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Robert C. Nusbaum and Linda S. Laibstain honored by VCCS for support of TCC

Robert C. Nusbaum and Linda S. Laibstain of Norfolk have earned the 2014 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. They were nominated for the award by Tidewater Community College. The award was given at a luncheon ceremony at the Country Club of Virginia on Tuesday.

The Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy luncheon is hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education to honor the leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges as well as the statewide foundation. This marks the ninth year the awards have been given.

This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of more than $12 million dollars to Virginia’s community colleges.

Nusbaum is a partner in the Norfolk law firm of Williams Mullen. Laibstain, his wife, also practices at Williams Mullen. The couple supports a fund to assist TCC students who encounter financial emergencies.

Nusbaum and Laibstain said that community colleges have made education accessible to many for whom higher education would be unaffordable. “If you see the student body close up,” they wrote, “you realize that it’s not easy for many students, so financial support is extremely useful and important. It’s a gratifying place to put your money.”

President Edna Baehre-Kolovani expressed her gratitude to Nusbaum and Laibstain.

“A scholarship or emergency funding may mean the difference between a student completing a degree or having to drop out,” she said. “At TCC, even small donations can be of huge benefit to our students.”

W. Heywood Fralin, chair of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council, was the luncheon’s keynote speaker. He said he believes, with many others, that community colleges will be the centerpieces of economic development in the next several years.

“All philanthropists are interested in their local communities, and I would argue that in today’s world, the local community college should be considered a top priority for philanthropic dollars. Where it happens, regions will thrive, and where it doesn’t, they will struggle.”

VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois said the generosity of the two dozen philanthropy leaders makes a critical difference in the lives of students and their families as well as in the economic vitality of the commonwealth. “They believe in the knowledge and skills that Virginia’s Community Colleges offer to every Virginian. We thank them deeply for the partnerships that demonstrate the art of giving.”