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Chancellor appoints interim president for TCC

Dr. Glenn DuBois, the chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, announced today that he is appointing an interim president to lead Tidewater Community College following the retirement of its current president at the beginning of July.

Dr. Gregory T. DeCinque – pronounced dee-SINK-yew – begins work at the beginning of July, 2018. Dr. Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani, recently announced her retirement after serving as the college’s president since 2012.

DeCinque has presided over three different community colleges throughout his 44 year career in higher education. He was the acting president of Tunxis Community-Technical College, in Farmington, CT, for more than a year beginning in August 1992. He spent nearly 20 years as the president of Jamestown Community College in New York before retiring in August 2013. In addition, he served for nearly two years as the interim president of Cayuga Community College in Auburn, NY through the summer of 2015.

“Greg DeCinque is a respected and seasoned community college leader,” said DuBois. “I expect him to continue many of the student-focused initiatives underway at TCC, like the guided pathways work that will soon begin its first wave. I’m confident in his ability to unite the college community around the necessary work to increase enrollment, student success, and student completion – and see to it that TCC is the difference-maker that the community needs it to be.”

DeCinque holds a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin; a master’s degree from New York University; and a bachelor’s degree from Montclair State College.

“I’m extremely honored that Dr. DuBois has offered me an opportunity to work with the Virginia’s Community Colleges and specifically Tidewater Community College,” said DeCinque. “Both the system and the college has a great reputation for providing high quality education and training to the communities that they serve. Both my wife, Laura, and I look forward to meeting the members of the TCC community and all of South Hampton Roads. I’m excited for the opportunity to implement the guided pathways work that will soon begin, as well as the continued expansion of the workforce training programs the college offers.”

Founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, Tidewater Community College serves South Hampton Roads with four campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach and 7 regional centers. TCC is the largest provider of higher education and workforce services in Hampton Roads, enrolling more than 34,000 students in 2016-17.

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.

Landmark Foundation, Elizabeth River Crossings receive Chancellor’s Awards for Leadership in Philanthropy

Pictured, from left: Carol Curtis, TCC Educational Foundation Board; Marian Anderfuren, vice president for Institutional Advancement; TCC President Edna Baehre-Kolovani; Carley Dobson, Elizabeth River Crossings; VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois; Tiffany Whitfield, Elizabeth River Crossings; Frank Batten, Landmark Foundation; LaVerne Ellerbe, executive director, TCC Educational Foundation; Christine Damrose-Mahlmann, associate vice president for Student Affairs; Lynn Clements, TCC College Board; and Donna Henderson, TCC Educational Foundation campaign manager

Two Hampton Roads organizations were honored Tuesday for their support of Tidewater Community College students.

The Landmark Foundation and Elizabeth River Crossings, LLC received Chancellor’s Awards for Leadership in Philanthropy during the 13th annual awards ceremony in Richmond. In attendance were Frank Batten, president and director of the Landmark Foundation, and Tiffany Whitfield and Carley Dobson, representing Elizabeth River Crossings.

More than two dozen individuals, families, businesses and foundations from around Virginia have been honored with the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy.

Hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE), the annual event recognizes leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges as well as the statewide foundation. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of $6 million to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

“In 2017, the TCC Educational Foundation launched its innovative TCC Women’s Center STEM Promise Program, and we are pleased to honor two early investors, Elizabeth River Crossings, LLC, and the Landmark Foundation,” said President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani.

“The goal of the program is to increase the number of women and minority students receiving STEM degrees at TCC. Both ERC and the Landmark Foundation saw the future value of a more diverse technology workforce – ERC in the area of engineering and construction and Landmark in meeting the IT needs of Dominion Enterprises, a Norfolk-based multifaceted media company.”

President Kolovani noted that the Landmark Foundation also supports dual enrollment scholarships for high school students in foster care who are earning college credits at TCC.

“I am grateful for the support of both of these organizations,” she said. “They truly put the ‘community’ in ‘community college.’”

Keynote speaker Paul Koonce, executive vice president and president and chief executive officer of the Power Generation Group, Dominion Energy, called the community college system “one of Virginia’s greatest inventions.”

He borrowed a passage from a 1903 Teddy Roosevelt speech to underscore the invaluable connection between higher education and opportunity: “Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

The purpose of supporting community colleges, he said. “is to make sure that prize – meaningful work – the best prize that life offers, remains within reach of every Virginian.”

The TCC Educational Foundation works to lower financial barriers for students seeking college educations. For information on supporting TCC scholars, contact or 757-822-1080.