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Inmates brighten their chances through RCC education

Nineteen Haynesville Correctional Center inmates were awarded Rappahannock Community College associate degrees on October 25, through RCC’s partnership with the Center and the Sunshine Lady Foundation Scholarship program. Dr. Elizabeth Crowther, president of the college, conferred the degrees. Nine of these were Associate of Applied Science degrees in business management; the remaining ten were Associate of Arts and Sciences degrees, which are designed to lead to transfer to a four-year institution.


“One of the most touching portions of the graduation ceremony,” says RCC’s Warsaw Campus dean, Patricia Mullins, who was invited to deliver the keynote address, “was listening to each student speaker talk about what obtaining an education has meant to him. It was obvious that all the students appreciated the new path that an education has to offer them.” She added, “Research has shown that an education is the best deterrent to recidivism, and RCC is proud to be part of a program whose goal is to prevent a return to criminal activities.” The program, Mullins emphasized, “provided the graduates a solid educational foundation to assist them in making the transition from prison life to productive citizenship.”

All 19 graduates qualified for one of the traditional honors: cum laude, which requires a 3.2 to 3.49 grade-point average; magna cum laude, requiring a 3.5 to 3.79 average; or summa cum laude, requiring an average of 3.8 or above. In addition, the seven who attained summa cum laude were awarded RCC’s Academic Medallion in recognition of their achievement.

The program has been in place since 2008, when the Correctional Center’s education department asked RCC to inaugurate the partnership with the Sunshine Lady Foundation. “It has been a very good partnership,” says Mullins, “and we have appreciated all the financial support provided by the Sunshine Lady Foundation. Without it, this program would not have been possible, and these men would not be graduating with their college degrees.”


Photo: On October 25, RCC awarded associate degrees to 19 Haynesville Correctional Center inmates. Left to right: Virginia Department of Corrections regional principal David Hunt; RCC’s Warsaw Campus dean, Patricia Mullins, who delivered the keynote address at the ceremony; and regional assistant principal Andrew Beamon.

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