Virginia Tech's Burruss Hall. Courtesy of Ben Schumin.

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

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Tech wants to add Department of Real Estate

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors has voted to establish the Blackwood Department of Real Estate within the Pamplin College of Business pending final approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

The action came at the board’s quarterly meeting on June 7 in Blacksburg.

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Appalachian asks permission to extend broadband to Bland, Montgomery

Appalachian Power has asked the State Corporation Commission for permission to extend broadband internet to 15,000 customers in Bland and Montgomery counties.

Pending approval, the company plans to begin construction in approximately six months.

Bland and Montgomery counties through the New River Valley Regional Commission received a $39 million Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) grant late last year from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to assist with financing the project. The state grants help localities capitalize on telecommunications infrastructure with the goal of creating strong, competitive communities.

Bland and Montgomery County officials have chosen internet service provider GigaBeam Networks to collaborate on the project. GigaBeam is currently working with Appalachian Power and Grayson County to make broadband access available to roughly 6,000 customers in the rural county. The Elk Creek Volunteer Fire Department in December became the first Grayson County customer to connect to high-speed internet.

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UVA Wise names new chief of staff

University of Virginia’s College at Wise has announced that Paul Rollins, J.D., will join the College on July 5 as Chancellor Donna P. Henry’s next Chief of Staff and a member of the UVA Wise Senior Leadership Team. 

Paul Rollins. Courtesy of UVA Wise.

Rollins has served as a private practice attorney, a consultant to higher education institutions and an associate dean at several colleges and universities. In his current position for Spivey Consulting Group, he serves as a senior consultant and provides strategic guidance to law schools and prospective students. 

Prior to his work at Spivey Consulting, Rollins served as assistant dean for strategic initiatives at the University of Florida Levin College of Law in Gainesville and was responsible for institutional reporting, accreditation and identifying areas for improvement. In his previous position at Washington and Lee University, he executed a five-year strategic plan and assisted the law school in exceeding metrics in increasing tuition revenue, student quality targets and operational savings just three years into the plan, thanks to his extensive collaboration skills. 

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Applications now accepted for Leadership Southside

The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce is now accepting  applications for the 2022-2023 Leadership Southside program. 

According to a release from the chamber, “Leadership Southside develops participants’ leadership skills to strengthen their role as an  individual, professional, and community member. Participants will explore their personal  leadership style, and learn how their own behaviors, motivations, and tendencies influence their  interaction with others. During this program, participants also will have the opportunity to build  strong connections with their classmates, in addition to networking with each session’s  presenters, who are established leaders from across the Dan River Region and the  Commonwealth of Virginia. “

Session topics include leading a team, conflict resolution, communication skills, crisis leadership,  equitable leadership, presentation skills, and transformational leadership. In January, participants  will travel to Richmond for Chamber Day at the Capitol to hear from and engage with members  of the General Assembly. 

The program is in its 28th year with 500 alumni.

Leadership Southside is a nine-month program, meeting one day each month from August  through April. Participants will graduate in May 2023. To apply, visit Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 7,  2022. Only complete applications will be considered. 

The Chamber has contracted with Rachel Covington to lead and facilitate the 2022-2023  program. Rachel previously served as the Senior Director of Member Services for the Chamber,  and led Leadership Southside as part of her role. For more information about how to apply,  please contact Rachel at  

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Shaky Graves concert sold out

Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington advises that the Shaky Graves concert on June 17 is sold out. Earlier we posted Lime Kiln’s summer concert schedule.

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