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Statue honors Beazley and the college’s roots

Fred W. Beazley is a permanent fixture on TCC’s Portsmouth Campus.

A 96-inch original bronze statue that faces the quad on the Portsmouth Campus, which also bears the Beazley name, commemorates the philanthropist, whose gift of land to the Commonwealth led to the establishment of TCC. College President Edna Baehre-Kolovani, Portsmouth Provost Michelle Woodhouse, Frederick College alumnus Jerry Gavin and Judge Richard S. Bray, president and CEO of the Beazley Foundation, delivered remarks at the dedication ceremony prior to the statue’s unveiling on Dec. 6.

“Today is a tribute to an individual without whom TCC might not have come to be,” Baehre-Kolovani said. “As we all look at this beautiful campus, the magnificence of his gift is appreciated.”

When Frederick College closed in 1968, Beazley, a longtime believer in the value of education, donated land near the Portsmouth-Suffolk city line to the Commonwealth. Though Beazley quit school at age 15 needing $15 to buy a horse-drawn cart in order to start his own business delivering coal door-to-door, he went on to become a self-made millionaire. Yet he still longed for the education he never achieved and became passionate about providing opportunity to young people.

“Today is Mr. Beazley’s Day,” said Bray, in charge of the Beazley Foundation, which awards money for educational, charitable and religious purposes. “He would be surprised and humbled by what has evolved from his dream.”

The plaque of dedication for the statue reads, “In general appreciation of Fred W. Beazley who founded Frederick College in 1961 overlooking the Nansemond River and dedicated the college property to the Commonwealth in 1968 to establish Tidewater Community College.”

The statue has Beazley holding a hat in his right hand and carrying the blueprint of college plans underneath his left arm.

Jay Carpenter, who sculpted the statue, was also in attendance. Carpenter has also created works for the Washington National Cathedral, West Point and England’s Canterbury Cathedral.

“We are excited about having Mr. Beazley’s name on this campus,” Gavin said. “We’ll be proud to come and see it for the rest of our lives.”