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Monday, September 18, 2017

NOVA invites public to 50th anniversary ceremony

The Pruitt farmhouse.
Northern Virginia Community College invites NOVA alumni and the public to a Heritage Celebration Sept. 22, at 10:30 a.m., on the “Historic Site” on the Annandale Campus.

That site, where the original Pruitt family farmhouse once stood, is next to the CM building.

NOVA President Scott Ralls will dedicate interpretive signage at the Historic Site. Following the dedication ceremony, there will be a reception and a special presentation by the Annandale Campus Lyceum Committee in the Mark R. Warner Student Services Building (the CA Building).

The dedication ceremony features two special guests: Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova, an alumna of NOVA, and Dana Hamel, the first chancellor of the Virginia Community College system.

Hamel, who is 94-years-old, spoke at both the groundbreaking ceremony, on Oct. 31, 1966, in front of the farmhouse, and the dedication ceremony for NOVA’s Annandale campus on Oct. 30, 1967. Virginia’s then-governor, Mills Godwin, also spoke at the dedication.

The original 77-acre property was purchased for what was called the Central Campus in 1966 for the then-whopping sum of $1 million. The campus opened its doors for classes – in the CS Building – for the first time on Oct. 2, 1967.

The Lyceum Legacy Lecture on Sept. 22 will feature David Conroy, a full-time mathematics professor who has taught at NOVA since 1968, and Floyd Schwartz, an adjunct faculty member, who has taught continuously at NOVA since 1967.

NOVA began as the Northern Virginia Technical College, one of nine technical colleges created in Virginia under the authority of legislation approved by the General Assembly in 1964, in a converted warehouse in Bailey’s Crossroads. The college opened its doors for classes on Sept. 27, 1967, with 761 students.

On April 6, 1966, Godwin signed legislation creating the Virginia Community College system that merged the technical colleges into the system, and the college became Northern Virginia Community College.

From those humble beginnings, NOVA has become the largest institution of higher education in Virginia with more than 70,000 students taking courses annually in one of its six campuses and three centers or online. NOVA is the 11th largest college in the United States, annually awarding more associate degrees than any other higher education institution in the nation.

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