Central Virginia Community College
Burnette Named President Emeritus
Lynchburg, VA /Media Release/ -- Dr. Simeon A. “Bud” Burnette was conferred Central Virginia Community College President Emeritus at a reception in Merritt Hall on the School’s main campus in Lynchburg, Wednesday, April 18. The presentation was made by Mr. Clyde Clark, Chairman of the CVCC Local Advisory Board. The College’s sixth and current President, Dr. Darrel W. Staat, presided over the ceremony that was attended by current and former faculty and staff.
Though Dr. Burnette’s time spent at the College amounted to less than five years, his accomplishments were substantial. As CVCC’s first President of the newly formed Virginia Community College System (VCCS), Burnette was charged with creating a CVCC Board, establishing a base of operations, hiring faculty and staff, creating a liaison with city and county officials, building a curricula, enrolling students, and selecting, purchasing and developing a permanent site – all within the first year.
In his acceptance speech, Burnette was quick to point out that, “Anyone that receives such an honor as this, doesn’t deserve it alone. There were many who helped put this together. I worked with a great bunch of people.” Burnette recognized Brenda Terry, who was in the audience, as being equally deserving of the award. Terry came to Lynchburg from the Richmond office of the VCCS to assist Burnette. She stayed on to serve the College in various capacities for more than 30 years. Terry accepted the award on behalf of Burnette at the inaugural presentation on October 25, 2006, as part of the College’s 40th Anniversary celebration.
Burnette also recognized the Lynchburg City Council for its early support of the School. “I was given a budget of $180,000 that first year which, back in the 1960’s, seemed like a great deal of money. Then the Lynchburg mayor comes up to me and hands me an additional $45,000 more because he didn’t want me to run out.”
Dr. Staat started the occasion by recognizing audience participants Ted Harris, a charter member of the Local Advisory Board, and current Associate Professor of Mathematics, Katherine Barringer, who was part of the inaugural faculty.
Staat praised Burnette for his great vision, particularly in his selection of the College’s current site on Wards Road. Staat reflected that while CVCC is presently in the hub of the city’s industry and retail operations that back then the area was “in the country.” Staat proclaimed that, “What you started, flourished.”
Clark remembered when the College first opened in 1967. “My friends from Dunbar High School started signing up to take classes at this place called CVCC when it was first established in the downtown Krise Building,” noting how far the School has advanced.
Burnette received his Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. Degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He had been on a leave of absence from DuPont in Roanoke when he had been approached by Dr. Dana Hamel, the first Chancellor of the VCCS, to establish a new school in Central Virginia. “I told him I didn’t know anything about running a community college,” Burnette recalls. “Dr. Hamel told me that it was okay because he didn’t either.”
Burnette was asked to fill the position of Vice Chancellor for the VCCS in June of 1971. He was named President of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in 1978, where he served until his retirement in 2002.
Burnette is the second individual to be named CVCC President Emeritus. Dr. Johnnie E. Merritt, an original hire of Burnette’s and the College’s fourth President was previously honored with the title.
Burnette was accompanied to the ceremony by his wife, Virginia, and his niece, Sarah Carroll, a student at Liberty University. He currently resides in Sandston, Virginia.
Release Date: 1:40 PM (EDT) 04/19/07
Release Number: 070419.burnette
Kennan J. Meyer
Coordinator, Public Relations and Marketing
Central Virginia Community College
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A Member Institution of the Virginia Community College System.