Dr. Shannon Kennedy

Meet Dr. Shannon Kennedy

President Shannon L. Kennedy, PhD

Dr. Shannon Kennedy

Dr. Shannon Kennedy

Dr. Shannon Kennedy takes over as Rappahannock Community College’s fourth president, July 1, 2019, succeeding Dr. Elizabeth Hinton Crowther, who retired after 15 years of service.

Dr. Kennedy served as Executive Vice President at Cleveland Community College, in Shelby, North Carolina. She had been with the College for nearly 19 years. Prior to Cleveland Community College, Dr. Kennedy worked at Gardner-Webb University, the Uptown Shelby Association, and Shelby Headline News.

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Millersville University in Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in English Education from Gardner-Webb University, and a Doctor of Education degree in Adult and Community College Education from North Carolina State University.

In 2011, Dr. Kennedy was honored with the Athena Award, which recognizes women for leadership and community service. She has also received both the H. Eugene LeGrand Lifetime Achievement Award and the JT Scruggs Volunteer of the Year Award from the United Way; she received the Distinguished Woman Award from the Cleveland County Commission for Women; and, the Distinguished Rotarian Award.

Dr. Kennedy is married to Larry and they have three sons. She is the quintessential soccer mom, as all three children have played competitive soccer requiring travel all over the Southeast. Her two oldest sons, now adults, played Division I college soccer. Dr. Kennedy was also a college athlete, playing lacrosse for the Millersville Lady Marauders. When not traveling with children, she enjoys cooking, reading, and outdoor activities.

Shannon Kennedy’s Leadership Philosophy Statement

My leadership philosophy most closely aligns with the definition of servant leadership. According to Greenleaf, “A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the ‘top of the pyramid,’ servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”

I believe it is the responsibility of the community college president to empower others and give them the tools they need to succeed. I understand the power of listening, thoughtfully considering ideas, and compromising. While I can be decisive when necessary, I like to take the time to reflect on the consequences of a decision thoroughly before moving forward. Decisions should be made with input from those that are impacted, when this is feasible. I believe in working closely with the local school system, other higher education institutions, and industry in order to create and grow programs. Outside funding from granting agencies and private gifts from donors are critically important to sustain and grow. I have significant fundraising experience and I believe that the president should be actively involved in fundraising for the college.

I believe that communication is critical for any leader. Individuals may not like a decision that has been made, but if the individual understands why the decision was made, he or she may more quickly accept it.

Community colleges are the most nimble higher education institutions and can adapt to the community’s needs. In order to meet the ever-changing needs of the community and business and industry, the community college must be ready to adapt and change. 

Finally, I wholeheartedly agree with Harry S Truman when he said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit.” Those who accomplish great things should be recognized and a good leader gives the credit to the team. Building a solid team is extremely important.

Dr. Crowther addresses the crowd

RCC and Community Honor President Crowther

Dr. Crowther addresses the crowd

Dr. Crowther addresses the crowd

Hundreds of friends, family, RCC employees and community members gathered at the Warsaw campus for a barbeque to honor Dr. Elizabeth (Sissy) Crowther as she ends her tenure as RCC’s president. Crowther passes the baton to Dr. Shannon L. Kennedy, who becomes RCC’s fourth president on July 1.

As a slideshow played in the background, guests enjoyed a casual atmosphere with Dr.  Crowther. They relayed stories about her accomplishments, intellect and vision for the College and also remarked on her down-to-earth personality and varied interests. Helen Murphy, a member of the founding RCC Local Board, remarked, “We’ve seen the College grow under the leadership of Sissy. It has been amazing. Now, I want to go sailing with her!”

Shirley Moore-Johnson, a long-time RCC employee said she will definitely miss Crowther’s leadership and friendship. “Back in 1991, we started together at RCC when she was a faculty member. On my first day, I was walking to the door and so was Dr. Crowther; I didn’t know at the time who she was, but it was the first day for both of us. I was so happy when she came back as president. Yes, I’m going to miss her being here.”

“I lived outside of Warsaw at the time Sissy was hired as president and I knew of her family. They’ve been in the Northern Neck a long time,” remarked Patricia King. “I got to know her when she became president and I invited her to meet people in the community. She’s a perfectly marvelous person and I believe she resurrected the College.”

Community Honors Dr. Crowther

Community Honors Dr. Crowther

Ellen and Peter Bennett, of Irvington, have known Crowther for many years. Both have served on various college committees. They agreed that one of Crowther’s greatest strengths is her ability to be flexible. “If nobody in the area is doing it, she gets the College to do it. She sees a need in the community and fulfills it.”

Larry Roberson, Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors, also sees Crowther’s ability to get things done for the community, stating, “She was instrumental in getting the welding program in Montross with Carry-On Trailers. This is a big boon for our local economy.”

As Dr. Crowther grew into her role as president, she started fostering young leaders and was a founder of LEAD Northern Neck. Sam Louis Taylor, regional director for Senator Mark Warner, attended not only to represent the senator and send his best wishes, but as a friend of Crowther’s. “When I first moved to this area, the one person everyone said I should meet was Dr. Crowther. I’m grateful for the friendship and guidance she has shown me,” he stated.

A special tribute delivered by Martha Rest and Marlene Cralle

A special tribute delivered by Martha Rest and Marlene Cralle

Patricia Paige, New Kent Board of Supervisors and RCC Educational Foundation Board member, summed up the group sentiments best by remarking, “I’m impressed by her passion for education and her vision. It spills over to everybody. She’s a genuine person.”

But amidst the accolades, resolutions, and laudatory speeches Crowther always remains humble and credits others. “I will miss the people,” she said. “I am surrounded by amazing people all day.”

To honor this extraordinary president, the RCC Educational Foundation, Inc. (RCC EFI) Board established the Dr. Elizabeth H. Crowther Student Success Endowed Fund. The fund will make a significant impact to increase the number of students who stay on track to completion and successful transfer or job placement. The $2 million endowed goal is already half-way there.

RCC EFI Board President Rob Gates states, “Dr. Crowther has a true understanding of the challenges that our students face to attend classes, work, and raise families. She knows that high-touch advising and mentoring—along with affordability—increase our students’ retention and success. These efforts are important to Dr. Crowther, and an initiative for which we are privileged to raise funds in her honor.”

If you would like to honor Dr. Crowther with a donation to the fund, send a check to:
RCC Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 923, Warsaw, VA 22572
with the memo line “Crowther Student Success Fund”
or give online: rappahannock.edu/foundation

For additional information,
contact RCC EFI Executive Director Sarah Pope:

RCC hosts PTK Conference

RCC Hosts Regional Conference for VA/WV Region Phi Theta Kappa

Rappahannock Community College is proud to host the Summer Leadership Regional Conference for the Virginia/West Virginia Region Phi Theta Kappa, June 28-29.

“The mission of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize academic achievement of college students and to provide opportunities for them to grow as scholars and leaders.”

This conference’s study topic is “Transformations: Acknowledging, Assessing and Achieving Change.”

RCC’s Vice President of Instruction and Student Services, Dr. Donna Alexander, opened the conference, inspiring the attendees to be persistent and to be leaders, and in being leaders, be friendly and determined.

The Power of Transformation

Warsaw, Virginia Town Manager Joseph Quesenberry inspired the audience with his personal stories of determination, success and transformation. Quesenberry comes from Patrick County, in western Virginia and became town manager of Warsaw in 2016, where he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the town. A lively exchange of questions and answers capped off his presentation.

Robin Rich-Coates led the attending in a team-building exercise, in which they had to figure out what was in several numbered bags and what the contents meant to their PTK journey. One of the bags contained sets of Legos, which the attendees had a lot of fun assembling and describing what their creations meant – and what they actually were!

The evening continues with a dinner party sponsored by Grand Canyon University, and breakout sessions and carries over to Saturday where RCC’s Dr. Matt Brent will speak at the general session, sponsored by Sweet Briar College and lunch sponsored by the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

Phi Theta Kappa Conference at RCC

Phi Theta Kappa Conference at RCC

Dr. Donna Alexander inspires the audience

Dr. Donna Alexander inspires the audience

Robin Rich-Coates leads the attendees in team-building

Robin Rich-Coates leads the attendees in team-building

Asst. Reg. Coord. James Brumbaugh speaks to the attendees

Asst. Reg. Coord. James Brumbaugh speaks to the attendees

Attendees broke into groups to assemble their creations

Attendees broke into groups to assemble their creations

RCC's Therese Johnson worked with her group in team-building exercises

RCC’s Therese Johnson worked with her group in team-building exercises

Careful assembly required!

Careful assembly required!

Joseph Quesenberry

Joseph Quesenberry

Dr. Brent holding a photo of the moon landing, sitting in front of a background of stars.

Dr. Matt Brent Reflects on the Anniversary of the Moon Landing

“The U.S. should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”
—President John Kennedy, May 25, 1961

As the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing approaches, many recollect the momentous event with hope for the future. Among those reflecting is RCC’s tenured faculty, Dr. Matt Brent, who explains historical moments such as this in his classroom every day. 

One Giant Leap for Mankind

Dr. Brent holding a photo of the moon landing, sitting in front of a background of stars.

Dr. Matt Brent

On July 20, 1969, NASA’s Apollo 11 mission to the moon changed history forever. The successful landing of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong defined the innovations of America’s newest technology, and distinguished the U.S. as the winner of the Space Race against the Soviet Union. “At this point, we were in the middle of the Cold War,” Brent explained. “It was a competition, and of course, the Space Race was a large part of that.”

The moon landing also pushed new boundaries for news and television for the first time in the late 1960s. “This was an event that people could watch on television relatively at the time it was actually happening,” Brent said. “It was all new.”

To date, the United States is the only country to have successfully conducted crewed missions to the moon, with the last departing the lunar surface in December 1972. “It’s really amazing to think, we as a nation were the ones to do it first,” Brent said,”but, it’s also important for us to recognize that it was a group effort.” Brent argued that the U.S. was riding a wave of competitive innovation that was felt internationally, and this movement made way for incredible new technological advances.

As the scientists of Earth set their sights on the skies, the success of one country would ultimately advance society as a whole. “”One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” really asserts that the moon landing was greater than one country alone,” Brent said. “It was a monumental event for all of mankind. ” What does Dr. Brent predict for the future of space exploration? His message was clear: “The quest for exploration will continue. It is the next step for us.”

A Life of Learning Began at RCC

Dr. Brent reading in the RCC library with an Astronomy book under his arm

Dr. Brent in the RCC Library

Dr. Brent was born and raised in Lancaster, Virginia. Throughout his academic career, he has pursued degrees in history at a variety of levels and locations. After taking courses at RCC, Brent graduated from Christopher Newport University with a bachelors degree in History. Returning to Lancaster to teach, Brent went on to receive his Masters in Education from Walden University. He then received his second Masters in History of Political Science from Western New Mexico University. During his ten years teaching at Rappahannock Community College, he earned his PhD in Leadership from the University of the Cumberlands. 

Dr. Brent has taught a spectrum of history courses at RCC.  From U.S. and World History, to Western Civilization and Local U.S. Government, Dr. Brent has represented many facets of international culture in his classroom. He takes great pride in being a Gull — the place where his pursuit of higher education first began.

Want to learn more about RCC, our faculty, courses and pathways? Give us a call and enroll now. Fall 2019 classes begin August 26, so set your course now. At Rappahannock Community College, you can Stay Near and Go Far.

RCC Admissions
Mon – Fri |  8am – 4:30pm
Glenns Campus
Warsaw Campus




dr crowther

Dr. Elizabeth H. Crowther Named President Emeritus

dr crowtherAt its May meeting, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) State Board bestowed the honor of President Emeritus to Dr. Elizabeth H. Crowther, who retires on June 30 after 15 years as president of Rappahannock Community College (RCC). 

In recommending Dr. Crowther for President Emeritus, the RCC Local Board stated, “This honor recognizes the many contributions Dr. Crowther made during her 15-year tenure; contributions that extend beyond the College into every part of the service area, our communities, and the Virginia Community College System.”

The VCCS State Board praised Dr. Crowther’s dedication to elevating the Rappahannock brand and serving the educational and workforce development needs of the 12-county service area. The many accomplishments during her presidency attest to the quality of her leadership.

These accomplishments include: growing the RCC Educational Foundation’s assets from $1.4 to $11 million; establishing broad guaranteed admissions agreements with state colleges, such that the RCC template became the basis for VCCS statewide agreements; and facilitating substantial renovations at the Glenns and Warsaw campuses. In addition, Dr. Crowther expanded workforce training programs, extended off-campus sites to reach community needs, and grew the highly-acclaimed nursing and health programs to meet employer needs. Under her leadership, the employee culture has thrived, and she has built an exceptional staff, resulting in “Best Colleges to Work for” status from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

RCC's Dan Ream with author Eve Monk

Local Author Donates Memoir to RCC Library

RCC's Dan Ream with author Eve Monk

RCC’s Dan Ream with author Eve Monk

Author Eve Monk of Williamsburg has donated a copy of her memoir, “Twenty-Three Years: Childhood, War, Escape” (KDP Books, 2019) to the Rappahannock Community College Library.

The book begins with her idyllic childhood in Neu Bentschen (in eastern Germany, now Zbąszynek) in the 1930s. Monk’s memoir was prompted by her granddaughter’s request to tell her story of life in Germany during those times.

Her peaceful life was disrupted by the sudden expulsion of more than 12,000 Polish Jews from Germany in October 1938. Jews were forced to leave their homes in a single night and were allowed only one suitcase per person to carry their belongings. As the Jews were beaten and led away, their homes were vandalized and their remaining possessions were seized by the Nazis and looters. Although Monk’s family was not Jewish and they were not injured, the horror of this event left an indelible mark on her memory.

Monk continues to describe her schooling in the years that followed, her required participation in the Hitler Youth, and being drafted to spend several months in 1944 digging trenches and learning tele-typing and Morse Code to help the Nazi war effort.

Coming to America

Eve Monk's Memoir

Eve Monk’s Memoir

Following the war, Monk lived in Russian-controlled East Germany for two years until she immigrated to the US in 1951 and married a US serviceman with the Berlin Airlift she had met in Europe. Her memoir ends at her arrival in the United States.

Monk’s daughter, Karen, is married to RCC Professor Emeritus Robert Griffin. Griffin served RCC for more than 34 years as academic dean and dean of student development. Karen is a registered nurse, who graduated from Wytheville Community College and was director of dialysis in Kilmarnock and Gloucester.

At 91, Eve Monk, a life-long swimmer, remains active and is considering a follow-up to her book.

Molly Robinson and event participant

Terrarium Event Draws Audience of All Ages

Terrarium Event

Molly Robinson (left) and event participant

This week, the Richmond County Public Library hosted a variety of visitors to build their own terrariums on campus. Attendees ranged in age from 3 to 70 years old, who each put their imaginations to the test to design a miniature ecosystem.

Finding Creativity in Nature

Terrariums date back to the early 1840s, when scientists like Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward would experiment on plants enclosed in glass containers. As time progressed, the creation of terrariums transitioned from a scientific pursuit to an expression of creativity. Modern terrariums are now used as home decorations, mimicking miniature landscapes.

Event Participant

 Participant building her terrarium

On June 10th, library staff member Molly Robinson led an instructional demonstration on the basics of terrarium building. After that, the participants got to work on their own. Layering rocks, moss, and dirt into the bottom of the glass, the builders were ready to personalize their landscapes. Miniature figurines of castles, knights and princesses came to life in their new enclosures. Other participants used animal figurines to keep the landscape natural. As the event came to a close, the participants were surveyed on their experience. Their results were unanimous: a resounding 10/10!

Ship Terrarium

 Molly Robinson’s Ship Terrarium

Chris Sheppard

Deltaville’s Chris Sheppard Finds Success in Life and Work

Chris Sheppard

Chris Sheppard

After graduating high school in 2012, Deltaville’s Chris Sheppard was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to get into a college because of some struggles he had in some high school classes due to his learning disability. Fortunately, he was able to attend Rappahannock Community College.

A Welcoming Environment at RCC

Once he became a student at RCC, he was able to get special accommodations for his learning disability and was able to learn the material better. “RCC was always there to help me out with my classes and helped explain them to me so I could understand,” Chris says.

All the faculty and staff helped Chris out while he was at RCC; everyone was so friendly and were always there to help if he had questions, including when he became a student ambassador and a student worker in the library. “I was very honored to have those positions!” Chris is proud to say.

After graduating from RCC in 2016, Chris worked on strengthening  his life skills and obtaining his driver’s license while attending the Woodrow Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, Virginia. After, completing his time at Woodrow Wilson and had graduated, Chris landed a job as an area host at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.  “I want to thank everyone who helped me get to where I am today. Who knows, maybe you’ll see me at Busch Gardens, feel free to say hello if you do!” Chris says.



Photo from left to right: Thomas Wilson, Britney Thomas, Mears Pollard, Alexis Pacheco, Kaeli McGrath, Austin McCarty, Zachary Kane, Roman Cutler

LHS Students Graduate from Early College Academy Program

Photo from left to right:  Thomas Wilson, Britney Thomas, Mears Pollard, Alexis Pacheco, Kaeli McGrath, Austin McCarty, Zachary Kane, Roman Cutler

Photo from left to right: Thomas Wilson, Britney Thomas, Mears Pollard, Alexis Pacheco, Kaeli McGrath, Austin McCarty, Zachary Kane, Roman Cutler

On Friday, May 10, 2019, eight of Lancaster High School’s seniors graduated from Rappahannock Community College (RCC) with their Associate degree of Arts & Sciences, one month prior to their high school graduation.  “On behalf of Lancaster County Public Schools (LCPS), I would like to congratulate you all for this amazing accomplishment.  We are so very proud of you,” said Tara Booth, who oversees the Early College Academy program for LCPS.  Roman Cutler and Austin McCarty were both recognized for graduating with highest honor, summa cum laude

The Early College Academy is a public-private partnership between Lancaster County Public Schools and four local non-profit organizations, including the Wiley Foundation, the Cole Charitable Trust, the Verlander Foundation, and Campbell Memorial Presbyterian Church’s Agape Fund.  Tara Booth stated that we are lucky to live in such a generous community and she would like to publicly thank the four foundations who have financially supported this program. The Academy began with the 2017-2018 school year and recently completed its second year of successful operations. The Academy enables LHS juniors and seniors to enroll in college courses at Rappahannock Community College (RCC) and gain both high school and college credits at no cost to their families.  This is particularly important since more than 60 percent of LHS students are from economically disadvantaged families who may find it difficult to afford a college education for their children. (Tara Booth, LCPS)