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Highlights: 1990s—Good Vibrations…


Dual Enrollment began with five partner schools and 336 students. DE allows juniors and seniors to enroll in BRCC courses taught at their high school and simultaneously earn high school and college credit. The program has grown to 17 participating high schools and over 600 students.

Scientific Seeds: BRCC students enrolled in summer biology courses conducted experiments on tomato seeds that had been placed into orbit by NASA in 1984.

Learning Can Be Fun began. As of 2016, the summer program has drawn over 16,000 enrollments! About 56 percent of those youngsters have gone on to take at least one credit class at BRCC.

Gary Puckett and the Union Gap performed in first Foundation Concert Series, along with local favorites, Wanda and White Boys. Gary Lewis and the Playboys entertained the next year.


Vet Tech students trained dogs for Caring Canine Companions. These pups assisted the elderly and handicapped.

BRCC conducted seminars to help organizations with implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act which became law in 1990.

A computer academic tracking system was installed.


The Nursing program became independent from GCC. In other health news, the Smart Pill was introduced. This pill consisted of a tiny camera that was swallowed during a GI procedure. Patients would wear a receiver on their hip to allow the capsule to transmit data results back to their doctor.

Past and present Presidents and Chancellors at 25th anniversary luncheon (l-r): Dr. James A. Armstrong, BRCC president 1969-1985; Dr. James C. Sears, BRCC president 1985-1989; Dr. James R. Perkins, then current BRCC president, Dr. Dana Hamel, BRCC founding president and chancellor of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS); Dr. Arnold Oliver, then current chancellor of the VCCS.

The College celebrated its 25th anniversary: the median student age was 29; 42 full-time faculty/33 support staff were employed. Full-time equivalent enrollment was 1,477. Dr. James Armstrong, who authored the history of the College’s first 25 years wrote, “Blue Ridge has, in a quarter century of progress, become all its founders could have hoped for in that time.”


BRCC partnered with Old Dominion University to create a new way to obtain a bachelor’s degree without leaving the area. It was called TELETECHNET.

A partnership between BRCC and E.I. DuPont de Nemours Co. in Waynesboro continued to expand. Three full-time and three part-time employees were on site to provide instruction and manage the program.

A Gender-Equity grant provided assistance to single parents and displaced homemakers.


Dr. Stuart Porter teaching a Vet Tech class via compressed video, 1999

BRCC became the first college in the nation to offer Vet Tech classes via compressed video to a remote site. Twenty students at the Virginia Beach campus of Tidewater Community College tuned in to listen to Dr. Stuart Porter lecture.

Peer Tutoring debuted—12 tutors were hired (at $6 per hour!) to tutor 70 students.

BRCC Turns the Big 3-0


Student in computer lab. Projected is BRCC’s first Website design in Netscape browser.

BRCC on the World Wide Web: By the Spring semester, six online classes were offered.

Folk Arts Festival celebrated 25 years.

Ten students and two faculty members embarked on the College’s first international study excursion. Destination? Costa Rica.

Grades were electronically scanned for the first time in summer ’98 semester. This made the process of recording final grades faster and more accurate.


First BRCC Spells Success—a spelling bee where corporate teams pledged $1500 (approximately a full year’s tuition) to participate. The WLR Foods, Inc., team of Shelia Helsley, Pete Hawes, and Kelly Good won the event by correctly spelling “recumbent.”

G Building was named the Houff Student Center in recognition of continuing support from the Cletus and Charlotte Houff family.

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