 NRCC joined the country’s Bicentennial celebration.

  • Dr. H. Randall Edwards was named president of NRCC, replacing W. Robert Sullins.

  • Edward C. Crews became acting director of continuing education, replacing Karl Bren, who left the school to join the 1977 gubernatorial campaign of Attorney General Andrew P. Miller.

  • Joseph L Sheffey, who had served as coordinator of student activities, assumed the responsibilities of director of the student financial aid program.

  • June and Winston Miller coordinated a major campus landscaping project.

  • Accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools was reaffirmed.

1977-1979: Defining the Image

  • In fall 1977 the College experienced a record enrollment with over 2,790 students, representing more than an 11 percent increase over the projected enrollment.

  • The College’s pre-school education program opened a child care facility. The center, called the Early Learning Center, was staffed by Onoleee Zwickee as director and Linda Capone (Claussen) as head teacher.

  • During spring of 1977 the Learning Resources Center became “computerized.” For the first time, students could have a complete printout of library holdings on a particular topic or by a certain author. They could also have access to a Library of Congress call number list, which provided all items available in a particular section of the collection.

  • The Virginia Community College System began offering a course statewide via television. During the same time NRCC joined 45 other locations in Appalachia providing courses by satellite.

  • Tutoring services through a Developmental Opportunities lab were offered to bring students’ basic skills to the level required for postsecondary courses.

  • The College received grant funding to establish a Center for the Hearing Impaired, which began operation in the fall of 1979.

  • The first NRCC Career Day was coordinated by Gordon Jonas of the Career Development and Placement Office.

  • An alumni association, directed by Ron Harriman, was established.

  • Edwin L. Barnes, who had served for five years as chairman of the Division of Business and Public Technologies and acting dean of instruction, became the dean of instruction. Jack M. Lewis was named director of management information systems, planning, research, and analysis. Ron Chaffin was appointed director of continuing education and community services.

  • New faculty included several who would remain with NRCC into the twenty-first century: Debra Bond, Linda Claussen, Bruce Brown, John Burkett, Brenda Lyons, Tom Owen, Bonnie Perry, Sharon Ratcliff, and Jeananne Dixon.

  • NRCC’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda was named outstanding chapter for the state.

  • Throughout the end of the decade, attention continued to focus on the overcrowded conditions of the school. Finally, the education portion of a $125 million bond package was passed guaranteeing NRCC $2.5 million for the additional space.

  • The College was awarded $130,000 from Title III. Funds were to be used for administrative improvement, improvement of instructional delivery, career development services, developmental opportunities, and curriculum development.