Richmond county native, Jay Garner, credits RCC with helping him gain a broader view of life and preparing him for bigger experiences. So much bigger that when he transferred from RCC with an associate degree in general studies he went across the country to Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.
One lesson Jay remembers in particular. In Dr. Howe’s chemistry lab they heated cereal in a beaker over a flame, crushed it, and then dumped the crumbs onto a piece of paper. When a magnet was held underneath the paper, particles of iron in the cereal moved, proving to the students that there really was iron in their breakfast. “That blew my mind and opened my eyes,” Jay said.
Other classes at RCC that broadened Jay’s outlook on life and gave him the confidence to venture so far from the Northern Neck were Joe Swonk’s public speaking class and Patricia Nicholas’ sociology class. “RCC prepared me for a bigger experience and was a good transition from high school to college to independence,” adds Garner. “The classes were at the caliber of four-year universities and all but two transferred for me.” Judge Mike McKenney’s classes were instrumental in helping Jay choose Political Science as his major.
Jay says the climate in Bellingham was similar to Virginia’s and he felt at home there. However, he found himself talking about Virginia a lot and realized he had deep roots and ties to the Commonwealth. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Jay returned to the East Coast and spent time as an intern with the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC. He then went to work for the Virginia State Corporation Commission for more than 17 years. Jay is now the public relations manager for Northern Neck Electric Cooperative in Richmond County and enjoys giving back to the community.
Jay is a proud RCC alumni and wants everyone to know “RCC provides a world-class education affordably—right in our backyard!”