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News Releases @ TCC



Academic Center aims to help women develop career options


A special graduation of nine women from the Fresh Start Orientation program featured an address by Sen. Louise Lucas and representatives of Tidewater Community College and Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Top row, left to right: Sylvia Taliaferro, Gwendolyn Howard, Latonya Johnson, Sen. Louise Lucas, Cynthia Shoates, Chevelva Adamson, Spanyuara Mason; bottom row, Shaneequa Barnes and Betty Boone.


PORTSMOUTH, Va. – (June 22, 2007) – A special graduation has marked renewal of a grant program that helps women transition from public housing to self-sufficiency.

The June 14 graduation of a group of Portsmouth women from the Fresh Start Orientation program celebrates renewed funding from a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Hope IV grant. The funding will expand programming at The Academic Center at Foundation Stone, a joint project of Tidewater Community College’s Women’s Center and Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority (PRHA).

Services provided at the Academic Center include Fresh Start Orientation – an intensive 12-week program that just graduated nine women. “Fresh Start gives clients an opportunity to identify personal goals for long-term employment, and addresses the education and training needs to reach those goals,” says Mary Pat Liggio, coordinator of TCC’s Women’s Center. “The program also focuses on building verbal and social skills, and getting the clients to think differently about themselves and the possibilities for the future.”

Services at TCC – the next step for the women who continue in the program – include assistance with college placement testing, enrollment and financial aid; access to campus learning resources including tutoring, library services and group study; counseling and academic tracking; and specialized classes to include learning communities. TCC’s portion of the renewed HUD funding is $481,649.

This fall, three of the Fresh Start graduates will come to TCC’s Portsmouth Campus to begin college preparation. They are Shaneequa Barnes, Latonya Johnson and Gewndolyn Howard, all from Portsmouth.

“We began working with PRHA in 1999, and with this new funding we have enhanced our program and put in place a more structured connection to the TCC educational experience,” adds Liggio. “We have built in a support component to the whole learning environment giving students the best chance to succeed.”




Laurie White
Media Relations

Tidewater Community College - the largest provider of higher education and Workforce Solutions services in Hampton Roads - enrolls over 38,000 students annually, the second largest undergraduate student body in Virginia. The 35th largest community college in the nation, TCC is among the 20 fastest-growing large two-year institutions in the United States. Founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, the college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in the theater district in downtown Norfolk, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth and a regional Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-six percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit