Virginia’s Community Colleges are marking the 50th anniversary of the statewide system of comprehensive community colleges in 2016 with a year-long observance that celebrates the progress of the past five decades as well as the promise of the future.

One part of that year-long observance is to ask community members to share their stories of how community colleges, and Tidewater Community College in particular, have had an impact on their lives.

TCC, one of the 23 schools that make up the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), came into existence in 1968, just two years after Gov. Mills Godwin and the Virginia General Assembly established the statewide system.

“I sometimes encounter former students who studied at TCC 30 or 40 years ago, before we had multiple campuses and all of the facilities and resources we have today,” TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani said. “They remember taking classes at the old Frederick College Campus or at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach.

“Even after this many years, they have fond recollections of the education they received at TCC.”

A web page has been created to collect those stories at 50.vccs.edu, and they will be shared later in the year at events commemorating the system.

Community members are welcome to share stories from a student, family, business or government perspective, past or future, about how community colleges have strengthened the community – and student lives.

Virginia’s Community Colleges were created in 1966 to provide comprehensive institutions that addressed unmet needs in higher education and workforce training. By 1972, a network of 23 community colleges across the state put access to quality higher education within a short drive of every Virginian.

Since then, Virginia’s Community Colleges have served well over 2.6 million people, awarded more than 575,000 credentials and associate degrees, and launched countless numbers of transfer students into bachelor programs, advanced degrees and successful careers.