LFCC Name Change

Lord Fairfax Community College will become Laurel Ridge Community College in the 2022-23 academic year.

MIDDLETOWN — Laurel Ridge Community College has been chosen as the new name for Lord Fairfax Community College.

LFCC's board made the selection on Thursday, an LFCC official confirmed.

The decision must still be approved by the State Board for Community Colleges. It will reviewed during the state board’s meeting on July 21-22.

The other names being considered were Valley & Vista Community College, Red Oak Community College, Valley & Ridge Community College and Newbridge Community College. Those choices had been narrowed to Valley & Ridge, Laurel Ridge, and Valley & Vista.

LFCC's board made the decision to seek a new name for the 50-year-old institution in February, following six months of studies and discussions prompted by a July 2020 request from the State Board for Community Colleges that asked all 23 Virginia community colleges to revisit their names. The request came as institutions across the country were rethinking names with racist ties following protests that erupted after the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer.

LFCC, which opened in 1970, was named for Thomas, the 6th Lord Fairfax, who was a slave owner who remained loyal to the British during the American Revolution. A Scot, he came to colonial America in the 18th century. From his home in White Post in Clarke County, he administered his vast Northern Neck Proprietary — a Virginia land grant dating back to the 1600s. At the time of his death, he owned at least 97 enslaved people. He is buried at Christ Episcopal Church in Winchester.

“I’ve said many times that his name is just not good enough for us,” LFCC President Kim Blosser said in a February video message following the LFCC board's 9-3 vote to change the college's name. “We are much better than what [his] name would show.”

During a May town hall held via Zoom and telephone, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, an LFCC board member, told the audience that the name change "wasn't a hasty decision."

"We had 50 wonderful years of Lord Fairfax," Freakley said, but "it's time to move forward" so that everyone feels welcome at the college.

"Like it or not, we are in an era of questioning, of asking about who is America, what do we stand for, what do we align ourselves with," Freakley said during the town hall. "We respect the past, but where we are today is looking at the future."

LFCC serves Winchester and the counties of Frederick, Fauquier, Page, Shenandoah, Rappahannock, Clarke and Warren.

The decision to change LFCC's name was not popular with some.

In April, the Frederick County Board of Supervisors voted 5-1 to send a letter opposing the decision to the State Board for Community Colleges.The Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors made a similar move in March.

Kelly O'Keefe, CEO of Brand Federation, who has worked with LFCC during the renaming process, said during the town hall that the new name must have potential to unite the college's service region and celebrate the community’s accomplishments as a whole.

Community feedback was presented to the LFCC renaming task force on May 12. The task force included students, faculty, donors, staff and administrators. The task force held six sessions before it recommended the three finalist names.

Of the 23 community colleges in Virginia, five are named after segregationists or slave owners, with three colleges in the process of changing their names, The Roanoke Times reported last month.

— Contact Anna Merod at amerod@winchesterstar.com

(30) comments

shinyhappypeople

Bravo to this board for moving forward in the 21st century without honoring a man who played games that involved raping enslaved women. Somehow the snowflake commenters upset by this will have to persevere and find some other way to “honor” their “heritage” and “history”….just not with a community college named after a wealthy Brit who did nothing but collect money for land grants along with his other infamous rape games. So sad. See y’all on campus! (Laurel Ridge that is)

WINCBEST

I am sure if we go back in some of these board members ancestry we might finds a member of their family that had slaves and them remove them from the board.

BryanLNuri

How many will have rapists in their history?

Chupacabra

Probably a lot. Your point?

Journey2goremtns1

Cupcakes are really traumatized over the name Lord Fairfax community college.I guess Lord Fairfax highway and County of Fairfax should be changed. What about ole Lord Fairfax himself? Remove his remains from his tomb from the church grounds in downtown Winchester? What's next? George Washington is a ripe target in Winchester. This country is rapidly losing its moral compass. Sad!

BryanLNuri

Seems like you are the one worked into a tizzy over this...

Doc2All

"Cupcakes" are those bothered that atrocities against other human beings are finally being brought to the forefront of society. If you believe in the Creator, surely you must know that what has happened to a specific group of individuals against their will is AGAINST what the Creator commanded. Man was given dominion over the animals, not other human beings. And as far as "this country rapidly losing its moral compass"...this country lost its moral compass back in the late 1400s, when a certain "explorer" (for whom this twisted country celebrates with a holiday, smh) came to already occupied lands, and with the assistance of his fellow foreign companions, slaughtered millions of indigenous people. This trend continued with the arrival of and subsequent betrayal by foreigners entering America, claiming lands, wealth and resources that never belonged to them, in addition to enslaving other human beings like cattle for profit that created "generational wealth" to be passed down through their families, while the true indigenous struggle to get by. You can't believe in the Creator to do things that all go against what the Creator commanded and still believe in Heaven and salvation for yourselves. That's a strong delusion to believe a lie, and MANY have been deceived. The Messiah says in Matthew 25:40, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done unto me". So for a lot of folks (living and deceased), it's not looking good for them.

Old Western Man

[yawn] Another America hating drone, yet here you reside when you are free to move to a utopian society of your choosing. Compelling. [rolleyes]

BryanLNuri

Are you saying that America is so perfect that it is beyond reproach?

BryanLNuri

Well?

rgsheppard

Cowardly. Instead of using this as an opportunity to educate and interpret history, they caved into special interests and the politically correct agenda. Pretty sad.

BryanLNuri

Can you tell us how we would interpret the issues had with Lord Fairfax's history?

jps320161

Okay that's done. Now what about all the other things around here that refer to Fairfax? Hey what about one of the nation's most prominent counties east of here? You can't turn around without seeing "Fairfax" posted somewhere.

RightSide

Shame on the Board for such a horrible decision - Debbie Donehey, Craig Short, Kimberly Blosser, Paul Adam, Joel Barkman, Irene Hardesty, Michael Lake, Chuck McWilliams, Jr., Doug Stallard, Jim Watkins, Nancie Williams, and Liv Heggoy. Disgraceful.

BryanLNuri

A decision that affects how many people?

RightSide

What about the Lord Fairfax Health District? Or the Lord Fairfax Planning District? Or, better yet, Fairfax County? We are living in the UPSIDE DOWN, where right is wrong and wrong is right. It's not America anymore.

Old Western Man

You’re right NotSteve, we bear witness to the rise of Amerika.

BryanLNuri

It's spelled "America".

SJFRAME

Steve - We absolutely agree with you. There are so many other issues that need and deserve time and energy such as crime, unemployment, mental health needs. education, and the list can go on and on. Good judgment seems to be a thing of the past.

BryanLNuri

Weird how people never seem to care about issues until another one comes up..

SJFRAME

There are many people out there who care deeply about issues before something in particular comes up. Look around, good people are doing good things everyday. A few more could always be used. Try it as it works!

BryanLNuri

Really? When was the last time you gave a dime to a homeless person?

Chupacabra

Smart folks don't give money to homeless folks. They give them blankets, clothing, food, etc. Money is easily used for drugs and alcohol, pretty much the last thing those folks need. If you give them cash, you are just another enabler.

SJFRAME

Good qauestion and one we can readily answer. It was done last Monday near a fast food restaurant. While it was only $10.00, it may have helped. To be perfectly honest, we usually do not give cash but clothing, blankets, and lots of socks for the men's shelters. The needs are out there and we hear many of these needs by word of mouth. That way you usually know it is going for the right purpose. Blessings.

Doc2All

Correction: We HAVE been living in the upside down for centuries, and now that time is done, whether you believe it or not. Its sad that so many honestly believe that "America" was ever "great" with its atrocious history and crimes against humanity, and that having a country littered from "sea to sea" with idolatrous representations of people who did wicked things against other human beings is somehow "right'.

Isaiah 5:20

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;

that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;

that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Old Western Man

Disappointing, but hardly shocking. Appeasing the intolerant, while claiming unity lol. America's dearth in leadership rolls on.

On a side note, the tepid “Laurel Ridge” sounds like any cookie cutter neighborhood in NoVA. Well done.[rolleyes]

DL

I will not post my view. However, I do feel that the deplorable part is that public input was not a part of the decision making process. This since it is a public community college. Some have their own agenda and move with it accordingly.

BryanLNuri

Why can you not post your personal view?

Blondie

Absolutely deplorable.

BryanLNuri

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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