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‘Mountain Gateway’ New Proposed Name for DSLCC

Clifton Forge, VA (Oct. 18, 2021) - The Local Board for Dabney S. Lancaster Community College accepted the 25-member Task Force recommendation of “Mountain Gateway Community College” as the new name to replace Dabney S. Lancaster. During the Local Board meeting Monday on the Clifton Forge campus, Dr. John Rainone, president of DSLCC reviewed the Task Force’s process of selecting the three names from a pool of over 430 names.

The Task Force, which has been meeting since July, was commissioned to review and provide to the Local Board, a final list of names that are inclusive, instill a sense of pride and inspire innovative learning and collaboration, and not be derived from an individual’s name.

The DSLCC Local Board accepted the Task Force’s recommendation by a unanimous vote on Monday.

Next, “Mountain Gateway” will be voted on by the State Board for Virginia Community Colleges at their November meeting. Pending the approval from the State Board, the College will transition to the new name on July 1, 2022. The State Board passed a resolution in the summer of 2020, directing Virginia’s Community Colleges to review the names of their institutions, including their campuses and facilities.

That resolution stated in part, “The mission of Virginia’s Community Colleges and their shared dedication to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion demand we examine the names regularly facing our students, faculty, staff, and supporters on their community college journey, and determine if those names are consistent with that mission and those values.”

In his presentation to the Local Board, Dr. Rainone noted that the inclusion of the word “mountain” symbolizes the “beauty of our region and pays tribute all of the mountains that surround our entire service area. The mountains serve as a connecting point between the wide-ranging communities in our service area. All localities we serve feel a connection to the mountains.”

“Mountain,” he noted, “can serve as a metaphor for the level of success and range of opportunities offered by the college.”

“Gateway represents an opportunity for our students toward a future whether it's their academic journey or a broader horizon they wish to explore,” he said. “For 60 years, the College has provided students with education and training to pave the way for their careers and their futures. The term “gateway” opens doors to the middle class, and by supplying local industry with trained workers and residents with opportunities to gain solid paying careers.”

“I appreciate the task force’s due diligence and hours spent out of their personal lives to present their recommendations for the college’s name change,” commented DSLCC Local Board Chair Ramona Garcia, who represents Bath County. “Thanks to their efforts, we are pleased to launch the new name.”

The other two names that made the final three list were “Headwaters” and “Mountain River,” said Dr. Rainone.

Board member Tammy Scruggs-Duncan made the motion to accept the new name, seconded by Marylin Alexander. Other board members who voted in favor were Steve Vaughn, Ingrid Barber, Tony McFaddin, Bill Hartsfield and Rusty Ford.

Dr. Rainone added that the name DSLCC will remain through this academic year, and the process of rebranding will begin soon.

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(Editor's note: to see Dr. John Rainone's full presentation to the DSLCC Board, please visit this link:

Rainone Explains Background Of College Name Change


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