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.”
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.
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: