Type your search keyword, and press enter

Woods Rogers law firm pledges $50,000 to support new RAMP business accelerator

The Virginia law firm of Wood Rogers PLC will donate $50,000 to the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation in support of the new RAMP technology business accelerator opening in downtown Roanoke. Under a five year agreement, Woods Rogers will contribute $10,000 per year to RAMP beginning in 2017 and concluding in 2021.

The Educational Foundation is a nonprofit organization associated with Virginia Western Community College, which will provide business education programming at RAMP, located in the old Gill Memorial Hospital building at 709 S. Jefferson Street in downtown Roanoke.

“The Educational Foundation is proud to support the RAMP initiative and its mission to create jobs in Roanoke,” said Dr. Angela M. Garcia Falconetti, Executive Director of the Educational Foundation and Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Virginia Western Community College. “RAMP provides an example of the direct role that institutions of higher education can play in economic development.”

RAMP’s mission is to propel high-potential startups to expand and create jobs in the STEM-H (Science,

Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Health) fields. Other partners in the initiative include the City of Roanoke, which won a state grant to complete renovations on the historical Gill Memorial site; and the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, which will recruit RAMP participants and provide them mentorship and networking opportunities.

“It is an honor to be part of RAMP from Day One,” said Dan Summerlin, President of Woods Rogers. “We firmly believe that entrepreneurs and start-up companies are a vital part of the economic future of Roanoke and of Virginia as well. Woods Rogers and its Emerging Growth practice group are committed to helping this initiative succeed. We look forward to being an active contributor of counsel and ideas to RAMP’s participants.”

RAMP, which stands for Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program, is accepting applicants for its first participant teams through March 15.  Learn more at www.ramprb.tech. The program is expected to start in June 2017.

RAMP participants will benefit from a mentoring program, networking opportunities, business education and access to capital. The inaugural program includes an intensive “boot camp” that culminates in a   $5,000 prize for the accelerator company offering the best jobs-creation strategy.

The program’s model, based on best practices garnered from existing successful business accelerators, will initially focus on accelerating three to five technology- or life science-focused companies in the first cohort. Companies accepted into RAMP will work closely with multiple mentors to focus on building, testing, improving, validating product-market fit, and launching their product for the market.

To be considered for RAMP, applicants must:

  • Agree to locate their company, rent-free, inside the accelerator for a six-month residency;
  • Have a minimum viable product, preferably with sales traction;
  • Work full time on their startup during the program;
  • Have a product or service employing workers in the STEM-H field, with scalability potential;
  • Be willing to consider operating their company in the Roanoke-Blacksburg region after graduation.

Virginia Western 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Call for Nominations

The Virginia Western Educational Foundation and the Virginia Western Alumni Association are calling for nominations for the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.  The annual recipient or recipients will receive the award at a special Scholarship Awards Ceremony March 22, and a plaque will be placed on the Virginia Western Distinguished Alumni Wall outside Whitman Theater.

For many, 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 prestigious award is intended to showcase the diversity of Virginia Western graduates and their range of influence on our region.

The 2016 Distinguished Alumni honorees were Michael Crawley, Chief of Police for the City of Salem, and Dr. Mary B. Loritsch, Ed.D, R.T. (R).

Prior honorees:

2015 – Deborah A. Yancey ’97 and ’98

2014 – Chief Craig S. Harris ’00 & J. David Wine ’73

2013 – Cheryl Cunningham ’86

2012 – Anne Hogan ’76

2011 – Carolyn Webster ’81

2010 – Russell H. Ellis ’80

2009 – Shirl D. Lamanca ’75 and Dennis R. Cronk ’72

2008 – Donna L. Mitchell ’81

2007 – Dr. Kent A. Murphy and Charlotte C. Tyson ’84

2006 – John B. Williamson III ’75

Anne Hogan (’76), serves as chairwoman of the Alumni Association. The Association fosters a mutually beneficial relationship and interaction between the College, its alumni, and the community; connecting with the college community to recognize and foster the diverse talents and successes of Virginia Western graduates.

Distinguished Alumni 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.  Two letters of reference are also required.


Nominations must be received by Feb. 27, 2017.

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

Join us for CCAP information sessions

Virginia Western Educational Foundation to hold

information sessions for Community College Access Program

The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation invites parents and students interested in learning more about the Community College Access Program (CCAP) to attend any of the public information sessions planned in October and November. The CCAP application period opened Oct. 1, 2016, and closes Feb. 28, 2017.

Administrators from the Educational Foundation and Virginia Western’s Office of Financial Aid will be on hand to answer questions about CCAP, which provides up to three years of tuition for high school graduates who meet program requirements.



Botetourt & Craig County High Schools

At Greenfield Education & Training Center                            Nov. 3, 6 p.m.


At Franklin County High School                                       Nov. 16, 6 p.m.


Roanoke City

At William Fleming High School                                              Nov. 15, 6 p.m.

At Patrick Henry High School                                                  Nov. 3, 6 p.m.


Roanoke County

At Northside High School                                                        Oct. 27, 6 p.m.

At William Byrd High School                                                   Nov. 10, 6 p.m.

At Hidden Valley High School                                                 Nov. 17, 6 p.m.

At Salem High School                                                              Nov. 1, 6 p.m.


The Virginia Western Educational Foundation, a nonprofit affiliated with Virginia Western Community College, raises support for CCAP through a public/private funding partnership. Since 2008, more than 1,900 Roanoke Valley students have participated in the program.

For more information about CCAP, see virginiawestern.edu/ccap or contact Carolyn Payne, CCAP Coordinator: (540) 857-7544 or cpayne@virginiawestern.edu.