Celebrating 50 years at PDCCC
By Dr. Dan Lufkin
For most institutions, 2020 was a challenging, unprecedented year. Our lives were affected in ways we had never seen before. As the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31, hope sprang eternal for a better new year.
As we move into 2021, there is excitement about the future for the Western Tidewater community and more specifically, Paul D. Camp Community College. While looking to the future, we also want to pause to recognize the 50th anniversary of the college.
Paul D. Camp Community College opened in the fall of 1971 on an 80-acre site in Franklin. Today, the college spans across the Western Tidewater region, with campuses in Franklin and Suffolk, and a center in Smithfield.
As we reflect on the legacy of the Camp family and recall their many contributions to the community and the high regard they had for education, it is not surprising that Franklin became the site of the 17th community college in the Virginia Community College System. Particularly, we are grateful for Paul Douglas Camp, (the namesake of the college, the first president of Camp Manufacturing Company and a champion of education), and his daughters (Ruth Cutchins Camp Campbell McDougall and Willie Antoinette Camp Younts), who donated the land for the Franklin campus 50 years after his death. It is safe to say that the success of the college, and the success of our students, would not have been possible without their initial gift — a gift that has positively impacted nearly 50,000 people who have taken classes or attended an event at the college, and the countless others who will follow as we look to the future.
Today, the success and expansion of the college is a perpetual reminder of the legacy of Paul D. and the benevolent Camp family. Much like the prosperity that the Camp brothers brought to Franklin through their lumber and paper mills a century ago, the college continues to flourish by supporting the community with high-quality educational programs that provide residents with the skills and credentials they need for jobs in the 21st century. And, our Workforce Development Center has become a hub for the community and an engine for the local economy.
We are excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Paul D. Camp Community College and are even more excited to move forward into the next 50 years with a new logo that bears the Camp name. With the current pandemic still with us, we have put the possibility of an in-person celebration on hold. We will continue to monitor the situation and will announce when a celebration will occur.
Until then, keep happy thoughts, follow safety protocols, and remain optimistic that we will observe the anniversary of PDCCC and other Western Tidewater milestones together during this new year.
Dr. Dan Lufkin is president of Camp Community College. He can be reached at dlufkin.pdc.edu.