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Virginia Highlands Community College names new president

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Gene C. Couch Jr. has been named president of Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon.

The appointment takes effect on July 1.

Couch, an Abingdon native, is executive vice president at Alamance Community College in Graham, N.C.

“Gene has an impressive track record of leadership in the North Carolina Community College System — a state system of community colleges that I have a lot of respect for,” Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia’s Community College System, said in a statement.

“He is also a product of our system, having achieved his first degree at Southwest Virginia Community College.” Dubois said. “His Virginia Highlands Community College appointment is a great fit.”

Before joining Alamance, Couch was vice president for instruction and student services at Southwestern Community College in Sylva, N.C., from 2005 to 2010.

He previously was vice president for instructional services at Southwestern from 1999 to 2005 after serving as chair of the health sciences division and program director for radiography.

“I’m a product of Virginia’s Community Colleges — and I hope that students see that as proof that they can stay near and go far,” Couch said in a statement.

In addition to his associate degree from Southwest Virginia Community College in Richlands, Couch holds a bachelor’s degree from Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, N.C., a master’s degree and an education specialist degree from Western Carolina University and a doctorate from East Tennessee State University.

Couch replaces Ron E. Proffitt, who retires this year after four years with Virginia Highlands.


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