RCC’s first 50 Years

the big dig

The ceremonial first breaking of ground included dirt from all the counties which RCC would serve for the next 50 years.

On January 9, 1970, the local board of the newly formed Rappahannock Community College met for the first time to chart the future course of the only institution for higher education in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.

Fifty years later we celebrate incredible growth with main campuses in Glenns and Warsaw and sites in King George, Kilmarnock, and New Kent covering a service area of 12 counties; thousands of enrolled students and alumni; award-winning faculty and programs; and a thriving scholarship portfolio.

But the achievements of buildings, grounds, and campuses are just footnotes to the real story — the thousands of students who began or continued their educational journey at RCC.

They are the nurses, aides, EMTs and pharmacy techs who help us when we’re sick. They’re our bank presidents, circuit court judges, attorneys, law enforcement workers, teachers, counselors, insurance agents, retailers, and small business owners. They keep our homes and vehicles running as mechanics, HVAC workers, fiber-optic techs, and building contractors. They grow our food, transport it, and make incredible meals at our restaurants.

Every day our lives are touched by RCC alumni. 

As RCC enters into its next half century, it will shape a new generation of alumni who hold the key to our regional economy. To commemorate five decades of education and achievement of both the college and its graduates, RCC will launch a celebration leading up to January 2020.

Join us as we embark on this journey honoring RCC’s first 50 years and embracing the next 50 and more! Add your name to the list of alumni or friends of RCC who would like to follow the progress. Contact Michele Inderrieden at minderrieden@rappahannock.edu or call 804-333-6824.

• RCC: The First 50 Years timeline •

  1. January 9, 1970

    First meeting of the College Board held at the Vacationer, in Urbanna on January 9, 1970.

  2. July 1, 1970

    Founding President Dr. John H. Upton assumed his position on July 1, 1970.

  3. August 24, 1970

    The Chinn House on the North Campus opened as administrative headquarters on August 24, 1970. At the time, the Warsaw Campus was referred to as the “North Campus.”

  4. Sept. 11, 1970

    A groundbreaking ceremony for South (Glenns) Campus was held with soil from courthouse greens of the 13 participating counties mixed symbolizing joint participation.

  5. April 1971

    Tuition is $180 per year or $60 per term in April 1971.

  6. Sept. 13, 1971

    The opening of college the facility at South Campus in Glenns on Sept. 13, 1971, saw 433 students enrolled. 

  7. October 9, 1971

    On October 9, 1971, the South (Glenns) Campus was dedicated, featuring a keynote speech by Virginia Governor Mills Godwin, Jr.

  8. March 24, 1972

    Groundbreaking ceremony for North (Warsaw) Campus held on March 24, 1972, with 13 dogwood trees planted. Each county in RCC’s service region represented by one tree. 

  9. June 1972

    RCC’s first summer session begins in June of 1972.

  10. September 1972

    Enrollment nearly doubles in the second year as classes are held at both Glenns and the Chinn House in Warsaw in September 1972.

  11. November 1972

    Students and faculty form first Virginia community college tennis club as members of the United States Lawn Tennis Association and the Virginia Tennis Association. Later, 20-pound turkeys were the prize for RCC’s Turkey Trot cross country race held the day before Thanksgiving. Mike Jenkins and Faye Fortune each won a turkey for first place.

  12. December 1972

    RCC is admitted as a candidate for accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in December 1972.

  13. April 1973

    Phi Beta Lambda chapter of the Collegiate division of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is formed at RCC in April of 1973.

  14. June 10, 1973

    First graduation exercises held on South (Glenns) Campus; 55 graduates were awarded degrees and/or certificates on June 10, 1973.

  15. September 1973

    A full complement of classes was offered at North Campus (Warsaw) as the construction of the new facilities was completed. Tuition at RCC is $75 per quarter.

  16. October 6, 1973

    Dedication of the North (Warsaw) Campus took place, keynoted by the Honorable W. Roy Smith, from Virginia House of Delegates on October 6, 1973.

  17. Dec. 12, 1973

    The college is granted full accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools on Dec. 12, 1973.

  18. March 1974

    Inauguration in cooperation with Area IX Manpower Planning Control Board of training program in local trade skills in March 1974.

  19. August 1974

    The college sponsored first regional tennis tournament, North (Warsaw) Campus in August 1974.

  20. September 1974

    In September 1974, the Rappahannock Community College Orchestra was formed under the direction of Mr. Clifford Marshall. Later, the Associate Degree program in Nursing began through a cooperative arrangement with J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in September of 1974.

  21. Nov. 16, 1974

    The First Annual Regional Math Contest for area school youth held on North (Warsaw) Campus in cooperation with Virginia Commonwealth University took place on Nov. 16, 1974.

  22. December 1974

    The West Point Centennial Scholarship Fund was established in December 1974.

  23. March 1975

    The college orchestra marked debut with performance before the Regional Bicentennial Forum in March 1975.

  24. April 9, 1975

    First Annual Regional Science Fair for area youth held on the North (Warsaw) Campus on April 9, 1975.

  25. May 1975

    In May 1975, Rappahannock won first place in State Playday, which was an event where all the Virginia community colleges sent students to compete in various athletic and academic events.

  26. September 1975

    In September 1975, enrollment exceeded projections, marking the greatest annual growth to date. 

  27. November 1975

    The North (Warsaw) Campus is designated Bicentennial Campus by the American Revolutionary Bicentennial Commission in November 1975.

  28. April 2, 1976

    On April 2, 1976, the Bicentennial Colonial Crafts and Skills Festival was held on the North (Warsaw). Campus. 

  29. April 1976

    The Annual Statewide Daffodil Show of the Garden Club of Virginia was held on the North (Warsaw) Campus in April of 1976.

  30. August 1976

    The college hosted the first Regional Conference for Vocational Teachers in August 1976.

  31. Sept. 25, 1976

    Bicentennial Ball hosted by the Garden Club of the Northern Neck held on the North (Warsaw) Campus on Sept. 25, 1976.

  32. May 14, 1977

    RCC won first place at State Playday for the second time on May 14, 1977.

  33. August 1977

    Regional Cooperative Law Library opened on the North (Warsaw) Campus in August 1977.

  34. April 16, 1978

    Dedication of Manpower Training Building held, keynoted by Mr. W. Thomas Rice, Chairman of the Board, Seaboard Coast Line Industries, Inc., took place on April 16, 1978. Also, the Blake Tyler Newton plaque unveiled and Memorial Fund in his name established. 

  35. December 1978

    Reaffirmation of accreditation (10-year) granted by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools on December 1978.

  36. June 15, 1979

    Seventh graduation exercises held on the North (Warsaw) Campus; 103 graduates awarded degrees and/or certificates on June 15, 1979.

  37. Sept. 15, 1979

    The outdoor amphitheater at the South (Glenns) Campus, was christened with a concert by the Richmond Sinfonia on Sept. 15, 1979.

  38. January 9, 1980

    The college marks the tenth anniversary of the first meeting of its Local Board (January 9, 1970) with special program held at the Urbanna Inn (formerly the Vacationer), in Urbanna, preceding the 64th regular meeting of the Board held on the South Campus on January 9, 1980.

  39. May 1980

    Second Annual Dragon Run Folklife Festival held on the South (Glenns) Campus, attracting over 12,000 people from as far away as Maryland and North Carolina in 1980.

  40. May, 1980-2

    Eighth graduation exercises held on South (Glenns) Campus with Mr. John Warren Cooke, retired Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, addressing 83 graduates to whom 86 degrees and/or certificates were awarded in May 1980.