State Board Initiates Name Review at PHCC

PHCC Patrick Henry Community College - Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

MARTINSVILLE, VA – At its most recent meeting, the State Board of Virginia’s Community Colleges issued a resolution for all twenty-three community colleges in the Commonwealth to review the names of their respective buildings, facilities, or college names. Each college’s local board will lead the review process and will be expected to provide a full report to the State Board by March 2021 for final review. Ultimately, any decisions for changing the name of an institution will be determined by the State Board.

In response to the State Board’s resolution, PHCC’s College Board Chair Janet Copenhaver wrote in an email to her fellow college board members, “The review process will include an historic review, a cultural review, a public feedback component, a philanthropic impact review, and a financial analysis. Our top priority is the success of our students and our community. [….] Our goal is to conduct this review with a commitment to mutual respect, integrity, transparency, and professionalism.”

To carry out the state’s directive, PHCC’s college board is forming several review committees. Each committee will include at least one board member, college employee, student representative, subject-matter expert, and research support personnel. Copenhaver will lead the review committee for the college’s name. The vice-chair of PHCC’s College Board, Dr. Denny Casey, will lead the review committee for examining the building names. The immediate past board chair, Berry Helmstutler will lead the Financial Analysis Review Team which will assess the potential financial and philanthropic impact that could be incurred should a change be deemed necessary. Other teams will review the college’s mascot and any named facilities.

To provide a thorough and fair review to the State Board, PHCC’s College Board will be seeking feedback from the communities it serves. The board plans to survey alumni, current and prospective students, area citizens, and business leaders.

“We are aiming to provide the State Board with an accurate assessment of the appropriateness of every name that we have been asked to review,” says Copenhaver. “Ultimately, though, PHCC’s mission and purpose are to serve the local community. Therefore, we will rely heavily on the community’s perspective to inform our responses.”

Once the review is submitted, the State Board of Community Colleges will assess the information therein to determine whether a change will be necessary. Only the State Board has the authority to change a community college’s name. The college invites anyone who would like to share comments or feedback regarding this review process to email