PDCCC president dies

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 1, 2002

Dr. Jerome J. Friga, the former president of Paul D. Camp Community College died early Thursday morning, leaving a legacy of love to his family and one of excellent service to the college and the communities it serves.

Friga served as president for Paul D. Camp Community College from March l992 to August 2002. According to Friga, his years at PDCCC were particularly rewarding both personally and professionally. Citing nine areas of accomplishment in his 10-year tenure at Paul D. Camp, he said, &uot;I am grateful to our faculty, staff, administrators, and community stakeholders who have worked so hard to put the College in a strong position.&uot;

The beloved president of the college was diagnosed with advanced melanoma after he became ill Aug. 9, and his wife, Frances, took him to Duke University Hospital.

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Friga’s service will be remembered for the expansion and improvements at the Suffolk and Franklin campuses, and he was instrumental in bringing the new Workforce Training Center to the Franklin campus.

During his tenure, Friga formed a partnership with local public schools, industry and private foundations, resulting in the creation of a new Industrial Technology certificate and degree program with a fully equipped, privately funded instructional laboratory.

He also reactivated the educational foundation, which had languished for years before he came to head the college. Friga was also responsible for restructuring policy-making process, which systematically involves the faculty in development of college policy.

Friga’s many accomplishments at the college include construction and implementation of a new campus and a college outreach center. Also during his tenure, renovation of 60 percent of the space in the original campus building took place, allowing more modern instructional and student requirement needs to be met.

During a special ceremony Aug. 29, Friga accepted for the college a gift of an additional 17-acres of land from the family of the late Oliver K. Hobbs. It was Hobbs who gave the original land for the college.

Friga made his last public address during that ceremony, thanking the Hobbs family for the generous gift

In turn, Cynthia Hobbs Baker, Hobb’s daughter, spoke of the friendship between her father and the college president.

For all his years of friendship to the Hobbs family and his dedication to ever improving the growing community college and it’s faculty and staff, Friga will most be remembered for the husband and father he was to his family.

When Friga’s son, Paul, informed the college’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Dr. Patsy R. Joyner, that his father died Thursday morning, he held back nothing in expressing his deep love for the who raised him.

According to Paul Friga, his father died peacefully at home with his family. The young man said he realizes now, for the first time, what the word &uot;passed&uot; means in reference to death.

&uot;He has now passed to his next journey,&uot; he said. &uot;His journey with us was a wonderful one. I have never known anyone who loved and was loved so much. So many of us will miss him, but just always remember him joyfully and with much prayer and he will know you are thinking of him.&uot;

In his closing address to the College Board, Friga spoke fondly and proudly of the college he love so much.

&uot;PDCCC has provided education and training to a generation of area residents. It is poised for a strong future. I thank all of you for giving me the privilege of serving as president during these very active years.&uot;

Following Friga’s retirement, Dr. Douglas W. Boyce, of Abingdon, was named president of the college.

Friga’s funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 4, at St. Jude’s Catholic Church, 1014 Clay St., Franklin. Visitation will take place 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at Wright Funeral Home in Franklin.

Friga was deeply involved with the Boys and Girls Club of South Hampton Roads and the family has asked that donations be made to that organization in lieu of flowers. He had planned to establish a club in Franklin by Jan. 2003.