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A $10K gift that keeps giving

It seems a little quieter around Tidewater Community College’s Norfolk Campus now that Business Professor Peter Shaw has retired from teaching.

Shaw was often seen in front of a TV camera doing interviews with local TV reporters about business issues of the day. Interestingly, Shaw completed more than 100 interviews over the last decade.

Shaw got his start at TCC as a student in the 1970s. He was the first of three children in his family to earn a degree. “My mom was a single parent and resources were tight. I came to TCC because the price was right and it was also very accessible,” he said.

A proud TCC alumnus, Shaw earned his Associate of Science in Business Administration in 1976. He continued his studies earning a bachelor’s in business from Old Dominion University and a master’s in business from William & Mary.

Shaw established a scholarship for TCC students just before he retired in 2022. The Business Pathway Scholarship was launched in 2021 with a $10,000 gift and has already provided scholarships for five students.

“I remember working my way through TCC and later Old Dominion and William & Mary. I got help from a lot of people and this is my way of paying back the generosity I received,” Shaw said.

Professor Peter Shaw with President Marcia Conston (left) and Dean Nancy Prather-Johnson.

Shaw taught business administration and management for 25 years at TCC. He says his fondest memories are those aha moments. “When you look in a student’s eye and see that they get it. Those are the moments I’ll treasure above anything else,” he said.

Shaw was well-loved by his students and recognized for his real-world knowledge of the topics he taught. He often mentored students and connected them with opportunities. One of his students, Griffin Leach, landed a summer internship at Towne Bank, thanks to the connections made by Shaw. Leach went on to work as an investment analyst on Wall Street and today is working in Washington, D.C. with a private equity group.

TCC alumnus Griffin Leach.

Recognized for his teaching excellence numerous times during his career, Shaw was TCC’s Professor of the Year in 2010 and he received the John and Suanne Roueche National Teaching Excellence Award from The League of Innovation in the Community College in 2012.

Shaw continues to serve the community as vice chair of the board of Future Hampton Roads. You can also still see him on local TV stations talking about current business issues.

“TCC is where I began my college journey and my gift to TCC is my way of saying I have not forgotten that,” Shaw said. “I see my contribution as a way of paying ‘rent’ for living in our society.”

If you would like information about TCC scholarships or would like to help students in need, please reach out to TCC’s Educational Foundation by emailing

TCC alumna earns summer internship at the National Institutes of Health

Tidewater Community College alumna Shannon O’Hara Wiora is getting an insider’s look at working for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

As a summer intern, O’Hara was selected for the 2021 Health Disparities in Tribal Communities summer internship program through the NIH branch that deals with neurological disorders and strokes.

“I’ll be learning about the nervous system, neurological processes, neurodegenerative diseases, movement disorders, brain cancer and stroke,” O’Hara said.

O’Hara is most excited about the research opportunities that will focus on computational methods for cell membranes.

“I love science and my TCC degree has definitely prepared me for the work ahead,” she said.

O’Hara has Asperger syndrome, a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication.

Yet she started taking classes at TCC at 16. Today, the 20-year-old is set to graduate in December 2021 with a computer science associate degree to go with a business degree.

O’Hara is engaging and forthcoming about how she learned to overcome both a disability and difficult circumstances that might have defeated others. 

“Autistic people know how to get through challenges more than most people because we face them every day,” she said.

O’Hara’s world opened on the Virginia Beach Campus. The word she uses again and again to describe TCC is “opportunity.”

Accepted into the STEM Promise Scholarship Program in 2018, she was part of a cohort that receives paid tuition and fees for two years while completing a degree in a STEM field.

O’Hara would like to use her computer science background in an innovative way. “You can build your own creation in computer science,” she said. “I’d like to see what I can do to help people like me succeed.”

She recently became a board advisor for the nonprofit Family Voices. That allows her to promote acceptance of young adults and children with disabilities and weigh in on decisions with policymakers. She hopes to enhance acceptance of people with disabilities while encouraging others to succeed and accomplish their goals.    

O’Hara uses words including strong, stubborn and willful when talking about herself. Her TCC experiences allow her to offer one more – “confident.”