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Home > About NOVA > History

History

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is dedicated to providing students of all ages and goals with a solid education at an affordable price.

Northern Virginia Community College was established in 1964 under the name Northern Virginia Technical College. In the fall of 1965, the College opened with 761 students in a single building in Bailey's Crossroads under President Robert W. McKee. To accommodate an ever-growing student body, the college purchased 78 acres in Annandale in 1966 to create the first of six permanent campus sites. That same year, the College was renamed Northern Virginia Community College when the Statewide General Assembly changed the name of the technical college system to the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).

In 1967, NOVA opened the new building on the Annandale Campus and continued to expand with the purchase of 100 acres for new campus sites in Sterling, Manassas and Woodbridge. This air of growth and change continued with the introduction of Dr. Richard J. Ernst as president in the fall of 1968 and the purchase of an additional campus site in Alexandria in 1969.

Expanding the goal to serve students of all types, NOVA opened the Extended Learning Institute in 1975 to accommodate individuals who wanted an education but could not accommodate a traditional program into their schedule. On the heels of the start of Dr. Belle S. Wheelan as president in 1998, NOVA purchased a site that would become the Medical Campus in 2000 and opened educational centers in Arlington and Reston. In 2010, a new center was added to NOVA, Innovation Park.

Today, under the guidance of Dr. Robert G. Templin, Jr., NOVA offers more than 160 associate degree and certificate programs to more than 75,000 students from 150 countries.