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Scott earns 2nd Donald G. Smith Endowed Teaching Chair

The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation has awarded the Donald G. Smith Endowed Teaching Chair to Alexander Scott, an associate professor of Spanish at Virginia Western Community College.

The endowed chair is named for Don Smith, the retired head of Roanoke Electric Steel and a Director Emeriti of the Educational Foundation. Steel Dynamics Inc., formerly Roanoke Electric Steel, established the endowed chair in 2006 with a $100,000 gift to honor Smith’s longtime leadership. Smith was president of Roanoke Steel from 1985 to 2004 and worked for the company 49 years.

The Donald G. Smith Endowed Teaching Chair intends to honor an outstanding instructor who advances the understanding of business management principles in his or her coursework, regardless of academic discipline. The honored teacher may use the funds to enhance the quality of his or her curriculum, facilities or instruction in any way he or she deems necessary.

Scott plans to organize “VWCCcreate,” a “Shark Tank”-style competition where students apply their classroom instruction by creating and presenting a business plan and supporting marketing campaign.

“My hope is to engage the entire College and have an impact on the Roanoke Region,” Scott said. “The objective of VWCCcreate is to enable students to transfer their knowledge from textbooks, classroom instructions, lectures and final projects to reality.

“They will use real data of the region or nation to improve current processes of their workplace (where applicable), to create services, products or businesses, and to bring about innovations.”

Scott joined Virginia Western in 2011 and has earned a variety of degrees and certifications in language instruction, business and marketing. They include a Master of Business Administration from the Universidad Accion Pro-Educacion y Cultura in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (2004); a Master’s in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language from the Universidad de Leon in Spain (2009); a Bachelor’s in Modern Languages from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (2000); and a Graduate Certificate in Communication and Business Administration from Liberty University (2016). Prior to his career in academia, Scott worked as an Aviation Weather Specialist in his native Dominican Republic.

Scott’s endowed chair appointment spans the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years. He is the second recipient of the Donald G. Smith Endowed Teaching Chair, following Cristin Barrett, an assistant professor of mathematics who organized a lecture series on the importance of developing critical thinking skills.

“Alexander Scott’s selection as the Donald G. Smith Endowed Teaching Chair fits perfectly with the origin and growth of our Company, founded by Jack Hancock in 1955 and grown through the leadership of Don Smith for many years,” said T. Joe Crawford, vice president and general manager of Steel Dynamics.

“The Company was started with innovative technology, utilizing electric furnace technology to recycle scrap metal into new steel products,” he said. “While only a handful of companies employed this method at the time, now well over 60 percent of steel production utilizes this technology.

“Encouraging innovation by developing ‘thinkers’ will bring about the future advancements that we have not even dreamed about today. We are extremely excited with Alexander’s award and fully support the program.”

Pollard Foundation donates $100,000 to culinary arts

At a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for the Claude Moore Educational Complex in downtown Roanoke, the Al Pollard Memorial Foundation presented the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation with a $100,000 donation to support Virginia Western’s culinary arts program and student scholarships.

The gift was announced as the College and the Roanoke Higher Education Center initiated a $5 million expansion of the Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program in the historic Gainsboro neighborhood.

Currently, more than 330 students takes classes in Virginia Western’s culinary arts program, which offers a two-year associate’s degree as well as industry certifications. Since 2013, the Educational Foundation has awarded 128 culinary scholarships, thanks to the support of the Al Pollard Memorial Foundation.

Al Pollard was a Roanoke restaurateur behind Corned Beef & Co., Frankie Rowland’s and 419 West who died suddenly in 2006.

“The Al Pollard Board is honored to have made a difference in so many people’s lives,” said Board member C.J. King. “We feel like Al lives on through the efforts of the students and the culinary school. This current donation continues to support an effort that Al Pollard would have loved because it was his life and his passion.”

The Claude Moore expansion will more than double the space for the College’s popular culinary program. It is expected to be complete by August 2018.

“This facility will usher in a new era for culinary arts in the Roanoke Region while commemorating the Gainsboro community’s strong history,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western. “Our students will have access to the cutting edge equipment and training that will allow them to build strong careers and support the local tourism and restaurant industries.”

The Al Pollard Memorial Foundation previously received statewide recognition for its generous support of Virginia Western’s culinary arts program. In 2011, it received the Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy at an event hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education.

The Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program at Virginia Western is nationally accredited by the American Culinary Federation. To learn more about the program, visit: www.virginiawestern.edu/academics/btt/programs/culinary.php.

Educational Foundation announces 2017 Board of Directors

The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation is pleased to announce new members and officers for its 2017 Board of Directors. The board members, who offer guidance and expertise on campaigns such as the Community College Access Program (CCAP), include leaders from a wide array of Roanoke Region employers such as Advance Auto Parts, Optical Cable Corp., Berglund Automotive Group, Hall Associates and more.

Four new at-large members have joined the Board of Directors: Russ Ellett, Excel Truck Group; William J. “Bill” Lemon, Martin, Hopkins & Lemon, P.C.; Mark Dempsey, Appalachian Power; and Deborah L. Petrine, Commonwealth Care of Roanoke.

The Board of Directors officers for 2017 are:  Chairman, Dr. Charles W. Steger; Vice Chairman, Neil D. Wilkin Jr.; Treasurer, William J. Farrell II; Secretary, Tammy Moss Finley; and Immediate Past Chairman, J. Kenneth “Ken” Randolph.

“We are fortunate to benefit from the support of each of these accomplished individuals,” said Dr. Angela M. Garcia Falconetti, Executive Director of the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation and Vice President of Institutional Advancement. “Their leadership will drive us toward our goal of expanding the opportunities we provide Virginia Western students and faculty.”

The new at-large board members began their terms with the Educational Foundation’s new fiscal year, January 2017. Existing members completing the at-large board are: Glen C. Combs, Nick Conte, Warner Dalhouse, David Dantzler, Christopher Desimone, Randy Foley, W. Heywood Fralin, J. Spencer Frantz, Jonathan Hagmaier, Edwin C. Hall, Leon P. Harris, Drew Parker, Tom M. Robertson Jr., J. David Wine and Barton J. Wilner. Garnett E. Smith and Nicholas F. Taubman serve as ex-officio members.