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Noteworthy

Video: Signs of Change

Posted on June 21, 2012

Mr. Homer Eliades and Dr. Dana Hamel

In the coming weeks, big changes will be taking place at John Tyler Community College’s Midlothian Campus, as new signs begin gracing the campus’s two academic buildings, now named Hamel Hall and Eliades Hall.

Hamel Hall, which used to be known as the Science Building, is named in honor of Dr. Dana Hamel, the first chancellor of the Virginia Community College System. Dr. Hamel, who was chancellor until 1979, was appointed by Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr. in 1966 to develop a network of two-year institutions that would provide educational opportunities to a variety of students by being conveniently located, affordable, and focused on technical training. That system evolved into the Commonwealth’s 23 community colleges, which now serves more than 286,000 for-credit students annually in a variety of programs ranging from transfer degrees that allow students to seamlessly continue their college educations at four-year institutions to degrees and certificates that prepare students for immediate employment. Dr. Hamel also was instrumental in securing the land where John Tyler Community College’s original campus, the Chester Campus, now resides, giving the College the ability to open its doors in 1967. When Dr. Hamel learned that a building on John Tyler Community College’s Midlothian Campus was to be named in his honor, he said he was, “overwhelmed because so many people made this possible.” Dr. Hamel truly believes that people are the key to the success of institutions like John Tyler. “You are touching lives every day in ways that you don’t even know about,” said Dr. Hamel. “You are making it possible for all the people here at John Tyler, for all the people you know, to stand on your shoulders and look over the horizon.” 

Eliades Hall, formerly known as the Academic Building, is named in honor of Mr. Homer Eliades, a member of the founding College Board of John Tyler Community College and a founding member of the John Tyler Community College Foundation Board, who has given 45 years of uninterrupted service to the College. Mr. Eliades, an attorney in Hopewell, was appointed to the John Tyler Community College Board in 1966.  At that time, he and a group of peers in Hopewell, recognizing the need for workforce development in that region, already had formed Hopewell College. After being appointed to the John Tyler Board, Mr. Eliades turned his attention to the formation of the new community college system and John Tyler Community College in particular. Mr. Eliades served on the John Tyler Community College Board for 14 years, and when the JTCC Foundation was formed, he became a founding Foundation Board member. Over the years, he helped the Foundation expand and provided it countless hours of pro bono legal services. Today, he is a Member Emeritus of its Board. When the building naming was announced, Mr. Eliades said he was truly surprised. “It is overwhelming,” said Mr. Eliades. “My mother and father would be proud.” When asked what has motivated him to stay involved with John Tyler Community College, Mr. Eliades said, “It is satisfying to know that you are making some type of contribution. I’m just grateful I could do it and that I’m still here and able to still do it.”

“It is gratifying for the College to be able to recognize two individuals whose contributions have not only been substantial, but have stood the test of time,” said Dr. Marshall W. Smith, president of John Tyler Community College. “Both gentlemen were associated with John Tyler before its founding and were instrumental in its very beginnings. It is also gratifying that we were able to do this in their presence so that they were able to enjoy the responses of friends, colleagues, and families to this honor.”

Learn more about these name changes and about the two men who helped inspire more than 40 years of success at John Tyler Community College by watching our video at http://youtu.be/jCpjf2SllEo.

In the coming weeks and months, the College will transition to the use of the new building names. Watch our news page for more details.

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