Laurel Ridge naming task force narrows list of possible names to five

For Immediate Release:
May 6, 2021

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134


Five top names have emerged as Laurel Ridge’s naming task force continues the work of choosing a new name for the college.

In February, Laurel Ridge’s College Board voted to rename the college, which was founded in 1970. The college, like the other 22 in the Virginia Community College System, had been directed last summer by the Virginia State Board for Community Colleges to review its name, as well as those of all its named facilities.

Following the Laurel Ridge College Board’s decision, students, staff, alumni and members of the community were encouraged to submit possible names for consideration, and more than 100 did so.

The top five names selected by the task force are Valley & Vista, Red Oak, Laurel Ridge, Valley & Ridge and Newbridge.

“Overwhelmingly, the community input centered around the breathtaking beauty of the natural surroundings for which the Laurel Ridge service region is known,” said Kelly O’Keefe, CEO of Brand Federation, which is working with the college during this transition period. “They sought names that were both anchored to geographic features of the Shenandoah Valley region and reflective of the values that unite the college, its students and its community.”

Numerous community colleges in Virginia have links to their local geography, including Blue Ridge Community College, Mountain Empire Community College, Tidewater Community College and Piedmont Community College.

Further explanation of the final proposed names follows:

  • Valley & Vista Community College
  • The task force thought the name was unifying and inclusive of the entire service region.
  • It brings to mind an upward progression, much like the academic journey and broader horizons our students explore.
  • Vista has inspirational connotations.


  • Red Oak Community College
  • More than half of the forest in Shenandoah National Park consists of red oaks, and the strength and towering stature of the trees represent the growth and opportunity provided by the college.
  • Oak trees have historical and cultural significance. Kings wore crowns of oak leaves, and the tree signifies strength in the Bible.


  • Laurel Ridge Community College
  • Laurels grow abundantly within the college’s service area, which also features distinctive mountain ridges.
  • Laurel is also a verb meaning “to bestow an award or praise in recognition of an achievement, often academic.”
  • The ancient Greeks presented laurel wreaths to athletes, poets and war heroes.
  • As the upper edge of a mountain range, ridge can serve as a metaphor for the level of success and range of opportunities offered by the college.


  • Valley & Ridge Community College
  • One of the regions of Virginia, west of the Blue Ridge and east of the Appalachian Plateau Region, is the Valley & Ridge Region.
  • The name unites the service regions while paying tribute to the natural landscape.


  • Newbridge Community College
  • A recurring theme among comments and stories from students and alumni was that the college gave them a new outlook and a new start. The word “new” speaks to new beginnings.
  • “Bridge” can refer to where students are now and where they’d like to be in the future.

The college is hosting a telephone town hall beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 6, to give the public a chance to learn more about the renaming process and our aspirations for our new name.

To register for the town hall, go to, or dial in at 6:30 p.m. to 888-409-5380, or go to


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — 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 is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

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.