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About VWCC

About Virginia Western :: President's Office


In his 15 years at Virginia Western Community College, Dr. Robert H. Sandel has been the major driving force behind ensuring that the College is accessible, affordable and that its students are achieving success. He has focused on providing students with the skills they need to continue their education through one of the College's many guaranteed admission agreements with four-year colleges and universities or to enter the workforce immediately. And he has built lasting partnerships with businesses and community members throughout the region.

In a time of dwindling state resources, Dr. Sandel has made it a priority to provide Virginia Western students with the means for success. Recently, the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust committed $5 million over five years to create an endowment for scholarships in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and healthcare (STEM-H). The Community College Access Program (CCAP), which provides up to two years of tuition to area high school graduates covers Virginia Western's entire service region. Students from Botetourt County, Craig County, Franklin County, Roanoke City, Roanoke County and the City of Salem are all eligible to participate.

Dr. Sandel has also overseen extensive new construction, renovations and upgrades to campus. The Fralin Center for Science and Health Professions opened in Fall Semester 2013. The building includes state-of-the-art labs and classrooms for programs in nursing, dental hygiene, radiography, radiation oncology, biology, chemistry, geology, physics and more. A Student Life Center opened in Fall 2014, providing students with ways to exercise, relax and enjoy extra-curricular activities and clubs. Meanwhile a new STEM Complex and parking garage are in the design phase with expected openings by Fall 2018.

A native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Dr. Sandel is a Roanoker at heart. He was named Roanoke City Citizen of the Year in 2013. He has been actively involved in the community, serving on numerous local and state boards including as chair of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Pre-K Committee for Smart Beginnings and president of the Board of Trustees for the LewisGale Medical Center. Dr. Sandel served as the chair for the VCCS Achieve 2015 Strategic Planning process for the entire 23-college system.

Dr. Sandel earned his bachelor's degree from The Citadel, his master's degree from South Carolina State University and his doctorate from the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining Virginia Western, he was president of Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap and he has been a community college educator for more than 30 years.

Dr. Sandel's wife, Jane, is a retired educator who taught at Salem High School. They have four children and 11 grandchildren.

President Robert H. Sandel

Contact Us

Phone: 540-857-VWCC (8922)

3093 Colonial Ave., SW
Roanoke, VA 24015