Posted on Monday, February 25, 2019

Frank Turnage remained actively engaged in the GCC community long after his 2007 retirement. He’s seen here at the inauguration of current GCC president Janet Gullickson (left) in Oct. 2018.

Dr. Frank Turnage, who led Germanna Community College from 1986 to 2007, died February 20 at the age of 79.

Turnage is credited with helping to turn around GCC’s enrollment challenges and setting the stage for growth by expanding the college’s original Locust Grove Campus in Orange County to include campuses in Spotsylvania and Culpeper Counties.

“For two critical decades, Dr. Frank Turnage was the face and soul of Germanna,” said Dr. Janet Gullickson, GCC’s current president. “His foresight, his wise leadership style and the sheer power of his personality guided GCC through its early years of thin enrollment and then toward expansion and rapid growth.”

“Frank always had a smile, saw the best in people and was loved by all,” said VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois. “It was my good fortune to have him as a colleague and as a friend.”

“He was a visionary who wouldn’t take no for an answer,” said Samantha Wilhelm, who was GCC’s public information officer during Turnage’s tenure. “He loved what he did, and that was evident to all of us who worked with him.”     

A native of North Carolina, Turnage was the first in his family to graduate from college. He moved to Virginia in 1967 and started his career with the VCCS at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, where he was director of the Learning Lab and later vice president and dean.

His family has established the Turnage Legacy Fund, which supports the Germanna Guarantee, aimed at ensuring that no student would be denied the opportunity to enroll because of finances.

Gifts may be directed to the Turnage Legacy fund at Germanna Foundation.

After funeral services at The Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg at 1 PM on February 27, a private family burial was planned in Snow Hill, N.C.

You can read Dr. Turnage’s obituary here.'

Jim Babb

Jim Babb works for Virginia's Community Colleges in the Office of Strategic Communications.

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