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Dr. Thomas F. Wright Selected to be the Next President of Southwest Virginia Community College

RICHMOND – Southwest Virginia Community College has a new president. Dr. Thomas F. Wright, currently of Cleveland, TN, will become the institution’s third permanent president. His first day of work will be January 8, 2018. Wright’s selection concludes a national search that attracted 83 applicants and took six months to complete. 


“Thomas Wright is an impressive higher education leader who really connects with the people and the culture of Southwest Virginia,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “His selection is the result of a competitive process that attracted a great deal of talent. We are eager to see what he accomplishes when he begins at the college next month.” Wright has worked in higher education for more than 25 years. He currently serves as vice president for finance and advancement at Cleveland State Community College, as well as the executive director of the college’s education foundation. Wright previously served as the college’s interim vice president for academic affairs.

 Prior to that, Wright worked for a decade at Appalachian State University, rising to the position of director of housing operations. He began his higher education career at Middle Tennessee State University where he served in several roles including interim assistant dean of students. He earned a doctorate from Tennessee State University, and a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University.

“Our college’s local board was impressed and delighted to see the talent that this competitive search process brought to our college,” said Peggy Lowe, chair of the Southwest Virginia Community College local board. “This wasn’t an easy decision. Each of the four finalist who came to campus had something special to offer. We are excited to work with Dr. Wright. He displays a firm grasp of the challenges and opportunities that are unique to our region, and we are eager to see what the college can do under his leadership.”

Wright will succeed Dr. Mark Estepp, who is retiring from the college’s presidency after serving in that role since 2007. 

Southwest Virginia Community College, founded in 1968 and located outside Richlands, VA, is a comprehensive two-year college serving approximately 3,200 students annually from the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson (partial), Russell, and Tazewell.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 252,000 students each year. For more information, please visit