Press "Enter" to skip to content

Editorial: 50 years: Community colleges democratize education

Nearly 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson laid out his plan for public schooling in Virginia, a plan that called for the opportunity for higher education “within a day’s ride” of each and every citizen of the commonwealth.

One hundred and fifty years later, that lofty goal became a reality with the creation in 1966 of the Virginia Community College System.

On April 6 of that year, Gov. Mills Godwin signed legislation that created what has become a statewide network of community colleges, democratizing higher education far beyond Jefferson’s initial vision.

Since 1966, 2.6 million students—including 905,000 minority students—have enrolled in one of the state’s 23 community colleges, which are spread out among 40 campuses. A total of 575,000 credentials have been awarded, with students earning associate’s degrees and certificates from a wide array of academic and career-related disciplines.

In addition to creating educational opportunities...

To view the rest of this article, you must log in. If you do not have an account with us, please subscribe here.