We're changing our name to Brightpoint Community College, a name as vibrant as the people and communities we serve.
In the summer of 2020, Tyler's President Ted Raspiller issued a statement addressing the college's commitment to equity and outlined steps Tyler would take to become a more equitable institution for all students, faculty and staff. Part of Tyler's commitment to equity was to research and examine the appropriateness of the names of campus buildings and landmarks, as well as the name of the college itself. When the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) requested that all 23 community colleges examine the names of their institution and its buildings, Tyler embraced the process immediately and proactively formed a Naming Task Force that began meeting in early fall 2020.
Our Naming Task Force was charged with reviewing the appropriateness of the names of our college, campuses and facilities. This task force includes representation from:
- administrative faculty
- the College Board
- the Foundation Board
- employers and
The Task Force engaged Brand Federation, a local branding firm, to provide guidance throughout the process.
Task force members examined historical research, round table discussion findings, case studies, and college data and looked at whether this information aligned with the college’s mission, vision and values. They discussed the importance of the names associated with our institution reflecting our culture of diversity and inclusion that empowers anyone from anywhere to be successful; our dedication to ensuring access to high-quality, high-value education for all; and our vision of a success story for every student.
After thoughtful dialogue and careful consideration, the task force unanimously voted to recommend we change:
- Our institution's name, John Tyler Community College
- The names of two of our buildings, Godwin Hall and Bird Hall
- The names of several campus streets that are directly associated with President Tyler: John Tyler Drive at the Chester Campus and Gardiner Court, Greenway Crossing Drive, Peacemaker Court, Tippecanue Lane and Tippecanue Trail at the Midlothian Campus.
In discussions, task force members recognized that all humans are fallible. However, they found the ideologies and actions of former U.S. President John Tyler, for whom our college is named; former Virginia Governor Mills E. Godwin, for whom Godwin Hall is named; and former Virginia State Senator Lloyd C. Bird, for whom Bird Hall is named, go against our institution’s values and are in direct conflict with our mission, vision and commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity.
- John Tyler was the tenth president of the United States, and during his lifetime, he owned two plantations in Charles City County. He was a slaveholder, supported slavery throughout his political career, and was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives.
- Former Virginia Governor Mills E. Godwin worked to establish the Virginia Community College System, however, he was a key figure in the Massive Resistance movement, which opposed the desegregation of schools, and he remained a supporter of school segregation throughout his political career.
- Former Virginia Senator Lloyd C. Bird helped secure funding for the construction of our college, but he was also a supporter of Massive Resistance, and during his political career, he actively opposed public school integration.
A New Name for Tyler
After the Naming Task Force unanimously recommended changing Tyler's name, Tyler continued to work with Brand Federation to assist with the process of determining a new name for the college. Members of the college community were given the opportunity to provide feedback on possible name choices in January 2021; the information collected helped the task force evaluate which options best align with the college’s vision and commitment to student success.
In a July 8, 2021, communication, President Edward “Ted” Raspiller announced the college is recommending Brightpoint Community College as its new name. On July 22, 2021, the State Board for Community Colleges, which has the sole authority to change the name of any community college in Virginia, unanimously approved Brightpoint Community College as the college’s new name. Read the announcement from Dr. Raspiller.
Renaming Campus Buildings and Streets
Tyler's College Board has the authority to approve new names for campus buildings and streets. Recommendations for new names for Bird Hall and Godwin Hall, as well as streets on the Chester and Midlothian Campuses that are associated with John Tyler, will go before the College Board once the new college name has been approved.