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TCC scholarship honors former President Kolovani

The Tidewater Community College Educational Foundation announced that an endowed scholarship has been established in the name of President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani, who retired from the college on June 30.

The college-wide scholarship was funded through gifts from the TCC College Board, the boards of the Educational Foundation and Real Estate Foundation, and college leadership.

President Kolovani received the surprise announcement on June 28 at the annual Joint Board Reception, which honors outgoing board members and incoming chairs. She also was presented with a joint board resolution recognizing her six years of service to the college.

She has requested that the endowment go toward any need-based scholarship request “so that the fund can have the greatest impact on our students.”

Donations are still being accepted for the scholarship at For more information, contact Alexandra Rice at 757-822-1647 or

A celebration of multiple firsts and a memorial for a special grad part of TCC’s spring commencement

During a Saturday afternoon of milestones and remembrances, Tidewater Community College celebrated the spring class of 2018 at its 66th Commencement Exercises.

In addition to more than 700 graduates walking in the ceremony at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani recognized the following milestones:

  • Four graduates, Brandi Porter, Gabrielle Hutchings, Jaylyn Richard and Jay Sellers, received the Governor’s Medallion, given to four teenagers who completed associate degrees while still in high school.
  • Alexis Spangler and Xiaomin Chen, are the inaugural students to graduate through the Women’s Center’s STEM Promise Program, which provides full scholarships to students pursuing STEM degrees at TCC. Each earned an Associate of Science of Engineering.
  • Another first: Christopher Newbill and Alyssa Shepherd, both Wilson High School seniors, became the first high school students to earn Career Studies Certificates in Maritime Welding.
  • Emma Tracy became the first recipient of the Associate of Fine Arts in Music.
  • Finally, five students from Chesapeake Public high schools, Zachary Booker, Hunter Edward, Brandon Halloran, Christian Keifer and Jalem Wilson, became the first recipients of the Career Studies Certificate in Electrical Wiring for Technicians.
Student speaker Tony Sawyer and President Kolovani at TCC's 66th Commencement Exercises.
Student speaker Tony Sawyer and President Kolovani at Commencement.

Keynote speaker Cheryl Turpin, an educator elected last fall to Virginia’s House of Delegates, encouraged the students to keep learning regardless of age.

“No matter your age, I see nothing but young minds when I look out to this crowd,” said the longtime science teacher.

Turpin’s journey has taken her from science teacher at Cox High School to the cover of Time magazine the week after she was elected to the House of Delegates. “If you follow your passions, you can achieve what you dream,” she said.

Student speaker Tony Sawyer, previously a high school dropout, talked about finding the desire to succeed at TCC thanks to the support he received. He graduated with an Associate of Science in Social Sciences.

“Education required a lot of sacrifices, but the lessons learned have been worth it,” said Sawyer, on the President’s List every semester at TCC and bound for Old Dominion University. “Today’s success is not an ending point. Let us apply the knowledge we’ve learned to make a difference.

Jordan McNair's classmates and President Kolovani on stage at Commencement.
Jordan McNair’s classmates at Commencement.

“As a former 16-year-old dropout, who is now a 49-year-old TCC graduate and attending the ODU honors college in the fall, I currently experience a new freedom from this education I no longer thought was possible,” he said.

During the conferring of degrees, Jordan McNair was awarded a posthumous Career Studies Certificate in Automotive Chassis Systems. McNair, a student at TCC’s Regional Automotive Center, died in a car accident last August. He was 20 years old.

Jordan McNair's parents, (center) Dexter McNair and Paula Borchert, accept his certificate during a standing ovation from classmates.
Jordan McNair’s parents, (center) Dexter McNair and Paula Borchert, accept his certificate during a standing ovation from classmates.

McNair’s family received an inspiring standing ovation from the graduates. His classmates, who finished restoring his project car, a 2000 Honda Civic, presented his family with his certificate.

Priority Automotive’s Jim Rose, McNair’s employer, also announced a new $12,000 scholarship, the Jordan McNair Memorial Honda PACT Scholarship, sponsored by the dealership. The scholarship will assist second-year TCC students enrolled in the Honda PACT program.

TCC’s alumni base of more than 100,000 continues to grow with the addition of the 1,500 graduates who are part of the class of 2018.

TCC President Kolovani announces she will retire after six years

Tidewater Community College President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani announced today that she will retire as TCC’s fifth president on July 1, 2018.

In a message sent this morning to the college’s boards, faculty and staff, President Kolovani expressed her gratitude to Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, for giving her the opportunity to lead TCC.

President Kolovani also thanked the college community and greater community. “I have been blessed by being surrounded by incredibly talented and dedicated staff and faculty,” she wrote. “I also want to thank the many business and community leaders who worked together to shape our curriculum and strategic direction.”

In a message to the college community, Chancellor DuBois said he will soon appoint an interim president and begin a national search for President Kolovani’s successor.

“Edna’s announcement today caps an impressive, 36-year career in which she has changed lives and strengthened communities everywhere she has worked,” the chancellor said in a statement. “She should be proud.”

In 2013, President Kolovani led the development of TCC’s 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, “One College, One Voice, One Future.” She said she is particularly proud that the momentum created by the strategic plan will continue, even as a new five-year plan is developed.

“We committed to aligning internal and external resources so that an already great college can become even greater,” she wrote. “The strategic plan identified three criteria for TCC to operate at its maximum effectiveness and efficiency: These are Collaboration, Dedication and Innovation.

“Today, we are at the threshold of fulfilling these promises.”

She pointed to such successes as:

  • Establishment of zero-textbook-cost courses and degrees, which have saved students more than a million dollars in the cost of their educations;
  • The college’s expertise in awarding college credit for military training and experience;
  • Unconditional reaffirmation of the TCC’s 10-year accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges;
  • Realignment over the last four years of TCC’s myriad academic and career-technical programs into nine “guided pathways” that support workforce needs, with structured advising and curricula aimed at improving students’ successful degree attainment;
  • “Stackable” programs that ensure credits earned in certificate programs apply to associate degrees, reducing the cost of college to students;
  • Designation of TCC by the U.S. National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense;
  • Creation of the TCC Women’s Center STEM Promise Program, a scholarship to increase the number of degrees awarded to women and minority students in certain STEM disciplines; and
  • A 130 percent increase in the number of high school students earning college credits through dual enrollment.

“From the time I assumed the presidency of TCC in 2012, I have been committed to doing my very best for the college, the community and, in particular, the students,” she wrote.

Chancellor DuBois said in his statement, “I expect the college to continue forward with initiatives like the college’s pathway work, which will launch its first wave this summer, and other key efforts aimed at increasing enrollment, student success and completion. There is too much to gain from these priorities for them to be lost in transition.”

President Kolovani assumed the presidency just as a period of unprecedented enrollment growth, fueled by the Great Recession, was starting to ebb. Even though the cost of four-year colleges continued to skyrocket and student debt ballooned, TCC saw its enrollment drop by more than 30 percent since 2012.

“We have had to make many hard, painful decisions and sacrifices in the last three years to keep the college in good financial condition, and the turnaround in enrollments has been slow to achieve,” she wrote. “However, with the momentum created through these strategic initiatives, the enrollment decline is projected to end by 2020, and the college will be on even more solid financial ground, delivering quality services to our students and community.”

Acknowledging the enrollment decline, Chancellor DuBois said, “Enrollment is challenging TCC – a college that is too big, and much too important, for that trend to continue. We must turn it around, and I am confident that we will. By leveraging the talents of our faculty and staff, improving communications and inclusion and focusing on our mission, we will find the institutional success to which we all aspire.”

President Kolovani said that TCC’s current fundraising campaign is on solid footing and will continue uninterrupted. “After just a few months of fundraising, we have already achieved 20 percent toward our goals for program and facility expansion,” she wrote. “The college is on track to achieve full success on its major gifts campaign goal, which support our local industries.”

Chancellor DuBois agreed. “Our external partners should know that the college remains committed to the projects upon which its major gifts campaign is focused. That campaign’s strong beginning is encouraging,” he said.

President Kolovani said she and her husband, Bill, will remain in Virginia Beach. “I am looking forward to cheering and celebrating TCC officials and community leaders at the various grand openings of new facilities and new programs,” she wrote.