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J. Richard & Jeannine Commander Honored with 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy

Primary Media Contact:

Holly Walker
Public Relations Manager

Secondary Media Contact:

Heather Busch
Creative Services Manager

Released on May 07, 2018

CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Mr. J. Richard “Dick” and Mrs. Jeannine Commander have received the 13th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy, honoring their work with John Tyler Community College (JTCC). Nominated for the award by the John Tyler Community College Foundation, the Commanders were recognized during a luncheon ceremony on April 17, 2018.

For more than 20 years, the Commanders have invested their time, talent and treasure to help Tyler’s students succeed. One example of their dedication to Tyler and its students is the Commander Family Scholarship, established by the Commanders in honor of their daughters. Through this scholarship, the family provides students the opportunity to explore their talents and build a pathway to a successful future. The Commanders take a keen interest in the students who receive this scholarship, learning about their interests and goals and staying in touch with them throughout the year.

“Jeannine and Dick Commander embody a commitment to community,” says Dr. Edward “Ted” Raspiller, president of John Tyler Community College. “For more than two decades, they have generously supported John Tyler Community College’s students, providing scholarship opportunities and ongoing encouragement that inspires students to pursue their academic and career dreams. The Commander family is truly dedicated to strengthening their community by empowering individuals through education.” 

The annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy luncheon, hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, honors leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges, as well as the statewide foundation. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of $6 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Keynote speaker Paul Koonce, executive vice president and president and chief executive officer with the Power Generation Group, Dominion Energy, called the community college system “one of Virginia’s greatest inventions.” He also borrowed a passage from a 1903 Teddy Roosevelt speech to underscore the invaluable connection between higher education and opportunity. “’Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.’ Our purpose (as donors) is to make sure that prize – meaningful work – the best prize that life offers, remains within reach of every Virginian.”

The JTCC Foundation secures resources that provide scholarships for students; fund academic programs, student support services, capital projects, and renovations to modernize classrooms and labs; and stimulate innovation within the college faculty and staff. This work ensures the College continues its pledge of providing academic excellence to students while expanding the services it offers to meet the community’s workforce requirements. Since most of the College’s graduates live and work in the area, gifts to the Foundation are an investment in both students and also the community.    

John Tyler Community College offers more than 60 majors that provide pathways to careers in high-demand fields; transfer opportunities to four-year colleges and universities; and industry credentials and licensures. The college, with campuses in Chester and Midlothian, a Nursing Education Center, online classes, and off-campus classrooms, served more than 13,900 students during the 2016-17 academic year. It also assisted nearly 6,000 learners and more than 200 companies and organizations through its workforce development division, Community College Workforce Alliance. 

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Holly Walker, Public Relations Manager


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