PAGE COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Following months of conducting a study and brand research, Lord Fairfax Community College has decided to change its name after 50 years of serving the community.
Over the summer, every Virginia community college was asked by the State Board of Community Colleges to look at names with racist ties following mass protests across the country.
According to a release from the college, the name Lord Fairfax was chosen in 1969, a year before the college opened. The original college board chose the name in part for its link to the region’s colonial history.
The name also added consistency because the local planning district commission had recently adopted the name Lord Fairfax Planning District Commission.
Thomas, the sixth Lord Fairfax, was born in England, and would ultimately hold more than five million acres from Virginia’s Northern Neck to near what is now Pittsburgh.
He would become a friend of George Washington, although his loyalties lay with the British during the Revolutionary War. Buried in Winchester, Lord Fairfax — like many large landowners at the time — owned enslaved workers.
Dr. Kimberly Blosser, President of Lord Fairfax Community College, said the decision was not just made on Fairfax’s past, but the idea that students were not comfortable with the name.
She said not many students or people around the Commonwealth know who Lord Fairfax was, and they want students to feel pride in the name of the college.
“Looking at his history and his legacy was a part of that whole study. It ended up, I think, for the board being these brand experts, telling us you have a brand that’s not really working for you,” Blosser said.
On February 4, the LFCC College Board voted to change the name of the college. The board will now look for a new name that appeals to students and the community for the future.
Over the next few months, a task force will be made and ask the input from staff, stakeholders, students, the community and alumni on a new name.
Blosser said they hope to have a name to present to the board by this summer.
“At that point, we will know what our new name is going to be, we’re planning for the summer of 2022 so that the new students who come in who will start the new academic year in August of 2022 will start out with that new name,” Blosser said.
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