Sylvia Allen, left, and Past District Governor Susan Zachensky Walthal welcomed Past District Governor Bobby Wrenn to the Lawrenceville Rotary Club. He talked about SVCC and the SVCC Foundation. Notice the Happy Jar. Members donate $1 to the Happy Jar and say why they are happy. The money is donated to various organizations.

LAWRENCEVILLE – Bobby Wrenn’s love for Southside Virginia Community College and the Foundation are evident. He was the guest speaker recently at the Lawrenceville Rotary Club and talked about SVCC and his work with the Foundation.

Wrenn shared how he received the invitation to speak.

“I am delighted to be here today! Sylvia Allen’s original request was for Dr. Quentin Johnson, the President of SVCC. He could not be here as it is the college’s opening convocation. So you have me and I am grateful for the opportunity,” Wrenn said.

“As many of you might know, not only am I a Rotarian but I am a SVCC graduate. I have served on the local board, on the statewide board, on the national board for the American Association of Community College and am currently serving on the Foundation Board. There are many in the room who have been instrumental in the success of SVCC. Robbie Pecht is the Foundation Chair and Ray Thomas and his father Gene have been such supporters and fans. It truly takes a village,” Wrenn said.

Wrenn said for over 50 years SVCC has been a vital part of our communities. Thousands of students have gotten their first start at college – some through dual enrollment, some through the Governor’s School and most following high school graduation.

Wrenn asked where our community would be without our college? Graduates are teachers, bankers, nurses, realtors, first responders, government officials, restaurateurs, truck drivers, auto technicians and the power line workers who keep our lights on! The list goes on and on. The community college has opened doors for many of our citizens.

Wrenn said there are 23 impressive community colleges across the Commonwealth but he would put SVCC up against any.

“We cover the largest geographic service area – 4,200 square miles – and we do it by partnering with our communities. Thanks to former President John Cavan and our local boards that recognized the value of our college, SVCC expanded from two original campuses to offering classes in 5 additional centers and in all high schools in the service area as part of the dual enrollment program. This saves money for the parents,” Wrenn said. “Also the college’s programs are offered through Campus Within the Walls for inmate education.”

SVCC offers, said Wrenn, 31 programs of study ranging from Agriculture to Education to Truck Driving Training.

“Tanner Wise of Buckingham County and a graduate of SVCC was just named the 2022 Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Outstanding Young Agriculturist.

“And yesterday the Power Line Worker Training School graduated 26 aspiring line workers. As of graduation, 16 had already accepted job offers – a truly wonderful program.”

Wrenn said currently there are 2,203 students signed up for fall classes. This is up from last year and in addition the short term workforce programs are running full tilt and not included in this number.

The SVCC Foundation’s mission is student and institutional support. The Foundation currently has over $5 million. Last year $593,804 was provided in scholarship support and $550,000 was provided in academic and instructional support.

“Thanks to all of you who support our Foundation, our college and our future,” Wrenn said.

Wrenn gave a backpack to the Rotarian who had a family member starting SVCC. For more information visit www.southside.edu.