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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 NOVA offers more than 160 associate degree and certificate programs to more than 75,000 students from 150 countries.


College History

1964 – Northern Virginia Technical College was established.

1965 – First classes were held with 761 students and 46 faculty and staff members in a single building in Baileys Crossroads. Robert W. McKee was the first president.

1966 – The College was renamed Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). The college purchased 78 acres in Annandale in 1966 for construction of the first of six NOVA campuses.

1967 – NOVA opened its first campus, the Annandale Campus.

1968 – Dr. Richard J. Ernst became NOVA’s second president.

1969 – The original plan of establishing one central campus and four satellite centers was changed to a concept of five campuses supported by a central administration.

1971 – Construction began on the Eastern Campus, later know as the Alexandria Campus.

1972 – Originally known as the Western Campus, the Manassas Campus first offered classes in the fall of 1972.

1972 – Originally known as the Southern Campus, the Woodbridge Campus first offered classes in the fall of 1972.

1973 – The Alexandria Campus opened.

1974 – The Loudoun Campus opened.

1975 – NOVA offered its first distance learning courses in 1975.

1979 – The NVCC Educational Foundation was created.

1983 – The Alumni Federation was chartered.

1988 – The semester system began at NOVA.

1998 – Dr. Richard J. Ernst retired and Dr. Belle Wheelan became NOVA’s third president.

2002 – Dr. Belle Wheelan left NOVA to become the Secretary of Education for Virginia. Dr. Charles L. Downs served as interim president from January to August. Dr. Robert G. Templin, Jr. became the College’s fourth president in August 2002.

2003 – The Medical Education Campus (MEC) opened in Springfield in Fall 2003.

2006 – The Arlington Center and Reston Center opened for classes.

2007 – NOVA became an Achieving the Dream College.

2008 – The Innovation Park Center in Manassas opened for classes.

2009 – Signal Hill in Sterling opened for classes.

2010 – NOVA was distinguished as an Achieving the Dream Leader College.

2014 – Dr. Robert G. Templin Jr., announced his intention to retire in February 2015.

2015 – Dr. Scott R. Ralls became the fifth president of the College in September 2015.

2018 – The Extended Learning Institute (ELI) was renamed to NOVA Online.

2019 – Dr. Melvyn Schiavelli became interim president in 2019.

2020 – Dr. Anne M. Kress became the sixth president of the College in January 2020.