Patrick & Henry Community College. Courtesy of the school.

Greg Hodges is on a mission to feed what he describes as Southside Virginia’s economic comeback, one student at a time. 

Greg Hodges. Photo courtesy of Patrick & Henry Community College.

That’s what Hodges says he plans to focus on now that his tenure as Patrick & Henry Community College president is in full swing. Appointed in 2021 by a statewide committee, Hodges has spent the last two years emphasizing the school’s workforce development. Once he is formally inaugurated on Friday, he plans to continue in that vein. 

“We like to talk about being the cog in that economic development wheel,” Hodges said. “We are the provider that are helping to train the employees that are occupying the positions in our community. That is our focus.” 

Hodges explains that the gap between the start of his new position and Friday’s inauguration is normal for college presidents. 

PBS show set in Danville nominated for regional Emmy

The PBS show that brings famous musicians to Danville has been nominated for a Capital Emmy award.

“The Life of a Musician,” created by Danville resident Brandon Adams, features famous acoustic artists in historic locations around the city. 

The first of the show’s two seasons is a contender in the “Interview/Discussion” category. 

“There couldn’t be people who are more shocked than us,” Adams said about the nomination, adding that his team never considered the possibility of winning an award when they created the show.

Adams said he’s especially proud of the nomination because of its category. 

“The fact that they felt like the conversation and the content of those conversations, along with the music, was worthy of recognition, that makes me happy,” he said. “At the end of the day, they thought it’s a good conversation. There’s good content here. It’s not just throwaway TV.”

In most episodes of the show, Adams converses with a famous musician, and then the two play a few songs together. In a few episodes, which Adams calls house concerts, the musician plays a live show in an intimate setting with no question-and-answer portion. 

Featured musicians have included John Jorgenson, guitarist for Sting, Elton John and Bob Dylan, who appeared in the first season, and Redd Volkaert, lead guitarist for Merle Haggard’s band The Strangers, who appeared in the second season. 

Episodes have been filmed in locations across the city and have featured featured local businesses like The Dog-Eared Page, a downtown bookstore, as well as historic homes. 

Adams said the nomination is still surreal, and he’s trying not to focus on it too much. 

“I’m still just mowing my lawn and petting my cat,” he said. “Pretending like it isn’t happening. … If we get submitted for a nomination for season two, I’ll take it seriously.”

— Grace Mamon

“All Virginia community college inaugurations occur within the second year. We want to make sure that it’s a good fit,” Hodges said, adding that despite his presidency starting in the midst of the pandemic, it has mostly been smooth sailing.

“It’s been very exciting. We are starting to see a return to pre-COVID numbers for enrollment, both on the workforce and the academic side. We are elated that we are able to get people back to work, back to good paying jobs.” 

The college’s headcount immediately leading up to the pandemic was 1,976 while the current enrollment is 1,686. 

Hodges replaced Angeline Godwin as president. Godwin served as president for nine years.  

Hodges’ inauguration comes ahead of the college’s May graduation ceremony, where Hodges will serve as the commencement speaker.

His affiliation with the community college goes back years. A Henry County native, Hodges began his time at Patrick & Henry as an education student. 

“I had a high school teacher who encouraged me tremendously,” Hodges said about Gracie Agnew, the teacher who inspired him to become an educator. “She really invested time in me and really had me consider education as a career.”

That training would take him to Martinsville City Schools before he boomeranged back to Patrick & Henry in 2004 as a faculty member in early childhood development.

He served in a number of different positions, including as dean and vice president of academics, before he was named president in 2021 by the State Board of Community Colleges.

Hodges said that while he could teach anywhere in the country, he wanted to stay close to home and play a part in its development. Hodges describes the college as being in a fairly “unique position” to impact people economically. 

“I think the most important thing about our college is that we are squarely in the middle of the economic renaissance that is happening in our community,” Hodges said. “Most folks who are from this area know that the late ’90s and early 2000s brought about an economic depression in our community. We went through double-digit unemployment … and in the last decade we have seen major economic [growth] in our community, and Patrick & Henry is squarely positioned in the middle of that.” 

Hodges said that like other community colleges, Patrick & Henry provides the training to fuel local industry with qualified candidates. 

“That is in fact our focus, that is our mission, that’s our vision, providing the economic mobility for the citizens in our community,” Hodges said, adding that this is the aspect of the job he was most excited about. “Next month we’ll have our graduation … and every one of those folks [has] a ticket into financial security.”   

Hodges said he is looking forward to continuing his work, touting the pending unveiling of a new building at the school’s manufacturing and engineering complex. This building, according to Hodges, will offer training in in-demand skills such as engineering and welding. 

“These are exciting times to be in our college and in our community,” Hodges said, adding that he ultimately wants the college to continue being perceived as an asset by the community and student-body alike.

“Patrick & Henry is the institution … that is singularly dedicated to their economic mobility,”  Hodges said. “We want to invest in them.”

Dean-Paul Stephens is a reporter for Cardinal News. He is based in Martinsville. Reach him at