Proposed Harvest College Get Executive Director

December 14, 2005

By the Associated Press

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- The president of an Ohio university who has higher education credentials in Virginia has been hired as executive director of a college proposed for economically troubled Southside.

Barry M. Dorsey will assume the post in mid-January, officials of the New College of Virginia said Tuesday.

Dorsey since 1991 has been president of the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College, which serve 2,900 students in southeastern Ohio. He previously worked for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia for 18 years, and before that was on the faculty and staff of Radford College, now a university.

The announcement came one month after New College organizers hired Virginia Tech as an educational consultant on its efforts to open a college, possibly by the fall of 2007.

"One of the key points of the agreement with Tech was that we find an academic leader and that's what we've done," said Robert H. Spilman Jr., chairman of the college's planning commission.

Spilman said the hiring of Dorsey should help ensure that the school receives funding by the General Assembly during its 2006 session.

Dorsey said he will visit Richmond to help solidify political support for the college, but also will work on plans for the institution's physical plant and academic curriculum.

"At a small institution (like Rio Grande), the president is involved in every aspect of the institution," Dorsey said, "so I feel quite confident in my ability to build an institution from the ground up."

He said he hopes the Southside college will become a positive force for change, and not only for its students.

"I understand the importance of institutions reaching out to serve their larger communities," he said.


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