For Immediate Release:
September 28, 2020
Primary Media Contact:
Public Relations Specialist
Fifty years ago today, Laurel Ridge held its first classes. While, the college will certainly be marking the occasion this week, the milestone will be commemorated throughout the 2020-2021 academic year.
One way Laurel Ridge is celebrating its 50th anniversary is with a dedicated website, laurelridge.edu/50. The site features a comprehensive, illustrated timeline of Lord Fairfax’s history and links to our new podcast, “Laurel Ridge Stories,” and an employee giving campaign. More features will be added to the site throughout the coming year.
The opening of Laurel Ridge came just two years after Gov. Mills Godwin established the Virginia Community College System, which has grown to encompass 23 colleges. Ground was broken for the college in Middletown on Oct. 11, 1969.
On Laurel Ridge’s first day of classes, there were 577 students. Since then, more than a quarter-million students have been educated at Laurel Ridge, with more than 22,000 degrees and certificates awarded. Today, we serve about 20,000 students each year through our academic and workforce training programs.
“Countless lives have been enriched, improved and empowered since our doors opened,” Laurel Ridge President Kim Blosser said. “Our students have gone on to even higher levels of education, or to better-paying, more fulfilling careers, or just to greater personal growth because of the education and support they received while at Lord Fairfax.
“But, we mustn’t become complacent. We at Laurel Ridge must continue to find new and even better ways to ensure that all in our community – especially those who need us the most – are able to access this path to career training and college degrees. To that end, we are engaging in strategic planning this year, and will review everything we are doing so we can be an even greater resource for our students and our community.”
Since Laurel Ridge’s early days, the college has expanded, making a college education accessible to even more individuals. In addition to the Middletown Campus – which itself has seen considerable growth with the construction of Alson H. Smith Hall, the Corron Community Development Center, the Science and Health Professions Building and the Student Union Building – Laurel Ridge now includes the Fauquier Campus, the Luray-Page County Center and the Vint Hill site.
Thanks to dual enrollment, thousands of young people in our service region – made up of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren counties, plus the city of Winchester – are able to obtain college credits while still in high school. Many have even earned their associate degree this way.
Learn more about Laurel Ridge at laurelridge.edu.
Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.
Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.