From the left, VFCCE Chair Ben Davenport, NRCC Educational Foundation Executive Director Angie Covey, VFCCE Executive Director Jennifer Gentry, and VCCS Chancellor David Doré.
Angie Covey, executive director of the New River Community College Educational Foundation and Pulaski County resident, was recently honored for her extraordinary leadership in helping students gain access to higher education.
The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) presented Covey with the Kathleen H. Smith Distinguished Service Award at the Virginia Community College (VCCS) 2023 Chancellor’s Retreat in early August at the Hotel Roanoke.
“Angie is passionate about serving students and her community,” remarked Dr. Jennifer Gentry, VCCS vice chancellor of institutional advancement. “Her work ethic is second to none. Angie is strategic, enthusiastic, genuine, and as a first-generation student, she understands the challenges that face many of our students entering the doors of the community college.”
The award is named for Kathleen Smith, a legendary leader in institutional advancement at Patrick & Henry Community College and the VCCS.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Covey. “I feel truly blessed to follow in Kathleen Smith’s footsteps and give back to the community that raised me.”
Covey continues to represent Smith’s legacy, advocating for a better future for every New River Community College (NRCC) student.
“One word sums up Angie’s commitment to NRCC—passion,” said Dr. Pat Huber, NRCC president. “Angie’s passion for assisting students and serving the community college is rooted in her own experiences as a first-generation college student from a rural community. Whether it is with the loan of a laptop, a referral to the college’s food pantry, or the purchase of a pair of steel-toed shoes so that a student can attend welding classes (all these funded through the Foundation), Angie is a driver for much good that occurs on this campus.”
One of Covey’s most notable career accomplishments thus far is the inception and subsequent creation of the Access to Community College Education (ACCE) program at NRCC. ACCE is an economic development public/private partnership that makes college available debt-free to high school and home-schooled graduates by funding NRCC tuition for two years. ACCE supports the youth of participating counties by making college within reach. With the support of ACCE, students graduate from NRCC prepared to join the workforce or transfer to a four-year college or university without college debt. ACCE students provide volunteer service hours in their local communities in exchange for tuition funding. The ACCE program started with one county, Giles, and 33 students and has now expanded to include the college’s entire service region (Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski counties and Radford City).
ACCE has served 1,691 students so far, with 366 in the 2022-2023 academic year. These students have provided 192,620 hours of volunteer service to organizations in the New River Valley, with 30,280 in the 2022-2023 academic year.
Covey is a graduate of NRCC and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Virginia Tech. Her tenure with NRCC spans nearly 30 years. She initially began working at NRCC in 1993 as an adjunct faculty member before joining the college’s workforce development team full time in 1999.
In 2009, she transitioned from associate vice president of workforce development to associate vice president of advancement and then executive director of the college’s foundation in 2010. When Covey began this role, the Foundation’s net assets were approximately $6 million. Presently, the Foundation’s total assets stand at more than $25 million.
“Angie has lived, learned, worked and raised her family in the NRV; she knows the specific needs and challenges of the college’s service region, and she has dedicated her career to serving those needs and responding to the challenges by providing access to education to all who live here,” said Huber.
For more information about the NRCC Educational Foundation, visit www.nr.edu/foundation/.