Courtesy of University of Lynchburg.

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University of Lynchburg program for 50-plus returns

The LIFE@Lynchburg program for community members 50 and older returns to the University of Lynchburg for the spring semester on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The weekly program features a variety of speakers and topics.

As in the fall, all sessions will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays in Sydnor Performance Hall in Schewel Hall. There is no academic credit, and members enjoy a number of perks, including student pricing at Burton Dining Hall, free access to theater and music performances and talks on campus, and borrowing privileges at Knight-Capron Library.

The spring schedule kicks off with a faculty panel, “Women in Democracy,” on Feb. 1, followed by “Architecture in Lynchburg” on Feb. 8. Other topics include “Brain Health,” “The History of Newspapers in Lynchburg,” and “Three Women Astronomers You Have Never Heard Of, But Need To Know About.”

The 10-session schedule concludes on April 12 with “America’s Founding River: The James.” Speaker bios and topics can be found on the LIFE@Lynchburg website.

Attendees may sign up online or by calling 434.544.8084. A semester membership (10 classes) is $85 and individual sessions are $12 each. Members also may purchase a guest pass for $5 per session. For more information, visit the LIFE@Lynchburg website or email Rhodes at

LIFE@Lynchburg is sponsored by The Summit, an upscale retirement community in Lynchburg.

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Virginia Tech names associate vice provost for public interest technology

Sylvester Johnson. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

Sylvester Johnson, assistant vice provost for the humanities and founding director of the Virginia Tech Center for Humanities, has been promoted to associate vice provost for public interest technology. In his new role, Johnson will build and activate consensus across disciplines and colleges for research, teaching, and public engagement to develop and enhance Virginia Tech’s impact as a national leader in public interest technology. 

As associate vice provost for public interest technology, Johnson will work across the institution to support enhanced participation of Virginia Tech stakeholders to help lead the future of democracy, social justice, and equitable outcomes for an innovation-driven world. He will lead strategies and support efforts to deepen Virginia Tech’s engagement with policy, human rights, and civil liberties organizations to interpret and nurture Virginia Tech’s collaborative role with external institutions for ensuring the ethical governance of technology.

One of Johnson’s first activities in this new role is organizing and hosting the inaugural Tech for Humanity summit, which will take place June 29 at the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington. This one-day national summit will seek to elevate the visibility of the humanistic, human-centered work being advanced by the Tech for Humanity initiative; convene national and global leaders in social justice, democratic governance, technology ethics/policy and innovation; and leverage strategic challenges for human-centered leadership to shape the ethical future of technology governance.

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Lisa Hansford. Courtesy of Alleghany Highlands.

Alleghany Highlands names new principal

Lisa M. Hansford has been appointed principal at Callaghan Elementary School in Alleghany County, effective July 1, 2023.

She will succeed Josh Craft, who will become principal of Jackson River Technical Center on July 1. Craft has served as the principal at Callaghan since July 2018. 

Hansford’s appointment was approved by the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Board during a called meeting on Dec. 6.

The timing of her appointment follows a strategic timeline that was adopted by the school board in October., according to a release from the school system. The timeline is part of a planned transition toward the 2023-2024 school year. Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center consolidated on July 1, 2022, to create Alleghany Highlands Public Schools. 

Students in Alleghany County and Covington will be merged into a single student body at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year. Callaghan, Jeter-Watson, Mountain View and Sharon elementary schools will remain open, but the consolidated school division will have a single high school (housed at the current Alleghany High School building), and a single middle school (housed at the current Covington High School building). The middle school will be called Covington Middle School, and it will serve students in grades 6-8.

Hansford is currently an assistant principal at Alleghany High School. She has been at the high school since July 2021. She was initially hired as a teacher with Alleghany County Public Schools in 2014. Prior to that, she taught in Bath County Public Schools for six years.

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Ouss Sahhar. Courtesy of P&H.
Tim Stone. Courtesy of P&H.

Patrick & Henry adds two board members

The Patrick & Henry Community College Board has added two new board members: Ouss Sahhar and Tim Stone.

Sahhar, representing Martinsville, shared that he recently moved to Martinsville from Winston-Salem, NC, where he had been a senior vice president with Info Tech Alliance. He holds a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages from East Carolina University. He is currently the director of custodial services for Henry County Public Schools.

Stone, representing Henry County, is a life-long resident of Bassett, and a P&HCC graduate. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in business with a major in finance. He became a certified residential real estate appraiser in 1997, and he formed Stone Real Estate Appraisal Service the following year, providing appraisal services in the Henry, Franklin, and Patrick County areas.

Sahhar begins his first 4-year term, which ends in 2026. Stone is filling an unexpired term that ends in 2024.