HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Thomas Nelson Community College is now Virginia Peninsula Community College.
The community college, based in Hampton, officially changed its name on July 1. That comes nearly two years after the state board asked community colleges to consider the “appropriateness of the names of its college, campuses, and facilities.”
The college’s board recommended the name Virginia Peninsula Community College to the State Board for Community Colleges in September 2021.
The decision came after much research into the history of TNCC’s namesake.
Thomas Nelson Jr. was a Revolutionary War hero. He also signed the Declaration of Independence and served as the fourth governor of Virginia. He was also a slaveholder.
TNCC leaders say the new name for the college reflects the geography of the area and is also “timeless, and offer[s] a sense of belonging for all students, no matter their background.”
The task force, formed by the school, narrowed reviews hundreds of names before narrowing it down to three: Harbor Bridge Community College, Two Rivers Community College, and Virginia Peninsula Community College.
Griffin and Wythe halls at TNCC’s Hampton campus will also be renamed. They’re currently named for associates of Thomas Nelson. Three other buildings — Moore, Diggs and Harrison — are named for Nelson’s associates as well, but will be replaced by a new building in the upcoming years. The state board is in charge of names of community colleges, but the buildings on campus are named by the schools.
Two other state community colleges will also change their names — John Tyler to Brightpoint, and Lord Fairfax to Laurel Ridge. Patrick Henry Community College will be known as Patrick & Henry to recognize the counties it serves.
School officials will hold a grand rebranding event on July 12. The event is free and open to the public.
The event will feature games, giveaways, music, food and more.
Officials add that new signs, banners, website, social media pages, letterhead, business cards and other items will all be updated to reflect the change.