Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Carilion receives $1 million gift for cancer care

Roanoke businessman and longtime community benefactor Maury Strauss has donated $1 million in honor of his late wife, Sheila, to support the expansion of Carilion Clinic’s cancer program. The cause is close to Maury’s heart after losing his wife of 65 years to cancer in 2016.

“We are so grateful to Maury for the opportunity to honor Sheila’s memory as we continue to advance cancer care for our region,” said Nancy Howell Agee, Carilion’s president and chief executive officer in a statement. “The thousands of patients in our region diagnosed each year with cancer deserve access to the latest, most advanced care right here.”

The growing number of patients with cancer has Carilion’s current cancer center operating at capacity. Carilion has seen a 40% increase in patient volume over the past 10 years and treated more than 2,000 new cancer patients last year alone.

After Sheila’s bladder cancer diagnosis, the Strausses traveled out of state for Sheila to participate in a clinical trial. Expanding the number and scope of clinical trials available locally was the primary motivation for his gift, according to a release from Carilion.

Disclosure: Carilion is one of our donors but donors have no role in news decisions. See our policy. You can be a donor, too. Here’s how.

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STEM hub coming to P&H

Patrick & Henry Community College and Festo Didactic have inked a formal agreement to help create a STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — hub.

Festo Didactic is a subsdiary of the German-based Festo manufacturing firm. It specializes in industrial education. The goal here is to give students the opportunity to “gain in-demand career skills in mechatronics and advanced manufacturing,” according to a release from the school. It went on to say the partnership will “strengthen the local talent pipeline by exploring the possibility of extending into secondary schools, and by agreeing to increase overall resources for training equipment and professional development at P&HCC.”

Aspirations for the STEM hub are well-aligned with Festo Didactic’s industry expertise and K-12 learning solutions, according to a release from the school. Festo’s eLearning curriculum, bionics, and hands-on trainers emphasize innovation, problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity, and focus on three core areas: environmental discovery, mechatronics, and advanced manufacturing. The Integrative STEM program consists of learning experiences in which students apply knowledge to solve real-world problems and provide strong connections in the classroom to actual workplace scenarios, demonstrating what innovative jobs of the future will look like.

In 2020, Patrick & Henry Community College was recognized as a National Coalition of Certification Centers and Festo Center of Excellence in the Advanced Manufacturing Industry 4.0 sector, making it the first institution in the nation to offer the top tier of Industry 4.0 training available through Festo and NC3.

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Allman Brothers tribute band coming to Rocky Mount

The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount will welcome the Allman Brothers tribute band Live at the Fillmore to the stage Saturday, July 9 at 8 p.m. 

Live at the Fillmore revisits what the band calls the glory days of The Allman Brothers Band — the early years before the untimely deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley and the departure of Dickey Betts — when the band played often at New York City’s Fillmore East. 

Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at

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Community colleges recognize leading philanthropists

The Virginia Community College Foundation each year recognizes leading philanthropists at each of its 23 schools. Here are this year’s winners for Southwest and Southside schools:

BLUE RIDGE                               Lisa & Bill Moore

CENTRAL VIRGINIA                 Fred Armstrong

DABNEY S. LANCASTER          Bank of Botetourt

DANVILLE                                City of Danville & Pittsylvania County

MOUNTAIN EMPIRE               The Rapha Foundation

NEW RIVER                             Mary Jean & John Brown

SOUTHSIDE VA                          SHINE (Solar Hands-On Instructional Network of Excellence)  

SOUTHWEST VA                     Mary Sue Whitt & the late Sandy Whitt

VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS            Loyal Order of the Moose of Washington County

VIRGINIA WESTERN                 Edwin C. Hall

WYTHEVILLE                           Family of Matthew Todd Ridgaway