Posted on Monday, May 9, 2016


On May 9, 1966, Governor Mills Godwin asked Dana Hamel to become director of the newly created Virginia Community College System that would begin operation on July 1 of that year. 

It was a natural choice, as Dr. Hamel was already director of the fledgling technical college system. He had moved to Virginia to become director of the Roanoke Technical Institute in 1963. In September 1964, he was appointed the first director of the Department of Technical Education. 


Dr. Hamel (left) discusses a model of a community college with Governor Godwin (second from right) and others.

But he shared the vision of Governor Godwin and key legislators that the state should move toward a comprehensive system of community colleges, and he had said that publicly to legislative panels reviewing the higher education landscape. As one key legislator, Delegate French Slaughter, described Hamel, “He is really a comprehensive man himself.”

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Virginia’s Community Colleges. the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education is raising funds to endow a scholarship in Dr. Hamel’s honor. 

More than $5,000 has been raised to date — funds that will be matched by current VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois.

The goal is to raise another $5,000 during this anniversary year. Former vice chancellor Karen Petersen has already pledged to match the second $5,000 raised, for a total $20,000 this year.

To add to the scholarship endowment, go to the 50th Anniversary Giving Page. Click on the “Gift Designation” field and select the Dana B. Hamel Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship.'

Susan Hayden

Susan Hayden worked for Virginia's Community Colleges for 25 years in the Institutional Advancement office before retiring in December 2015. She currently is on special assignment regarding the 50th anniversary of Virginia's Community Colleges.

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