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New president appointed at Richard Bland

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Debbie L. Sydow will become the fourth president of Richard Bland College, Virginia’s only junior college.

Sydow is president of Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, N.Y. She will become Richard Bland’s president on July 1.

Sydow will succeed James B. MCNeer, who will retire after spend more than four decades at the college in Petersburg, including the past 16 years as president.

Sydow has been president at Onondaga since 2000. She is a native of Abingdon and received her undergraduate degree in English from University of Virginia’s College at Wise. She has a master’s degree in English from Marquette University and her Ph.D. in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

She started her higher education career as an English professor at Southwest Virginia Community College in Richland where she became dean of the humanities and social sciences after two years. She was vice president of academic student services at Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap, Va., where she would later serve as acting president.

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