Briefs ...

May 3—Annual meeting of the Ellison Funeral Association May 25

PIPESTEM — The annual meeting of patrons of the Ellison Cemetery Association, Inc. will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, May 25 at Jordan's Chapel on True Road in Pipestem.

Concord adds three new certificate programs

ATHENS — The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has reviewed and approved three new certificate programs to be offered at Concord University beginning this fall, including Child Welfare (undergraduate level), Human Resource Management (graduate level), and Geographic Information Systems (undergraduate level).

Students who earn the Child Welfare Certificate will be competent in the use and application of social work skills required to work in child welfare, and be equipped to work in direct practice programs that impact children and families. This program is designed for students that are in related undergraduate programs, such as Sociology and Psychology at Concord. The Child Welfare Certificate will expand knowledge, encourage and support creative activities and the arts, and contribute to community engagement and economic development in the region and beyond. The demand for individuals working in child, family and school social work is expected to increase with an additional 53,800 needed by 2032 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023). The primary objective of the online Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management is to provide professionals in business the current knowledge and skills needed to maintain or advance in a career in the area of human resources management.

Students who earn the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) User certificate will be competent in the use and application of GIS technology.

SWCC student among national Gold Scholars

RICHLANDS, Va. — Kelsey Messer, a Southwest Virginia Community College student and president of the Upsilon Upsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, has been recognized as one of 50 nationwide Coca-Cola Gold Scholars.

This award is part of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation program, which honors students nationwide, divided into Gold, Silver, and Bronze categories based on their academic excellence and leadership.

Messer, a Mental Health major and member of the Honors College who will graduate in May 2024, plans to pursue a career as a Licensed Professional Counselor.

The recognition occurred at the Phi Theta Kappa All-Virginia Academic Team luncheon in Richmond, where two other students from Southwest Virginia Community College, Isaac Wolford, a Radiologic Technology major, and Erin Sullivan, a General Studies major, were also nominated to the All-Virginia Academic Team. "We are so proud of Kelsey for winning such a prestigious award. She has worked hard and certainly deserves the recognition. It has been an honor to work with her," said Hannah Hensley, Associate Professor of History and Faculty Co-Advisor of PTK at Southwest Virginia Community College. Faculty members Jacob Richardson and Julia Dotson, also serve as Co-Advisors to the Phi Theta Kappa chapter.

Youngkin announces Virginia National Guard to formalize relationship with Finland

Gov. Glenn Youngkin Thursday announced that the Virginia National Guard has been selected as the U.S. partner to the nation of Finland for the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. The official state partnership signing ceremony occurred at the Finnish Ministry of Defense with signing partners Minister of Defence Antti Häkkänen, Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the Adjutant General of Virginia and Gen. Janne Jaakkola, Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces in Helsinki, Finland.

"Now more than ever, it is critically important we build and maintain key strategic relationships to enhance security and provide new avenues for economic development, and I have no doubt the Virginia National Guard's partnership with Finland will bring greater peace, stability and opportunity," Youngkin said. "I know making this formal partnership a reality required tremendous effort and energy, and I want to thank our Virginia National Guard and the Finnish Ministry of Defense for their hard work."

Sasha N. Baker, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, approved the partnership in a memo dated April 23.

Contact Greg Jordan at

Contact Greg Jordan at