Nestled throughout several southern West Virginia coal communities is an organization that has had dramatic impacts on the lives of thousands of our local residents. It is with great pleasure that we at the Mingo Messenger say, “Happy 50th anniversary” to Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.”

This week, Southern kicked off its anniversary year with a rebranding which features new institutional colors and a new logo that will be used as the college’s trademark. The heavy looking black and gold “flying S” is now replaced with a new, more modern stylized “S” in shades of what the college is calling “The Southern Blues.” The new logo has the same elements as the previous one but it is much brighter and more commanding than its predecessor.

“The blues are the roots that bear the fruits. The whole of life itself expresses the blues. The blues can be about anything pertaining to life. The blues represents our struggles, our journeys, and our triumphs,” Southern’s President Dr. Pamela Alderman said.

In addition to the new image and the new logo, Southern is charging into its new era headfirst with a litany of new programs designed to lead the residents of Southern West Virginia to the forefront of education, technology and the job market. The college over the past few years has been arming itself with needed curriculum models, tools, equipment and personnel to take on this new phase.

Among other things, Southern is now in partnership with local school districts for the Early College Academy. While it has been working with various school systems for several years by offering dual credit courses that offer college level studies to high school students, the ECA puts those students into classrooms on the college campuses during their junior and senior years. At the end of the program, students who complete the ECA program will receive their associates degree and official college transcript. 
Southern is in a transition period with this anniversary. It is a time to reflect on the past 50 years. To celebrate accomplishments and to give itself a good old-fashioned pat on the back. However, it is a time that administrators are looking to the future and finding creative methods of providing a cutting-edge educational program right here in the heart of Central Appalachia.

The school announced this week as part of its anniversary, Southern has been named “A Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education. This award went to only 70 institutions in recognition for specific best practices and policies. Southern was also named to the” Great Colleges Honor Roll,” a status granted to only 42 colleges each year, Alderman said.

The college, which has educational agreements with several other colleges and universities in both West Virginia and neighboring Kentucky, announced this week it will be signing a new partnership with the Western Governors University as well.

Southern is on the move. It is strong and viable. It provides world-class education right on our doorsteps. With its determination, leadership, faculty and dedication to its students, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College is boldly stepping into a new era.

We wish them well and look forward to seeing the advancements and innovations the college makes during its next 50 years. 

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