NOVA’s Annandale Campus celebrated 50 years with a Heritage Celebration on September 22. NOVA faculty, staff, students, community members and a number of elected officials attended the event to recognize the anniversary as NOVA President Scott Ralls dedicated an interpretive sign at the historic site on campus where the original farmhouse once stood.
“Today is an important celebration of a unique accomplishment for education in the United States,” Ralls said. “Fifty years later, NOVA is the 14th largest college in the U.S. today. This is a higher education historical moment because we are a socioeconomic impact for this region. We also celebrate the shoulders of those we stand on – the people and their vision who made this college what it is.”
The property was sold to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Annandale Campus by the Pruitt family. The original 76.88-acre parcel was purchased for what was then called the Central Campus in 1966 for $1 million. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new campus was held in front of the farmhouse at noon on October 31, 1966.
The Campus opened the doors of the first building – the CS Building – for the first time on October 2, 1967. A dedication ceremony for the new Central Campus was held October 30, 1967, with Governor Mills Godwin and Chancellor Dana Hamel speaking.
Two signs will mark the historic site at Annandale where Director of Facilities Steven Patterson said they wanted to recognize history and encourage the use of the area.
The dedication featured special guest Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and NOVA Alumna Sharon Bulova. She noted that the attendees were surrounded by Boxwood trees, which she said indicates to her that there is history there.
“I’m a product of NOVA. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was one of the first classes when I went in the ‘70s,” Bulova said. “NOVA continues to be the story of Fairfax County. It reflects our community. When I came here today, I was met by students who reflect the diversity of Fairfax County. They’ve come here from all over the globe to come to NOVA and set down roots.”
The dedication was followed by a reception and a special presentation by the Annandale Campus Lyceum Committee in the Mark R. Warner Student Services Building, where Annandale Provost Pam Hilbert joined the celebration.
Mathematics Professor David Conroy – who has taught at NOVA since 1968 – and Adjunct Professor Floyd Schwartz, who has taught continuously at NOVA since 1967, conducted the Lyceum Legacy during the event.
Ralls and Patterson thanked faculty, staff and students who were a part of making the event a success. Those in attendance received a gift bag with a 1966 edition of NOVA’s student newspaper the NOVA Tech Galaxy, a NOVA banner, a commemorative ticket and a NOVA pen.