HISTORY OF THE COLLEGE
Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) was established in
1964 as Northern Virginia Technical College to serve the eighth
planning district. A statewide technical college system was established
with 23 regions under legislation enacted by the Virginia General
The College opened for classes in the fall of 1965 in a single
building in Bailey's Crossroads. Enrollment was 761 students
who were served by a faculty and staff of 46. Robert W. McKee
was the first president. Dr. Richard J. Ernst became the second
president of the College in September 1968 and served for thirty
years. Dr. Belle S. Wheelan became the third president of the
College in July 1998 and served for three years. Dr. Robert G.
Templin, Jr., became the fourth president of the College in August
The College was renamed Northern Virginia Community College in
1966 when the General Assembly changed the name of the technical
college system to the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).
College transfer curricula were added to the existing occupational/technical
curricula for a more comprehensive program.
In 1966, the College bought 78 acres in Annandale, which became
the first of five permanent campus sites. The first building
was constructed there and opened in 1967. That same year 100-acre
sites were purchased for campuses in Sterling, Manassas, and
Woodbridge. In 1969, a campus site was purchased for Alexandria.
Classes were first offered in Loudoun, Manassas, and Woodbridge
in the fall of 1972. Classes moved from Bailey’s Crossroads
to the Alexandria Campus in 1973. The Extended Learning Institute
(ELI) began offering home study courses in January 1975 and has
developed into a leader in distance education, serving more than
100,000 students who have taken 250,000 classes through distance
learning since its inception.
The College’s enrollment and programs grew rapidly. By
1970, enrollment exceeded 10,000 students. By 1973, NVCC became
the largest institution of higher education in Virginia with
17,260 students. During the academic year 2002-2003, the College
served 62,413 students in credit courses and another 19,724 in
non-credit courses. Workforce and professional classes as well
as professional and cultural activities attracted 275,734 people
over the year.