Laurel Ridge Community College is located in an historic, cultural area of Virginia. The College opened its doors in September 1970 to 577 students. Originally named Lord Fairfax for Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, the college was renamed Laurel Ridge in June 2022.
The first Commencement ceremony, at which 92 students received degrees, was held in June 1972. The College received accreditation from the Southern Association of Community and Junior Colleges (now the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) on Dec. 18, 1972. The first president, William H. McCoy, facilitated the opening of the College and remained in this position until 1987. Marilyn C. Beck became the second president in 1988 and served until 2003. John J. “Ski” Sygielski became the College’s third president in August 2003 and served until June 2008. Cheryl Thompson-Stacy became the College’s fourth president in January 2009 and served until January 2018. Kimberly Blosser became the College’s fifth president in February 2018. She oversees the administration of the educational needs of more than 8,770 unduplicated credit students and more than 12,150 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.
Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a comprehensive, multi-campus public institution of higher education. Through its three locations - the Fauquier and Middletown Campuses and the Luray-Page County Center - the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren and the City of Winchester.
Laurel Ridge offers more than 65 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site and online by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 8,770 unduplicated credit students and more than 12,150 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.
Laurel Ridge is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.
This policy shall be followed for recruitment, selection, promotion, transfer, demotion, compensation, benefits, layoff, training programs, accessibility, and job accommodation without regard to the individual’s status protected by law. Further, it shall be the policy of Laurel Ridge that no otherwise qualified person shall, solely by the reason of disability, be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of, any program or activity operated by the Virginia Community College System.
The College is governed by policies set by the State Board for Community Colleges with support and guidance from the Laurel Ridge Community College Board. Financed primarily with state funds, the College supplements funding with contributions from the participating localities and tuition fees. As the vision statement, mission and goals reflect, Laurel Ridge Community College is committed to excellence in all its programs and services while maintaining flexibility, accessibility, and responsiveness. Helping each student achieve his or her future goals is the focus of the College.
Mission of Laurel Ridge Community College
Laurel Ridge Community College provides a positive, caring, and dynamic learning environment that inspires student success, values diversity and promotes community vitality.
Laurel Ridge Community College enriches communities as we provide exemplary educational opportunities based on our core values.
Laurel Ridge Community College embraces the following core values:
We foster an environment that ignites and sustains a passion for lifelong learning.
We are focused, responsive, collaborative, and accountable.
We exemplify honesty, character, and respect for our communities.
We value creativity, enthusiasm, and a “can-do” attitude.
We honor the uniqueness of individuals and communities.
The College’s strategic plan may be found here.
Laurel Ridge Community College operates as part of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and is governed by the State Board for Community Colleges. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) approves the associate degree curricula of the College for Virginia. Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org). Laurel Ridge is approved by the U.S. Department of Education for various federal funding programs. Nursing programs are approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing.
As a member of the Virginia Community College System, Laurel Ridge adheres to the VCCS policy as mandated in the VCCS Policy Manual. Policies that are specific to Laurel Ridge can be accessed at http://laurelridge.edu/policies/.
Locations and Facilities
Laurel Ridge Community College’s three locations include the Fauquier and Middletown Campuses and the Luray-Page County Center; and offer a full range of associate degree and certificate programs, as well as continuing education, workforce training, dual enrollment, and community services. The College is committed to serving the lifelong learning needs of the community through both credit and noncredit educational opportunities.
In December 1988, Fauquier County Executive Bob G. Sowder donated 2.5 acres of property to establish a community college campus. The renovated barn on this property became the Fauquier Campus of Laurel Ridge Community College, which was later expanded when the General Assembly appropriated $7.2 million in 1996 to construct the current 60,000 square foot classroom and administrative building.
On Oct. 22, 1999, the College community celebrated the dedication of the new campus building, located on U.S. Route 29, just south of Warrenton. The Wolk Hall classroom and administrative building is named for Paul and Sheila Wolk, whose generosity to Laurel Ridge Community College has made quality educational opportunities available to many students on both campuses.
In addition to the classroom and laboratory spaces on the Fauquier Campus, the Loeb Center is a dramatic space where students share activities, meals, and study time. Students also utilize the resources available in the Bob G. Sowder Library and through the Student Services Office, where they can receive academic and career counseling, financial aid assistance and other services to assist them in achieving their educational goals.
In August 2022, Hazel Hall opened. The state-of-the-art building includes the Barkman Family Conference Center and educational classrooms and labs for science, engineering and health professions. Construction began in late fall 2022 for the Center for the Skilled Trades.
Laurel Ridge Community College’s Middletown Campus is on a 120-acre tract in the northern Shenandoah Valley approximately 10 miles south of Winchester, Va. Nestled among the Blue Ridge, Massanutten and Allegheny Mountains, with Interstate highways 66 and 81 and U.S. Route 11 adjacent, the campus is easily accessible. The recently renovated original college building includes classrooms, computer laboratories, administrative and faculty offices, a business office, and the Fredy and Klara Kumuli Lounge.
In 1985, Laurel Ridge built a technology center on the Middletown Campus, adding a Special Events Center, computer labs, classrooms, and faculty offices. During the 1993 Commencement ceremony, the building was officially named the Alson H. Smith Jr. Technology Center. In 1994, the Learning Resources Center construction was completed, and the facility was dedicated in April 1995 in honor of benefactor Paul Wolk of Fauquier County. Outside facilities include a regulation 400-meter Olympic-size track, fitness trail and soccer field.
In 2005, groundbreaking commenced on the Science and Health Professions Building. The 46,870 square-foot, two-story building provides additional classroom space for the science and health professions courses offered at the College, providing state-of-the-art laboratories for scientific and health study.
In July 2010, the Corron Community Development Center opened. The 30,000 square-foot building is a multi-purpose facility that supports workforce solutions, continuing education, small business development, college advancement and community events. This building also houses ODUOnline. The two-story facility includes classrooms, office space and a 500-seat multi-purpose room.
In January 2014, the beautiful Student Union opened. The 32,000 square-foot building provides new amenities for students. The Student Union provides a larger bookstore; fitness center; two exercise studios; recreational lounge; two classrooms; a quiet study room; and offices for physical education faculty and Student Life and Engagement staff.
Luray-Page County Center
The Luray-Page County Center opened on Jan. 9, 2006, in a former Wrangler jeans factory. In 2020, the Center relocated to a new 13,000-square-foot building, named the Russell A. and Rodney A. Jenkins Hall, on land donated by the Jenkins family to the Laurel Ridge Community College Foundation. The Center houses classrooms, science and health science labs, a trades lab, boardroom, and student commons areas.
The Center’s excellent core faculty group teaches a variety of both day and evening credit classes needed for both associate degree and certificate programs. The College provides noncredit training opportunities to enhance job skills and works with local businesses. These courses and programs at the Center bring together quality career opportunities to its students and graduates.
Laurel Ridge Community College is a comprehensive institution of higher education offering programs of instruction generally extending not more than two years beyond high school level.
The College is committed to enhancing the educational experience of each student through a variety of services and activities. Student Services facilitates personal growth and development and educational success through services such as:
- Academic advising
- Career services
- Disability services
- Financial aid (federal and state)
- Food pantry
- Mental healthcare
- Single Stop
- Student activities/clubs/sports
- Student Learning Services
- Student organizations
- Student Support Services
- Transfer planning
- Veterans’ educational benefits
Laurel Ridge Community College offers multiple degrees and certificates in a variety of subject areas that prepare students to meet the increasing demand for technicians, semi-professional workers, skilled craftsmen and artisans, supervisors, and managers for employment in business, industry, and government. Students who complete one of the programs are prepared to enter the workplace or pursue additional education. The subject areas for the programs include:
- Administration of Justice
- Early Childhood Development
- Engineering, Construction, and Industry
- Health Information Management
- Health Professions
- Information Systems Technology
College Transfer-University Parallel Education
The college transfer-university parallel program focuses on college freshmen and sophomore courses in arts and sciences and pre-professional programs.
After completing the first two years at Laurel Ridge, students can transfer to a four-year college or university and enter a bachelor’s degree program. To ease the transfer process, students are urged to work with a Laurel Ridge advisor and maintain contact with four-year college representatives before selecting courses. Admission and graduation requirements vary widely and sometimes change over time. Laurel Ridge offers the following four degrees and five specializations that lead to an associate of arts and sciences degree and one degree and four specializations that lead to an associate of science degree:
- Business Administration
- General Studies
- Administrative Justice Specialization
- Human Services Specialization
- Recreation and Outdoor Leadership Specialization
- Liberal Arts
- Communication Specialization
- Fine Arts Specialization
- Agriculture Specialization
- Computer Science Specialization
- Engineering Specialization
- Forensic Science Specialization
- Health Professions Specialization
Workforce Solutions Professional Development and Continuing Education
Laurel Ridge Community College Workforce Solutions represents your local, reliable, and trusted partner for quality and relevant workforce training programs that meet the needs of employers and individuals in our community. Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions offers high-quality instruction and hands-on skills that transfer directly into the workplace. This department has instructional year-round programs convenient for individuals or employers at all Laurel Ridge locations, multiple off-site locations, or even on-site for an organization.
Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions provides hands-on, in-person and online courses to help individuals quickly develop critical, high-demand job skills and earn recognized industry credentials. Over half the programs offered through Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions result in certifications and licensure that lead to direct employment. Programs are offered in many categories of training that include Business & Professional Development, Computers & Technology, Healthcare & Wellness, Industry, Manufacturing & Construction Trades, and Transportation. Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions also offers Corporate Training Programs for employers, “Fast-Track” Career Training Boot Camps and Career Changer Programs, Online Learning, and Career Coaching & Job Placement Services (for eligible candidates).
Depending on eligibility and programs, Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions can offer several funding options including financial assistance, grant funding, scholarships, or private funding and payment options. To learn more, call 540-868-7021 or visit laurelridgeworkforcecom.
Laurel Ridge Community College Educational Foundation Inc.
The Laurel Ridge Community College Educational Foundation Inc. is an independent, not-for-profit entity dedicated to assisting the College in meeting its current and future needs. Its purpose is to generate support and resources for the College beyond those provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Incorporated in 1978, the Foundation is committed to raising funds for academic programs, facility upgrades, equipment, student scholarships and professional development for employees. Private contributions ensure that the College can keep its promise and pledge of providing increasing academic excellence and expanding business and industry services.
The Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c) (3) organization. All gifts are tax deductible as allowed by law. For income tax purposes, the federal identification number for the Foundation is 51-0247624. Its fiscal year is January 1 through December 1.
Mission of the Foundation
The mission of the Laurel Ridge Community College Educational Foundation Inc. is to support the College in providing a challenging and enriching learning-centered environment for all students, employees and community members that prepares them to succeed in the 21st century. The Foundation accomplishes its mission by:
- Cultivating dynamic partnerships with individuals, businesses, organizations, and communities,
- Securing funds to support the educational opportunities, programs, facilities, and services offered by the College,
- Enhancing community awareness of the College and the Foundation, and
- Providing prudent fiscal management of funds and resources contributed to the Foundation.
The Foundation embraces the following core values as it conducts its operations, makes its decisions, and plans for its future:
- The Foundation is student centered. It focuses its efforts on enhancing their Laurel Ridge learning experience.
- The Foundation is donor oriented. It recognizes that its donors are vital to the Foundation and to the College. It respects them and it will be loyal to them.
- The Foundation is team driven. It will work together in its Foundation, in its College, and in its community. Teamwork works.