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Josh Meyer

Virginia Western’s new STEM Facility taking shape

Despite the snow that blanketed the region last week, construction of Virginia Western Community College’s new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Facility is progressing at a rapid pace. In the past two weeks, steel beams were installed, giving passersby an idea of the size of what will become the largest building on Virginia Western’s campus.

The STEM Facility will be over 72,000-square feet and feature engineering fabrication, mechatronics, computer, organic chemistry and biotechnology labs along with new classrooms to promote collaborative and interactive STEM learning. The $30-million plus project is slated to be completed by Spring Semester 2019.

“Now more than ever, the Roanoke Region is poised for economic growth in STEM and healthcare-related industries,” President Robert H. Sandel said at a July 2017 groundbreaking ceremony. “This modern learning environment will give our students the technological tools and hands-on training to become leaders in the workforce and drive continued growth.”

Virginia Western is serving the needs of the local economy by growing and developing STEM programs in partnership with businesses that need a highly trained workforce. Companies coming into the region such as Ballast Point Brewery, Deschutes Brewery and Italian auto parts manufacturer Eldor Corporation are seeking graduates who possess the certified skills and problem-solving ability to make their processes efficient.

“We are listening to industry needs and tailoring our programs so we can best serve businesses and our students, who are seeking strong careers in the region,” said Amy White, Dean of STEM. “The creation of this cutting-edge STEM Facility coincides perfectly with the local growth in these high-demand jobs.”

To find out more about Virginia Western’s STEM programs, visit www.virginiawestern.edu/academics or call (855) 874-6690.


Join us for “I Persist” panel discussion on Feb. 5

Virginia Western Community College invites the public to attend a free discussion, I Persist, where panelists will share inspiring stories of how they overcame obstacles to gain their education and build fulfilling careers and lives.

Members of the panel will share their journey, answer questions and interact members of the audience.  The purpose of the event is to motivate students early who may feel alone or contemplating whether or not school is for them. By connecting students with the panel of individuals who have shared similar experiences will encourage and provide the confidence to persist and overcome their challenges to succeed academically.


I Persist panel discussion


10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 5


Whitman Theater, Virginia Western Campus (Directions and parking)


Anita Price – Vice Mayor, City of Roanoke; Virginia Western Alum
Annette Lewis – School Board Member, City of Roanoke
Elvir Berbic – Students Affairs Manager, Virginia Tech; Virginia Western Alum
Tracey Giordano – Culinary Arts graduate and Military Veteran; Virginia Western Alum
Cheryl Cunningham – Educator, Staff Technologist at Carilion Clinic; Virginia Western Alum


Bianca Holman – WDBJ7 Reporter

For more information on the I Persist panel, please contact James Cabiness, Roanoke City CCAP Success Coach, at 540-857-6644 or jcabiness@virginiawestern.edu.

Call for nominations for Distinguished Alumni Award

For many individuals, the road to lifetime achievement started at Virginia Western Community College.  The Virginia Western Alumni Association established the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006 to recognize those alumni who have achieved outstanding success and made a lasting impact on their community. The award highlights the diversity of Virginia Western graduates and their impact on the community.

The 2017 Distinguished Alumni honoree was Dr. Carol Swain, a nationally recognized author, public speaker and political commentator.

Anne Hogan (’76), a previous honoree, serves as chairwoman of the Virginia Western Alumni Association.

Eligibility requirements:

To be eligible for nomination, the candidate must:

  • Be a graduate of or have completed a minimum of two semesters at Virginia Western Community College.
  • Have attained extraordinary distinction and success in his or her profession or life.
  • Be a person of such integrity and stature that the College will take pride in his or her recognition.
  • Have attained regional, statewide or national prominence and significant involvement in civic, cultural or charitable affairs.

How to nominate:

Anyone may nominate a Virginia Western Community College alumna/us or former student for this award by completing a nomination form.  This form can be submitted online or downloaded from the College’s website at virginiawestern.edu/alumni:

Distinguished Alumni Nomination Form 2018 – PDF

Distinguished Alumni Form 2018 – Online

Two letters of reference are also required.

Deadline: Nominations must be received by Feb. 28, 2018.

For more information, contact Amanda Mansfield, Donor Relations Coordinator, Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation, at amansfield@virginiawestern.edu or (540) 857-6962.