Truist presents $150K to Camp Community College for program expansion

Published 7:15 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Camp Community College recently received substantial help from another one of its corporate partners to facilitate the education and training of people seeking to enter the nursing and allied health professions.

Truist Foundation presented $150,000 to the Paul D. Camp Community College Foundation to expand the college’s nursing and allied health programs.

The check presentation took place Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the future home of the college’s Nursing and Allied Health Professions Education and Training Facility at 1000 Armory Drive in Franklin.

The 13,000-square-foot facility, which was the longtime home of The Tidewater News, was sold by Tidewater Publications LLC to the Paul D. Camp Community College Real Estate Foundation for $750,000 earlier this year.

Truist’s presentation follows a donation made by Sentara Cares in August to help facilitate the renovation of the newly acquired building.

CCC Vice President of Academic and Student Development Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady welcomed everyone present at the Nov. 15 Truist check presentation ceremony, which included CCC practical nursing students, leaders from the community, the Virginia Community College System, the college and Truist Financial Corporation.


CCC President Dr. Corey L. McCray was the first to offer remarks.

Referencing the funds being presented from Truist, he said, “This is very important for us here, not just at this college but in this community, and I am deeply humbled and thankful for the resources that are being made available to us by our partners and community.”

He shared comments giving insight into what the facility at 1000 Armory Drive will be once renovations have been completed.

“Two years ago, this building was a dream,” he said. “We started thinking about how we were squeezed into what is six or seven classrooms across two campuses to teach nursing.”

He noted that nurses are in high demand in the workforce across the state and the nation.

“Along with nursing, allied health care, other health-related programs are also in high demand,” he said. “There is no way that we could meet that demand squeezed into what was five or six classrooms on the Franklin campus because by the way, there is nothing between Southside Community College and the Portsmouth campus of Tidewater Community College other than Camp who is responsible for responding to that workforce demand.

“And so we have to have the space and the availability to meet that demand,” he continued. “We’re all going to be relying upon these students that we see here today as our health care providers and more. And we need to grow the programs that we currently offer.”

He said Camp could only do that by finding the space that could house the expanded programs. 

“And so this place came available,” he said, referencing the building around him, “and if you know anything about state tuition funding, you cannot purchase a building like this, renovate a building (and) make it state-of-the-art based on tuition funding. 

“And so we went to our community partners, and our community partners stepped up,” he said. “They stepped up in a big way such that we’ve been able to purchase the building, we now own this building, and now the heavy lift is renovating and equipping this building.

“And so partners like Truist stepped up, and I am so excited about today, because this moves us down the road to realizing not just a vision or a dream but realizing our ability to respond to the industry because of what you all are doing here today,” he said. “And so as president of this college, representing the faculty of the college, the community, our students, our future students and more importantly, all of us who are going to need health care at some point, I want to extend my sincerest appreciation for your generosity today.”


McCray then acknowledged that nursing and allied health care programs like the ones CCC is expanding have been a dream of others long before his tenure as president, and one of those visionary dreamers was the late Sol W. Rawls Jr. 

McCray asked one of Rawls’ daughters, Patricia Peace Rawls, to share a few words about her father’s vision and how the program expansion, aided by good partners like Truist, is making his vision become a reality for the community and the college.

Patricia Rawls said, “The community college system … and the need to educate in the health care professions were both dreams of his and work that he did.

“Starting in 1956, he was appointed to the State Council (of) Higher Education where they developed the community college system which actually started in 1968 and 1969 while he was chair of that council,” she said. “And he was very, very proud of that. 

“But also at the same time, he knew that health care was very much needed,” she continued. “And so for instance, in 1960, he started the campaign to build our own Southampton Memorial Hospital, and he was president of that for over almost 30 years.

“But in 1966, (Virginia) Gov. (Mills E.) Godwin appointed him to be the chair of the governor’s committee on nursing — and I have to quote this — ‘to examine types of education programs needed to prove an adequate supply of nurses to meet the state needs,’” she said. “Does that sound familiar?”

She noted that her father went on to have leadership positions with the Virginia Council on Health and Medical Care and the Virginia Regional Medical Program, which resulted in the Medical College of Virginia giving him a doctorate of humanities in 1968.

“But he wasn’t finished,” she said. “He knew there was a shortage of primary care doctors in the state of Virginia.”

Therefore, he helped facilitate the early development of Eastern Virginia Medical School and was vice president of the EVMS Foundation from 1970 to 1980.

“So you can see that the community college was important to him, that education and health care was important to him,” Rawls said. “I have to tell you when I read in The Tidewater News this effort that the Camp Community College was doing, to do this applied programs in health care and nursing, I almost burst into tears.”

She closed by saying, “I want to thank the community college, I want thank Truist for believing in this initiative and helping to fund it, I would like to thank everybody who had a hand in this to make one of my dad’s dreams come true in his own hometown.”


Dr. Angela Lawhorne is director of career and technical education initiatives with the Virginia Community College System, and she spoke briefly to express gratitude to Truist.

“On behalf of the chancellor of Virginia’s Community College System, Dr. (David) Duré, we want to thank you, Truist, for your generous donation,” she said. “This is going to make a tremendous, tremendous impact on generations to come.

“Camp is making great strides to train our future health care workers, and we’re all aware of the growing demand in health care,” she added. “Partnerships like the ones they’ve forged here will ensure a stronger economy, and of course, a better future. So thank you all for your dedication and your support.”


Just before the check presentation, McCray turned the floor over to Truist Executive Vice President and Virginia Region President Thomas Ransom.

Speaking to the Camp and community representatives and students on hand, he said that at Truist, “we’re a purpose-driven company. Our purpose is to inspire and build better lives and communities. And so your story is exactly what that’s about. It’s about getting engaged in our communities, taking it personally.

“I think for too many of us across this country, we’ve taken the humanity out of things,” he continued. “People don’t want to work hard, they don’t want to show up. But what we’re doing today, what you folks are doing is you’re saying, ‘I want to work. I want to change my community. I want to heal.’

He said there are a handful of noble professions.

“We always think about the first responders, we think about our policemen, we think about our teachers,” he said. “How about we think about our nurses, our health professionals? What’s the last three, four years taught us, right? We need more nurses. We need more people that are willing to work those long hours, to come in and care for us in our moments of vulnerability.”

He said the community has to have dedicated people.

“And we have to have an education system that prepares and trains,” he said. “So when this (Camp) opportunity was brought to me, it was a no-brainer. It was, ‘How can we help? How big can we go?’ It was never a question of, ‘Will we support?’ It was, ‘What’s the maximum amount I can give so we can support this?’”

Ransom noted that he is an adviser to the governor on a variety of subjects, including the economy, and one of the top priorities they are working on is workforce development across the state. 

“And then I met Dr. Doré, and we’re talking about how do we engage with our community colleges across the commonwealth, understanding the limited budget, because we want tuition to be very affordable on this end,” he said. “It’s going to take corporate partners to come in and bridge that gap.”

He said that buildings on community college campuses across the state of Virginia were built in the 1950s and 1960s.

“So how do we modernize?” he said. Turning to the students present, he said, “How do we prepare so we can teach you to use the state-of-the-art technology that you’re going to need when you get in these hospitals? It takes corporate partners to come and bridge that gap, so we are excited.

“Moreover I am personally blessed with this opportunity to be engaged,” he added.

He then highlighted how the check presentation further develops the relationship that Truist has with the Franklin community.

“You should know this — our Truist branch that’s right here in Franklin is maybe one of our top-10 busiest branches across the state,” he said. “So I want you to feel good about your bank that you all bank with and that you support, that we recognize your dedication and your loyalty to us, and we take that and give back to this community.”

He said that in the last 24 hours, he had been blessed to give out around $500,000 in the Hampton Roads area for the purpose of workforce development.

As for the chance to support Camp’s nursing and allied health programs expansion, he said in conclusion, “Thank you for this opportunity, and on behalf of Truist, thank you for allowing us to be your bank, your partner and your partner in this new project. So, let’s give this check.”

CCC Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Dr. Angela Sheaffer gave a tour of the facility following the presentation.