Vickie Van Kleeck, Ferrum College's former head softball coach, spoke at the March 25 ribbon-cutting for the school's new softball complex, which was named in her honor. Photo courtesy of Ferrum College.

Here’s a roundup of education briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Ferrum names new softball complex in honor of former coach Vickie Van Kleeck

Ferrum College has recognized its former head softball coach, Vickie Van Kleeck, by naming the school’s new softball complex in her honor.

The two-story facility includes a team locker room, a coaches’ locker room, a press box, a concession stand and restrooms. Seating includes chair backs and open-area concrete platforms between the building and the backstop.

Van Kleeck led the Panthers to USA South Athletic Conference regular-season titles in 1994, 1995 and 2013, and league postseason tournament championships and accompanying NCAA Division III tournaments in 2002, 2005 and 2012. She served 24 years as the softball head coach. 

Prior to Ferrum, Van Kleeck was the head coach at Mercer University. In her career, she had 531 wins, 140 academic all-conference players, 96 all-conference players and 11 conference players or rookies of the year. 

Ferrum raised more than $330,000 from 119 donors for the complex.

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Roanoke College researchers lead digital preservation project for LGBTQ+ history archive

The Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project, spearheaded by Roanoke College researchers, has completed the digitization of the region’s longest-running historical gay newsletter, the Blue Ridge Lambda Press.

The Blue Ridge Lambda Press was published for 25 years, from 1983 to 2008. The full run of the newsletter is now available online, according to a news release from the college.

“This is a remarkable achievement. Digitization is a long process, involving multiple partners – in this case including Roanoke College and the Roanoke Public Libraries,” Samantha Rosenthal, associate professor of history and co-founder of the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project, said in the release.

Volunteers ranging from local high school students to national graduate students helped with the digitization, Rosenthal said, but the bulk of the work was completed by Roanoke College student Megan Reynolds, who has served as the undergraduate research fellow with the history project since her freshman year in 2019.

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NRCC student named 2023 New Century Workforce Scholar

New River Community College student Adam Toler was recently announced as
Virginia’s 2023 New Century Workforce Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship.

Toler is currently studying instrumentation and control automation technology. He plans to complete his studies at NRCC in 2024 and go on to work in the instrumentation field.

This scholarship is the first of its kind to support students at associate degree-granting institutions on a national scale as they plan to enter the workforce upon the completion of a degree or certificate.

More than 2,400 students were nominated from more than 1,300 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Workforce Scholar was selected from each state, and Toler received the highest score in Virginia.

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Commonwealth Alliance for Rural Colleges adds Christendom to membership

The Commonwealth Alliance for Rural Colleges has added Christendom College to its membership.

Christendom College, which is in Front Royal, is a Catholic liberal arts college.

Other members of the alliance, which was created in 1965, are Appalachian School of Law, Averett University, Bluefield University, Eastern Mennonite University and Ferrum College.