Greetings and Salutations
The 2017 VCCA Conference was a smashing success. A tip of the hat goes to Susan Simmers and her entire team for organizing and implementing the conference. Susan’s leadership propelled the conference forward in these trying times. As you all know, budgets and enrollments have been down the past several years.
The VCCA did its part to increase attendance by lowering cost. One Showcase winner from each college received a night’s lodging at no cost. Susan’s vendor liaison (Winona Jenkins) increased vendor sponsorship which in turn reduced costs to the VCCA organization. Susan and Theresa Thomas (Past President) were in constant negotiation with our host Virginia Crossings to lower cost and increase service.
The concurrent sessions were plentiful and varied. I was constantly amazed at the level of professionalism and expertise displayed by the presenters. Sessions ranged from department specific to campus wide. Administrators, staff and faculty alike, were treated to the best professional development opportunities available.
The Media and Showcase award ceremonies continue to be successful venues for “Showcasing” the very best of the VCCS. The ceremonies were among the most heavily attended events. Staff and faculty were recognized for their leadership and dedication to their respective organizations. Speaking of dedication, this year’s recipients of the Excellence in Education and Lifetime Award were Theresa Thomas of Blue Ridge Community and Mountain Empire Community College’s very own Lana Kennedy. Both of these ladies epitomize the very best in these awards represent. As an organization, we are fortunate to have them involved in the VCCA.
The keynote addresses provided much needed motivation and comic relief. They were a great addition to an event filled day. Each of the speakers (presidents included) reminded us of the great responsibility we have in educating the next generation. Dr. John Downey, of Blue Ridge Community College, stole the show with his rendition of a Dr. Seuss classic.
Finally, the door prizes were fun and exciting. All of us enjoy having our name drawn and declared a winner. In the end, those that attended the 2017 VCCA Conference were the real winners. Thanks again to Susan and her team for organizing the wonderful experience. I look forward to seeing you all again in Fredericksburg for the 2018 VCCA Conference.
Stephen Walker, President