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Community College Philanthropists honored with 2016 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy


From left to right:  Harold Levy, Executive Director; Stuart Haney, Board Member; Ricshawn Roane, Executive Office; and John Ruffino, NVCC Educational Foundation.  Photo credit:  Clem Britt

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation of Lansdowne, Virginia, has earned the 2016 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The Foundation was nominated for the award by Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). The award was given at a luncheon ceremony at the Country Club of Virginia on Tuesday, April 19, 2016.

Hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, the 11th annual event honors leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges as well as the statewide foundation. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders have contributed a combined total of more than $11 million to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has supported NOVA’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program for the past decade.  “The Pathway to the Baccalaureate program at Northern Virginia Community College has proven to be a successful model in serving students who have faced barriers to college access but have demonstrated that they have both the ability and desire to obtain a bachelor’s degree,” said Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy. “The Cooke Foundation is proud that our enduring partnership over the past ten years has played a part in the success of the program and its ability to serve an increasing number of students in Northern Virginia and specifically in Loudoun County where the foundation is based.”

The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. It offers the largest scholarships in the U.S., comprehensive counseling and other support services to students from 8th grade to graduate school. Since 2000 it has awarded about $147 million in scholarships to more than 2,000 students and $90 million in grants to organizations that serve outstanding low-income students.

We salute the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for its generosity and affording thousands of our students the opportunity to pursue their education and enhance their employment opportunities.  The vast majority of these students transfer from NOVA to George Mason University to continue their education and complete their undergraduate studies.

In addition to helping community college students realize their dreams of continuing their education, keynote speaker Mike Petters, VFCCE board member and president and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries, said donors also play a critical role in Virginia’s workforce development efforts. “By supporting the foundation, you support access, affordability, and student success at every one of Virginia’s Community Colleges across the state from Big Stone Gap in southwestern Virginia to Melfa on the Eastern Shore – and 21 community colleges in between.”

Graciela Billingsley, this year’s Eva T. Hardy Commonwealth Scholarship Recipient, took to the podium to thank her benefactor. 

“This scholarship – you – have truly impacted my life because in continuing my higher education at Northern Virginia Community College, I will be able to continue to learn important course work that will be the foundation to my future.”


Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.