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Virginia Western dedicates Fralin Center for Science and Health Professions

Fralin Center dedication speakers (2)Virginia Western Community College officially dedicated the Horace G. and Ann H. Fralin Center for Science and Health Professions on Wednesday evening at an on-campus ceremony. Speakers at the dedication included Governor Robert McDonnell, Heywood Fralin, Chancellor Glenn DuBois of Virginia’s Community Colleges, Virginia Western President Robert Sandel, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger and University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, among others.

“It is with extreme gratitude to the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust and its co-trustees, Heywood and William Fralin, that we dedicate this state-of-the-art facility to Horace and Ann Fralin,” Dr. Sandel said. “Their legacies of supporting higher education in Virginia will forever live on and they will continue to create positive change in the lives of students and impact the vitality of this region’s economy.”

In August 2012, the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust committed $5 million over five years to create an endowment at the College for scholarships, primarily dedicated to the areas of science, technology, mathematics and healthcare (STEM-H). The Fralin Center, which opened for classes on Aug. 21, 2013, is the new home to the College’s healthcare and science programs.

“Prior to my brother’s death, he set up the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust and advised me of his desires,” said Heywood Fralin, co-trustee. “He wanted to improve the quality of life for all of the citizens of the Roanoke Valley and he wanted the Trust to make contributions that would make a significant difference in those lives.”

“The Trust’s $5 million grant for scholarships clearly fits both criteria. And it’s not just the individual assistance that the scholarship recipients receive that are beneficial, but just as importantly, it is the economic benefit that all citizens of the Roanoke Valley will have as a result of the educated workforce that will be created with a focus on the STEM-H areas.”

Featuring cutting-edge labs, clinics and technology, the Fralin Center is home to a wide array of programs including nursing, practical nursing, dental hygiene, radiography, radiation oncology, physics, biology, chemistry, geology, health and wellness, and more.                                                                                                 

The donation from the Fralin Charitable Trust was the largest ever made to the Virginia Western Educational Foundation, nearly doubling its assets. It was also the largest donation dedicated to scholarships in the history of the Virginia Community College System.

“I don’t wish for people to think the $5 million donation is sufficient to meet all our area’s needs. We have a community college in place and we have a great building here that can handle many students, but we need to triple the Trust gift and we need to do it soon,” Heywood Fralin said. “We determine our own destiny when it comes to increasing our economy and our standard of living. We can do this, and I ask that we all step forward to help make Virginia Western the best community college in Virginia. It needs your service and it needs your contribution.”

Virginia Western to host lecture on Japanese popular culture and food

Haruko Yuda, Japanese Outreach Coordinator for the University of Virginia’s Asia Institute, will present a lecture about Japanese popular culture and food from 2-3 p.m. on Wednesday at Virginia Western Community College’s Natural Science Center. The talk is free and open to the public, and Japanese snacks will be provided.

Over the summer, Virginia Western faculty hear Yuda present as part of the National Endowment for the Humanities Asia Insitute at the University of Virginia. She is now bringing her grassroots educational outreach program to the children of Fishburn Park Elementary School in Roanoke City as well as to the larger community at Virginia Western.

“Working at the grassroots level is really important to build good relations with other countries,” Yuda said. As part of her job as outreach coordinator, Yuda visits schools and community events to teach Americans about Japanese culture.

“When students see me, sometimes they are really surprised and excited,” said Yuda, who for many of these children is the first Japanese person they have ever met. She has taught students of all ages about Japanese culture, from traditional ceremonies to how to make origami or write their names in Japanese.

Yuda arrived in the United States in early August 2012 as a part of the Japan Outreach Initiative, sponsored by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and the Laurasian Institution. The program seeks to develop collaboration between Japan and the United States by fostering a deeper appreciation of each country at the grassroots level. Virginia is one of the three universities and one nonprofit selected in 2012 to participate in the program.