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TCC professor writes book about school safety

Antonio Passaro Jr., Ph.D., started as a TCC student and is now the department chair and professor of TCC’s Criminal Justice program. He is also a published author who recently celebrated a book release.

Passaro was a first-generation college student who started his education at TCC and credits the school as being the reason for where he is today. “I know the foundation I got at the college set me on the path for my career success,” he said. “TCC also fostered my lifelong love of learning.”

After receiving his associate degree from TCC, he followed his passion for criminal justice. He had a 16-year career in law enforcement before returning to school and eventually earning his doctorate in Higher Education Leadership with a secondary concentration in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University.

Throughout his time in law enforcement, Passaro learned that it is important to plan for every circumstance whether it be obtaining a search warrant or protecting schools from danger. This concept inspired him to write a book titled, “Investigating the Design and Implementation of Operational Safety Plans for Crisis at Higher Education Institutions.” The book focuses on the importance of having a safety plan for higher education institutions and regularly practicing what to do in case of an emergency.

Colleges have safety plans in place for a variety of circumstances, but Passaro says the plans are worthless if they are not practiced. “When the safety plan is practiced regularly, faculty, staff and students will know exactly what to do if an occasion arises,” he said. “They will be able to act immediately in an efficient manner that keeps everyone safe.”

The biggest challenge that Passaro faced when writing this book was the lack of existing research on the subject. He was able to overcome this challenge and become one of the first authors to publish a book on his topic. While being a trailblazer can be daunting, Passaro urges students aspiring to become authors to “move their fears away and be led by their dreams.”

TowneBank receives 2023 VCCS Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy

TowneBank in Hampton Roads received the annual Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. In its 17th year, the award recognizes individuals and organizations dedicated to the mission of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

TowneBank was nominated by Tidewater Community College President Marcia Conston for its continuing support of the college.

Tidewater Community College’s Educational Foundation received a $500,000 grant from TowneBank. The funds are supporting the development of the TCC Visual Arts and Design Center in downtown Norfolk. Set to open in 2024, the Center boasts 37,000 square feet for arts programming and will include a gallery space. The donation is also supporting TCC’s Regional Automotive Center in Chesapeake.

An additional $250,000 gift from TowneBank helped with the launch and operations of the Community Feed at TCC’s campuses in 2020. By working together, the college, TowneBank and Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore are providing needed meals, staples and fresh produce for students and community members through on-site pantries on TCC’s campuses and MacArthur Center in downtown Norfolk.

“We are grateful to TowneBank for their unwavering commitment to TCC,” said President Conston. “They are a shining example of an organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for families and individuals in our region. In addition, their financial contribution ensures that students in need have ongoing access to meals and fresh foods. We express our sincere thanks.”   

TowneBank’s generosity will be marked by a named space in the new Visual Arts and Design Center in the coaching and critiquing room.

More than two dozen individuals, families, and organizations earned the 2023 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The awards were presented at a luncheon ceremony in Richmond on April 18, 2023. The new VCCS Chancellor Dr. David Doré was the keynote speaker.

“It is a privilege and an honor to be in the company of such an esteemed group of philanthropists,” Doré observed. “Were it not for your generosity, some of our students would have to put their hopes and dreams on hold, while others might have to abandon them altogether. Thanks to you, however, our students will be able to work in an environment that is relatively free of the kind of financial pressures that can paralyze or even derail their forward progress, and for that, we are extremely grateful.”

The annual event, 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 $14 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.