Richard Bland College, the two-year junior college of the College of William and Mary in Petersburg, Va., celebrated its 50th Anniversary last month.
“The anniversary celebrations were great, and I was happy to connect with students,” Emily Michalek, second-year student and member of the student liaison, said. “I’ve grown personally here, and I hope for another 50 years.”
Ever since the University of Virginia at Wise became a four-year college, Richard Bland College has been the only state-supported junior college in Virginia.
The anniversary festivities included various sports games, a picnic and a formal banquet for board members and special invitees.
The new college mascot, an eagle dressed in colonial attire named the Statesman Eagle, was also announced.
Students said it was exciting to see the new mascot and spend time with classmates and faculty members.
Richard Bland College started with 165 students and 9 faculty members in 1960, classrooms, a cafeteria, a library, and a bookstore, and now has 1,640 students, 33 full-time faculty, 25 part-time faculty, more academic buildings, a Center for Student Affairs and a gym.
Two residence halls opened at the school in 2008, making it the only two-year college in the state with on-campus dormitories.
The current president of the college, Dr. James McNeer, is retiring at the end of this academic year after serving in the position since 1996.
McNeer joined the institution in 1968.
Richard Bland College gives students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree and then a bachelor’s degree after transferring to a four-year college.
“I started my journey in higher education as a student here at RBC, then returned to teach for 27 years before becoming Director of Advancement and now Provost and Dean of Faculty,” Provost and Dean of Faculty Dr. LeAnn Binger said. “I have seen many changes in all these years and there are more to come. We are dedicated to our local students, but we are also looking forward to having students from all across Virginia and beyond.”
The Virginia General Assembly created Richard Bland College the College’s sister school in 1960.
For all those students wishing to live in on-campus dormitories, there is a minimum 2.5 GPA requirement.