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PVCC board gets new leadership as chair steps down

The Piedmont Virginia Community College Board chairmanship changed hands on Thursday as former chairwoman Pam DeGuzman stepped down for personal reasons, according to college officials.

DeGuzman, who is an associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing, will be replaced by Lola Richardson of Louisa County to serve as chair for the remainder of the term, which runs through June 30, 2022.

The PVCC Board elected Charles Dassance, from Albemarle County, as vice chairman.

DeGuzman, who holds a doctorate degree in nursing from UVa, represents the city of Charlottesville on the PVCC board and will remain a member.

“PVCC thanks Pam DeGuzman for her exemplary service and leadership. Although unable to continue as board chair, we are very pleased that she will remain on the board,” said PVCC President Frank Friedman.

“I am confident that Lola Richardson and Charles Dassance will provide outstanding leadership during this pivotal time when the College Board engages in a presidential search.”

Friedman is planning to retire at the end of the school year after leading PVCC since 1999.

The state board that oversees community colleges and PVCC’s board will conduct a national search to find Friedman’s replacement.

PVCC’s 2021 fall enrollment was 5,014. That’s 126 more students over fall 2020, for a 2.6% increase in enrollment, officials said. PVCC was one of only 5 of the state’s 23 community colleges to see an enrollment increase this fall and had the second-largest increase of the community colleges.

PVCC also has had a year of rolling new programs, including an assistance program that pays all tuition and fees for students who enrolled in the current school year and were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program paid the way for 430 students in the fall term and officials are expecting similar totals for spring term. The tuition is paid for through a combination of federal stimulus money, state-approved financial support, PVCC funds and donor-supported scholarship programs

PVCC has received support from its bigger sibling, the University of Virginia, several times this year, including a $300,000 donation announced earlier this month to expand its nursing program to graduate 150 nurses a year and work in cooperation with the UVa Medical Center.

An anonymous donor provided the $300,000 gift, and UVa Health System officials agreed to provide another $400,000 to expand the PVCC associate degree in nursing program.

The goal for both schools and the medical center is to ease some local impact of the national nurse shortage.

The support will also allow PVCC to make major upgrades to its Giuseppe Center in Greene County, upgrading two skills labs to match those at the main campus and add full-time nursing school faculty member.

PVCC officials said most of their nursing graduates stay in the area.

They noted that UVa Medical Center employs about 30 of the school’s nursing graduates each year.

In May, PVCC began working with the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center to help provide the school’s students with access to the state’s tuition-free program to help qualifying adults pursue jobs in high-demand fields such as health care and manufacturing.

In March, officials announced a $9.5 million Piedmont Scholars program at UVa for 25 PVCC transfer students each year as part of the UVa University Achievement Award program.

Recipients are be selected by UVa’s Office of Admission in coordination with Student Financial Services.

A UVa donor’s $5 million gift led to the program and the creation of an inter-college liaison to help shepherd all PVCC students wanting to transfer to get to UVa. UVa will match $4.5 million of the gift.


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