Dennis Morris, a resident of Shenandoah County, was a member of the first graduating class at Laurel Ridge Community College in 1972. He recalls registering for initial classes in an old hotel down the road from the College, as the school was still under construction. Morris says, “I have been so lucky to see the transformation of the college since its beginning in 1970.” Morris has witnessed continued growth at Laurel Ridge over the years, and has attended numerous college functions, through his affiliation with the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors.
As the first Student Body Vice President and first Alumni President at Laurel Ridge, one could say Morris was destined for a career in government. At 24 years of age, he was elected to Shenandoah County’s Board of Supervisors. He maintained that post for 36 years, which is a rarity, because only a few elected officials in Virginia have served as long in one office.
Morris has always maintained a passion for farming, as he manages the daily operations of the family farm, Moo Manor. The family sells home grown, grain-feed beef and quality hay for horses. His parents started the business as dairy farmers.
Morris studied business and agriculture at Laurel Ridge. He says, “I never felt like a number, but a real person at Laurel Ridge.” He earned his Associate Degree in Business in 1972, and continued taking a mixture of classes over the years. Since Shenandoah County is one of the top five agricultural producers in the state, it made sense to continue pursuing classes in agriculture.
He currently serves on the State Leadership Council of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office, Board of Directors for Shenandoah County Department of Social Services, Chairman of the Regional Planning Commission, and President of the Maur-Brook-Olive Ruritan Club. He is a very active member in Valley Baptist Church.
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.