Posted on Tuesday, April 9, 2019

By Caitlin Beckner – Marketing Specialist, The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education


Now in its 14th year, the Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy recognizes outstanding leaders who have helped support Virginia’s Community Colleges and their respective foundations. This year, among those to be honored are four members of VCCS faculty, all of whom have made contributions that have helped their colleges and their students grow. Mary W. Lawson, Dr. Glenn Fatzinger, and David and Schéry Collins will be receiving awards for their philanthropy and generosity in time and donations.

Mary Lawson served as the Executive Director of the SWCC Educational Foundation from 1987-2013. Not only was Lawson instrumental in building the largest Foundation in the Virginia Community College System, she is also a supporter and friend to the college. She began the Festival of the Arts Program at SWCC in 1997 and has continued to facilitate this week long festival of music, theatre, art, dance and cultural enrichment for southwest Virginia.

“I can’t thank Mary enough for her proud commitment to Southwest Virginia Community College, the community, and the region,” said Dr. Tommy F. Wright, president of SWCC. “The relationships that Mary has helped establish and cultivate along with her successes in arts initiatives will pay dividends to SWCC for years to come.”


As the past Chair Northern Virginia Community College Board, Dr. Glenn Fatzinger also co-founded the NOVA Foundation, is a triple alumnus, and an adjunct professor. His wife, Harriet, was an alumna of the Nursing program. When she passed away in 2011, Dr. Fatzinger established an endowed scholarship in her memory, the Harriet H. Fatzinger Nursing Scholarship, which has been awarded to 14 nursing students.

David and Schéry Collins

David and Schéry Collins were among the first employees hired during the formative years of Virginia Highlands and both remained members of the teaching faculty until their retirement in 2013. During their tenure, they also served on numerous campus committees and were actively involved in the arts at VHCC. After their retirement, they provided a gift to the VHCC Educational Foundation to help cover expenses incurred when students participate in educational trips and other learning activities outside the classroom. Today, the “Creating Extraordinary Student Experiences Fund” exceeds $70,000.

“The finishing touches were still being added to the newly constructed VHCC campus when David and Schéry joined the faculty and began teaching careers that would span more than four decades,” said VHCC Interim President Charlie White. “They helped shape the College in those early days, allowing VHCC to earn the outstanding reputation it enjoys today, and helping thousands of students achieve their educational goals.”

The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) will be hosting the 2019 luncheon on Tuesday, April 16, where more than two dozen individuals, families, and businesses from around Virginia will be honored. Donald Graham, Chairman of the Board at Graham Holdings Company and Co-Founder of TheDream.US will be the keynote speaker.'

Virginia's Community Colleges

Created more than 50 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 270,000 students a year in credit and workforce courses.

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