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CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Sandra “Sandy” and Edwin “Ed” Via received the 16th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy in honor of their work with John Tyler Community College (JTCC), which is becoming Brightpoint Community College. Nominated for the award by the John Tyler Community College Foundation (JTCCF), the Vias were recognized during a luncheon ceremony in Richmond on April 21, 2022.  

Mrs. Via was the first full-time faculty member hired at the college’s Midlothian Campus in 1992. A passionate and compassionate educator, she and her husband, “Ed,” donated to the Tyler Community College Foundation for the first time in 1995, after the cost of tuition prevented one of her students from returning to school, and they have continued to give since then. “Students like her ultimately inspired my husband Ed and me to start a scholarship and include Tyler in my estate plans,” said Mrs. Via. “The work the Foundation does is so important for our students.” During her tenure at the college, Mrs. Via served as faculty representative on the Foundation Board of Directors. After retirement in 2011, she continued to give to the college in various ways, serving as adjunct faculty, facilitating the Tyler LEADS (leadership development for staff & faculty) program, attending college events and coordinating various celebratory activities for the college’s 50th anniversary. Her service to the college was honored in 2014, when she received Professor Emeritus recognition. She and Mr. Via continue to connect with and encourage students through the scholarship they provide each year.

“For well over two decades, Sandy and Ed Via have actively supported our students, our institution, and our community through teaching; scholarships; involvement in college events; and facilitating development opportunities for faculty and staff,” says Dr. Edward “Ted” Raspiller, president of Tyler. “I am grateful for their long-time and ongoing commitment to education, to our college, and to our vision of ‘a success story for every student.’” 

The annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy luncheon, hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) honors leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges, as well as the statewide foundation. Recipients are nominated for their outstanding commitment to the growth and development of Virginia’s community colleges and their respective foundations. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has collectively contributed $10 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Representatives from JTCCF’s Next Up Campaign Committee were also in attendance at the luncheon. The committee members, including Pam Comstock, David Ledbetter, Peter Eliades, James Myers, Bryce Jewett, Art Hungerford, were recognized with the 15th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy honorees who were unable to celebrate in person last year due to the pandemic.

Dr. Bill Hazel, Jr., former secretary of Health and Human Resources, delivered the event’s keynote address. Others on hand to congratulate the award recipients were Virginia Community College Chancellor Glenn DuBois; State Senator Ghazala Hashmi; Anne Holton, former Virginia Secretary of Education and professor of Education Policy at George Mason University; and Dr. Stewart Roberson, past chair of the VFCCE. 

The Tyler Foundation secures resources that provide scholarships for students; fund academic programs, student support services, capital projects, and renovations to modernize classrooms and labs; and stimulate innovation within the college faculty and staff. This work ensures the college continues its pledge of providing academic excellence to students while expanding the services it offers to meet the community’s workforce requirements. Since most of the College’s graduates live and work in the area, gifts to the Foundation are an investment in both students and the community.    

John Tyler Community College, which is becoming Brightpoint Community College on July 1, 2022, offers more than 75 majors that provide pathways to careers in high-demand fields; transfer opportunities to four-year colleges and universities; and industry credentials and licensures. The college, with campuses in Chester and Midlothian, online classes, and off-campus classrooms, served more than 12,790 students during the 2020-21 academic year. It also assisted approximately 5,700 learners, including more than 2,700 job seekers, through its workforce development division, Community College Workforce Alliance, a partnership between Tyler and Reynolds community colleges.