Eighties: A Time of Redefinition"
complete description of “The Eighties: A Time of Redefinition,”
see A Journey Through the Years: A History of New River Community
Changes and Events
in Physical Structure
Hall, with its two classrooms, faculty offices, student lounge,
bookstore, Learning Resource Center, and new automotive and
machine shops, was ready for occupancy at the beginning of the
1980’s. The original library in Godbey Hall had been converted
into a business laboratory.
Because the College still had only half the room it needed to
serve the enrollment at the time, efforts were underway to find
funds for a third building for occupational-technical programs.
On September 21, 1980, a dedication ceremony was held for the
two buildings on campus. Governor John Dalton was featured speaker.
The buildings were named Godbey Hall and Martin Hall in honor
of the first two board chairmen at the College.
In 1984 news came that a $5.5 million building for NRCC was
included in Governor Robb’s proposed budget for the 1984-1986
biennium. The approval of a new building meant the possibility
of getting rid of eight “temporary” structures that
had been used for 12 years.
In July 1985 groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the campus’s
third building, which would later be named Rooker Hall. This
would be the first building on campus to be funded from general
appropriations. A total of 45,000 square feet would be added
to the campus with the completion of the building.
During the mid-1980’s Delegate J. Robert Dobyns and Delegate
Danny Bird were active in their efforts to find funding for
a fourth building, a Regional Center for Economic Development.
Finally in 1987 Delegate Dobyns announced that House and Senate
subcommittees had recommended approval of planning money for
construction of this regional center.
Rooker Hall was dedicated in 1988, with Governor Gerald Baliles
and the College’s first president, W. Robert Sullins,
The College’s new auditorium was dedicated in memory of
C. E. Richardson.
issues dominated media coverage of NRCC and the rest of the
In 1982 in-state students saw a 45 increase in tuition rates,
with single course charges rising from $32.25 to $46.50; out-of-state
students saw an 83 percent rise in tuition.
In 1982 the state experienced a shortfall in projected revenue,
resulting in a $175,000 cut for NRCC.
Citing budget issues as the reason, NRCC President Randall Edwards
announced a major restructuring, which would go into effect
July 1, 1983.
In September 1983 the College hosted a meeting of 250 leaders
from business, industry, politics, and education to discuss
major issues facing the VCCS as an eighteen-year-old system.
The year 1984 saw additional budget cuts, first by 5 percent
and then later by an additional 6.5 percent within the VCCS.
Computerized registration was implemented during spring of 1984.
Ed Barnes, dean of academic and student services, announced
that he would leave NRCC to become dean of the Technical College
of Alamance in North Carolina.
Douglas D. Warren was named the new dean of academic and student
Even in the midst of declining enrollments, NRCC graduated its
largest class in its 15-year history in June 1984.
The College celebrated its fifteenth anniversary during October
In January 1985 Governor Robb recommended additional cuts to
funding for community colleges; however, by February news came
that the General Assembly had restored 70 percent of the proposed
funding cuts from allocations to community colleges.
In June 1985 a student transfer agreement between NRCC and the
public school divisions of the New River Valley was established
to give high school drafting and business education students
an opportunity to earn credit for selected freshman courses
During the 1986-1987 academic year, tuition costs were reduced
to $17 per credit.
In February 1988,
the College received reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern
Association of Colleges and Schools.
In spring of 1988
Edwards announced that he had accepted an administrative position
at George Mason University, where he would assume the duties
of administrative vice-president. At George Mason, he would
work to strengthen and build the economic “bridge”
from Northern Virginia to the New River Valley.
Mark. Q. Emick,
Sr., was named interim president of the College. Emick came
to NRCC from Virginia Western Community College, where he served
as assistant to the president.
In fall 1988 the
VCCS switched from a quarter to a semester schedule.
Floyd Hogue became
the College’s third president, replacing H. Randall Edwards.
NRCC received a
U. S. Senate Productivity Award for an LRC project entitled
“Employee Involvement and Empowerment at New River Community
During the 1989-1990
academic term, the annual unduplicated head count enrollment
exceeded 6,000 for the first time in the history of the College.
In 1989 it was announced
that the fourth building project at NRCC had been placed on
the Governor’s Prioritized Capital Projects budget.
at the beginning of the decade, computer technology was already
leading to major changes within curricula at the College. Courses
in word processing were developed and offered for the first
time using the Lanier No-Problem Typewriter. Other programs,
including electronics, machine technology, automotive technology,
were integrating computer technology into their programs.
During the 1980-1981 academic year, the College obtained approval
from the state Board of Nursing for an associate degree nursing
program, which would begin in September 1981. Eighteen students
finished the first year of the program before they went on to
Wytheville Community College for their second year.
NRCC became the first community college to offer a certificate
in forensic science.
For the 1981-1982 and 1982-1983 academic terms, new offerings
in the curriculum included sociology of aging, the plays of
Shakespeare, and introductory course in world religions, an
evening seminar on math and science concepts which were common
to the new technologies, and a six-credit arc welding course.
Curriculum advisory committees were established to ensure that
the College’s curricula addressed existing and future
needs of business and industry.
In fall of 1984, the College added a two-year program in data
During the 1985 fall quarter, the College began an honors program.
The honors option was available in English composition, American
history, biology, college mathematics, and American literature.
In 1987 a two-year program in interpreting for the deaf/sign
communications was offered. During the same year, NRCC became
the first college in Virginia to offer a career studies certificate
program in hazardous materials.
In 1988 three low-productivity programs were discontinued, including
educational services, industrial production and safety technology,
and vehicle and equipment technology programs.
Throughout the decade, the number of industrial training programs
New trends in instructional delivery included competency-based
education and distance education through telecourses, teleconferences,
and media-based independent learning course.
In 1989 dual enrollment courses were offered for seniors in
advanced placement English and government classes in order that
they could earn both high school and college credit.
Office of Continuing Education entered the 1980’s ranking
third in the state for enrollment in noncredit programs. During
the 1980-1981 academic term, the office offered 115 sections
of 50 separate noncredit courses, serving more than 6,411 individuals
in 15 different locations throughout the New River Valley.
In 1982 seminars were offered to help businesses cope with role
changes that were resulting from new office technologies.
In 1984 workshops were sponsored for women interested in production-line
employment within industries.
Special events coordinated by the Office of Continuing Education
included a poetry contest for senior citizens, a folk life week
for children, a dream seminar, a workshop on geriatric suicide,
as well as courses on wood stove design, handguns for women,
karate, and bass fishing. The office also sponsored a trip to
the 1982 World’s Fair.
Programs and Services
the beginning of the 1980’s NRCC was one of only two institutions
in Virginia and 60 in the country with programs for the hearing
The Career Development Center added a computerized guide, called
DISCOVER, which allowed students to review updated career information.
The 1980’s saw the establishment of a Center for the Learning
Disabled, a Model Women’s Program in Nontraditonal Careers,
a regional center for displaced homemakers, and another program
for women in five technical curricula.
For several years during the 1980’s, the College offered
CETA funded on-the-job training and summer youth employment
Bobbie White set aside an area within NRCC’s Learning
Resource Center for a New River Valley archive collection.
During the latter part of the decade, the College was part of
several collaborative efforts. It joined six other Virginia
community colleges in sponsoring a job fair. Then in 1988 NRCC
and Radford University received funds from the State Council
of Higher Education for Virginia to jointly sponsor a Minority
Academic Incentive Program. In the same year, the College joined
several agencies in the New River Valley to help ensure skills
training for 173 dislocated workers from the AT&T plant
in Fairlawn and the Lee Company in Pulaski.
Throughout the 1980’s the College maintained a focus on
economic development, with the College maintaining its own Center
for Training and Development, composed of business and industry
leaders. It was also an active member of a three-year pilot
technology transfer program, a joint effort between the Virginia
Community College System and the Virginia Center for Innovative
In collaboration with Pulaski County High School’s APPALKIDS,
the NRCC Appalachian Awareness Committee and the office of Continuing
Education sponsored an annual observance of Appalachian culture,
bringing local and nationally acclaimed scholars and performers
to the college community.
With funding from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
and Public Policy, the College hosted a series of lectures and
discussions on the “New Woman of the South.”
The decade also saw the beginning of two campus organizations,
the Ambassadors Club and an alumni association.
the first years of the 1980’s, the NRCC Educational Foundation
was established. By fall of 1981, the College had launched a
charter member fund drive with a goal of $100,000. The year-long
drive began with “A Stroll Down Broadway” and ended
with a Renaissance Garden Ball.
Some of the earlier contributions came to the NRCC Foundation
from the C. E. Richardson Benevolent Foundation, the Allied
Corporation, and memorial contributions.
In 1983 the Foundation sponsored a day of festivities called
“Wild, Wonderful Wednesday,” in addition to a harvest
ball to raise additional funds.
By early 1984, the Foundation had received donations valued
During spring of 1984, the College Relations Office and student
volunteers began its annual alumni phonathon to raise money
for scholarships awarded by the College.
By spring of 1986, the Foundation had approximately $320,000
in liquid assets and approximately $500,000 in gifts of equipment.
In addition, the list of endowed scholarships began to grow.
By fall 1986, the Foundation began to award student scholarships.
By the 1987- 1988 academic year, 19 full-tuition scholarships
had been awarded to students attending New River.
1980’s saw the hiring of 30 percent of the faculty and
staff who were employed full-time during the 2001-001 academic
year when A Journey Through the Years: A History of New
River Community College was being compiled.
The 1980’s were marked by sadness concerning the deaths
of two NRCC employees, Patricia Goad and T. J. Anderson. Goad
worked for more than six years in the data processing department.
Anderson was director of student affairs.
Changes in personnel and positions during 1983 included the
appointment of J. Doyle Lyons to the position of coordinator
of information services; of Peggy R. Dalton to secretary to
the chairman of the Division of Arts and Sciences; of Brenda
H. Jones to secretary to the chairman of the Division of Technologies;
Bettie S. McMillan, to information processing specialist; and
Phyllis M. Anderson to cashier in the business office.
In 1985 Helen M. Harvey was named chair of the Division of Technologies.
In 1986 Lucy J. Prillaman was named coordinator of the Center
for the Hearing Impaired at NRCC.
Special recognition was given during the 1980’s to Ken
Long, assistant professor of economics, for the publication
of Introduction to Economics; to Ernie Garter, an employee in
the Office of Buildings and Grounds, for his construction of
a device to help an NRCC student overcome academic barriers
posed by retinitis pigmentoso; to Jeffrey Bartkovich, director
of learning resources, for his 1982-1983 award for outstanding
dissertation of the year; and to Arthur G. Rupard, Jr., retired
professor of electronics, who was named professor emeritus at
The NRCC College Relations Office won a merit award in the 1984
National Honors Recognition Program sponsored by the Council
for the Advancement and Support of Education.
In 1985 the NRCC Support Staff Assembly initiated an outstanding
employee award. Recipients of this award included Sara Olsen,
Debra Bond, Evelyn Richards, Donald Lee Oliver, and Judy Ratcliff.
Members of the LRC staff received a Community College Association
for Instruction and Technology award for video production, in
addition to a Senate Productivity Award. In addition, the photographs
of Eric Brady were selected for display at the Fine Arts Center
A. William Claussen was awarded a national Endowment for the
Humanities stipend to study twentieth century American architecture
at Columbia University.
During spring 1988 the NRCC Educational Foundation sponsored
three faculty sabbaticals. Anne Folsom, Roger Adkins, and Joe
Cochran were granted one- semester sabbaticals for professional
In 1989 Ronald R. Dodson was awarded the Virginia Community
College Chancellor’s Fellowship.
the beginning of the 1980’s to the end of the decade,
NRCC’s Phi Beta Lambda chapter continued its record of
recognition at state and national conferences.
Early in the decade, NRCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Society established
a scholarship for one quarter’s tuition for a deserving
Fifty-seven Hercules supervisors at Radford Army Ammunition
Plant graduated from a 26-credit hour training program. A similar
program was held for Electro-Tec in Blacksburg.
The accomplishments of three NRCC students were featured in
local newspapers. These students included Scott Long, Sabrina
Conner, and Tony Duran-Ballen.
The decade ended with a special gift to the campus from a student-sponsored
fund raiser. Students raised $1,741 to purchase three concrete
patio tables with benches. These were placed on the patio between
Martin and Rooker Halls.