VPCC President Among 2024 Community Builders Awards Recipients

Virginia Peninsula Community College President Towuanna Porter Brannon will be among the 2024 Community Builders Awards recipients when the Hampton Roads Community Action Program (HRCAP) honors community college and university presidents across the region for their contributions in education. 

The event is set for Thursday, June 6, at 7 p.m. at the Newport News Marriott City Center with Phylicia Rashad, award-winning actress, stage director and dean of Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, as the keynote speaker. 

Dr. Brannon is the ninth president of VPCC, with a higher education career spanning more than 25 years. Throughout her career, she has shaped policies, programs, and systems to enhance college access, retention, and completion. During her presidency, VPCC had its first enrollment increase in eight years, particularly among dual-enrolled high school students and those pursuing short-term, high-demand workforce credentials, and opened a new skilled trades center in Toano to better serve Williamsburg and James City County communities. The College continues expanding its reach with plans to launch centers for excellence in early childhood education and maritime skills trade in 2024.

In addition to Dr. Brannon, the 2024 Community Builders Awards recipients (alphabetically) are:  

* Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston - President, Norfolk State University
* Dr. Marcia Conston - President, Tidewater Community College 
* Dr. Joel English - President, Centura College 
* Dr. Brian O. Hemphill - President, Old Dominion University
* Dr. Corey L. McCray - President, Paul D. Camp Community College
* Dr. Scott D. Miller - President, Virginia Wesleyan University
* Gordon Robertson - Chancellor, Regent University
* Jeff Thorud, J.D. - Director of Hampton Roads Campuses, Bryant & Stratton College
* Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams - President, Hampton University  

“I am honored to be in the company of fellow transformational leaders, who work tirelessly to bolster the vitality of our respective communities. This accolade is not just a testament to my personal commitment, but a reflection of our entire community's dedication and hard work,” said Dr. Brannon. “At Virginia Peninsula Community College, we believe in the power of education to transform lives and communities. We strive to create opportunities that extend beyond the classroom by partnering with local businesses and community organizations which have been instrumental in facilitating student success.

“Considering recent sentiments, questioning the value of post-secondary education and training, I am grateful to the Hampton Roads Community Action Program for recognizing institutions of higher education as powerful partners who are developing the talent needed for our region’s growth, innovation, and resilience,” she added.

The June 6 event is HRCAP’s annual fundraiser designed to acknowledge individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to service and transforming lives within their communities through education, volunteerism, business, and outreach. Funding from the event supports more than 20 programs across Hampton Roads — serving more than 10,000 students, parents, and clients, according to HRCAP officials. 

The event will feature a State of Higher Education Roundtable discussion in partnership with WTKR News Channel 3, whose Jessica Larché will host. The discussion, with participation by this year’s award recipients, will focus on current trends in higher education and the response from colleges and universities to 21st-century workforce challenges.

“HRCAP is pleased to honor the region’s esteemed college and university presidents as part of the 2024 Community Builders Awards, and Phylicia Rashad offers a wonderful addition based on her contributions to higher education,” stated HRCAP CEO Edith G. White in a news release. 

“This year’s event uniquely underscores our continued commitment to strengthening the college and technical training pipeline through our early childhood education programs and offers an opportunity to recognize the contributions of leaders who share our vision for a stronger, self-sufficient community.”

Guests will enjoy a dinner, live entertainment, networking opportunities, a silent auction and more.

For sponsorship information or to purchase tickets for the 2024 Community Builders Awards, please visit www.hrcapinc.org/cba, or call Terry Brown at 757-247-0379 ext. 324. 

About Hampton Roads Community Action Program:
The Hampton Roads Community Action Program (HRCAP) is a nonprofit community action agency that has been serving residents of southeastern Virginia for over 50 years. An award-winning organization, the agency is a contributor to the economic stability of individuals and families in Hampton Roads. HRCAP is a regional organization – committed to improving the quality of life through programs in education, training, work experience, emergency services, housing counseling, and many other proven strategies. For more information, please visit www.hrcapinc.org.