Laurel Ridge opens doors for community events

Logo used by permission from Laurel Ridge Community College

Laurel Ridge Community College is opening their doors for two upcoming events.

Laurel Ridge will host a Career and Internship Fair at the Corron Community Development Center on Wednesday, April 3rd from 10 am to 2 pm.

The fair will include more than 50 employers in healthcare, banking, government, hospitality, trades, and many other industries.

A full list of employers is available here.

Later in the month, the college will host the closing reception for Arte Libre’s inaugural Youth Art Month Exhibition on April 24th at 5:30pm in the Sekel Art Atrium of Cornerstone Hall.

The celebration of young artists is currently underway and visitors can check out the works of art through April 28th.

Additional information on the Youth Art Exhibition can be found here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Laurel Ridge boosts local economy by $265.7 million

Logo used by permission from Laurel Ridge Community College

A recent economic impact analysis revealed that Laurel Ridge Community College brought roughly $265.7 million to the local economy.

The largest portion of their impact comes from the increased earnings of Laurel Ridge Alumni and their employers.

This accounts for $227.4 million and supports over 2,900 jobs.

The college’s payroll and spending added an additional $24.5 million to the economy through consumer spending like groceries, rent, and other purchases.

The study also showed that for every dollar invested in Laurel Ridge, taxpayers receive $1.50 in value over the course of alumni’s work lives.

This comes from additional tax revenue made by alumni in the workforce.

A 2022 graduate with an associates degree will earn an additional $432,900 over the course of their career.

The study also anticipated Laurel Ridge students would save the region $4.5 million by reducing the demand on healthcare, justice systems, and welfare benefits.

Lightcast, a labor market analysis firm, conducted the study on the entire Virginia Community College System and a few individual schools, including Laurel Ridge.

A link to the announcement and the full report is available here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Laurel Ridge’s Bill Pence honored for contributions

Bill Pence, Operations and Registration Director for Laurel Ridge Community College’s Workforce Solutions, was recognized by the Virginia Community College System for his outstanding contributions to workforce and career education.

He received the Expanding Opportunities Award, the highest honor given by the VCCS at their annual conference.

He is credited with the Workforce Solutions’ team being the first in the VCCS to use online registration and for his instrumental role in bringing additional funding to Virginia community colleges through FANATIC (Financial Assistance Grant) and the Workforce Credential Grant.

Pence has also served the community on the Woodstock Town Council, Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors, Rotary, and much more.

After the recognition, Pence said, “I was very flattered to be awarded the chancellor’s award. I think it’s more of a reflection of the great team I work with and all the good things we do, and not just me individually.”

To view Laurel Ridge’s announcement, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Laurel Ridge receives grant from Mike Rowe’s foundation

Used by permission by Laurel Ridge Community College

Laurel Ridge Community College was one of three community colleges in Virginia selected to receive a grant from the mikeroweWORKS Foundation.

Laurel Ridge, Blue Ridge, and Patrick Henry community colleges received grants of $85,000 to infuse mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Certification curriculum into various trade programs.

The TV star of “Dirty Jobs” established the foundation and the S.W.E.A.T. (Skills and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo) Pledge to focus on the principles of hard work, determination, and respect for others.

Students will participate in 12 one-hour workshops taught by instructors funded through the grant and in collaboration with Wichita State University Tech.

The work ethic curriculum will be embedded across programs offered through Workforce Solutions and through the newly opened Skilled Trades Center at the Fauquier Campus.

To learn more about the grant, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Laurel Ridge opens esports arena

Used by permission by Laurel Ridge Community College

Laurel Ridge Community College opened their new esports arena earlier this fall.

The arena is located in the Middletown Campus’s Student Union Building and contains 12 PCs, three Nintendo Switches, and a broadcasting/streaming station.

The new arena is also part of a partnership with Shenandoah University who helped Laurel Ridge purchase $50,000 in equipment using a grant SU received for its Hub for Innovation, Virtual Reality and Entrepreneurship, or HIVE.

Laurel Ridge business administration students can transfer to SU’s esports management degree program which offers certificates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Shenandoah also provided two interns to Laurel Ridge to help establish the esports program.

Roughly 50 students have signed up for the new Lions Esports Organization, or LEO, which is open to all students whether they are playing competitively or recreationally.

To learn more information about the esports program at Laurel Ridge, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Laurel Ridge students rocket experiment into space

Used by permission by Laurel Ridge Community College

An experiment of two Laurel Ridge Community College students rocketed into space this summer after attending a NASA workshop.

Brian Gern and Ben Stange were accompanied by Computer Science Professor Dr. Melissa Stange to the six day RockOn! workshop this summer at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

The students built a computer from scratch that included a Geiger counter to measure radiation in space.

Their experiment was scheduled to launch in June but was delayed due to poor weather conditions.

The group returned in August to see their hard work sent off into space on a NASA rocket. 

Professor Stange said, “Not only did our students have an opportunity to learn about cross-discipline activities – they were able to apply what they had learned in multiple classes, such as computer science, drones and electrical – this experience gave them the opportunity to network with professionals at NASA. They were also able to learn about internships that could result from this experience. And, they developed friendships with students from around the U.S.”

To learn more about their experience, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Laurel Ridge hosts visitors from NASA next week

Used by permission by Laurel Ridge Community College

Laurel Ridge Community College will welcome visitors from NASA on Wednesday, September 20th.

NASA human resource specialist Karen Miller is the apprentice program manager and pathways internship program coordinator and she will be joining the group in Middletown next week.

She wants participants to know about the variety of options to start a career at NASA, regardless of their field of study.

She also mentioned that among 11 apprentices at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, 10 of them graduated from a Virginia community college as well as 3 of 4 interns.

Separate presentations with a Q & A will be held for Mountain Vista Governor’s School students, high school students, then for Laurel Ridge and the greater community.

Attendees will learn about opportunities available for current students, alumni, and those with 4 year or postgraduate education.

A link for more information and to RSVP is available here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

News Maker Andrew Gyurisin on an art show at Laurel Ridge

Laurel Ridge Community College will host a National Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) art show with a reception for the event Fri. Aug 26.

We spoke with the Development Officer for Laurel Ridge Community College Andrew Gyurisin about the show in our latest news maker.

News makers are brought to you by Warren County Together We are Community.

Andrew tells us about the show being a Nation wide touring exhibit.

He also tells us that there are some local artist involved in the show as well as artist from all parts of  the United States.

Andrew also tells us about the reception planned for the event.

Click here for Andrew’s interview.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Laurel Ridge receives two Military Friendly designations

For the 12th year, Laurel Ridge Community College has been designated a 2022-2023 Military Friendly School. It was given a silver distinction. Also, for the first time, the college has been named a Military Spouse Friendly School.

The Military Friendly Schools list is created each year based on extensive research using a public driven Military Friendly Schools survey from participating institutions. The survey questions, methodology, criteria and weighting were developed with the assistance of an independent research firm and an advisory council of educators and employers.

Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Viqtory with input from the Military Friendly Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer) and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

Laurel Ridge scored especially high in the graduation and job placement category, exceeding the standard by more than 94 percent. Other areas in which the college excelled included support and retention of student veterans, financial aid and assistance, and culture and commitment.

Laurel Ridge Associate Vice President, Student Services and Academic Support, Caroline Wood praised the college’s veteran academic advisors/school certifying officials Jeanmarie Corrado and Sharon Painter.

“Jeanmarie and Sharon serve dual roles as both academic advisors to their assigned students, and also as LFCC’s designated school certifying officials, which involves interpreting and certifying a complex menu of students’ educational benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense,” said Dr. Wood. “Both Jeanmarie and Sharon think of their offices within our Campus Veterans Centers (one in Middletown and one in Fauquier) as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for our student veterans and their families. They also serve as a general resource and referral agent to local Veterans Affairs services and programs. Their commitment to their students is noteworthy.”

Serving veterans, and their spouses and dependents is “an honor,” according to Painter.

“From inquiry to graduation, Laurel Ridge Veteran Services is dedicated to serving student veterans, active-duty service members, guardsmen and women, reservists, and their spouses and dependents through an array of support services designed to help them navigate their transition to higher education and to ultimately achieve their educational goals,” added Corrado.

More than 1,800 schools participated in this year’s Military Friendly School survey, with 785 earning the Military Friendly designation. Just under 350 schools earned the Military Friendly Spouse designation.

“Military Friendly is committed to transparency and providing consistent data-driven standards in our designation process,” said Kayla Lopez, National Director of Military Partnerships, Military Friendly. “Our standards provide a benchmark that promotes positive outcomes and support services that better the educational landscape and provide opportunity for the military community. This creates a competitive atmosphere that encourages colleges to evolve and invest in their programs consistently. Schools who achieve awards designation show true commitment in their efforts, going over and above that standard.”

The Military Friendly Schools list will be published in the May and October issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at The Military Spouse School list will be published in June in the Military Spouse magazine.

To learn more about veteran services at Laurel Ridge, please visit

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.


LFCC officially becomes Laurel Ridge

luray-page county center

Lord Fairfax Community College officially became Laurel Ridge Community College.

Small ceremonies at its campuses in Middletown, Fauquier and Page County marked the name change. 

In July of 2021, the State Board for Community Colleges approved the name Laurel Ridge.

This followed the boards decision to review the suitability of their name at all colleges in Virginia Community College System.

College Board Chair Michael Wenger said at the Page County naming ceremony, “The past year, they have been building the foundation, not for an ending, but a beginning, and it starts right away.”

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.