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The school will serve as focal point for retail education and training

NORFOLK, Va. (Feb. 3, 2011) – Responding to a need expressed by local, regional and national business leaders, Tidewater Community College will launch a School of Retail next fall designed to meet the needs of the retail industry in Hampton Roads and beyond.

Gerald Divaris, chairman of the Divaris Group of Companies and a national leader in real estate brokerage and development, is working closely with TCC President Deborah M. DiCroce to bring the concept to fruition.

“The School of Retail will respond to a critical need in our region’s economy – indeed, an important part of each of our daily lives – with the kind of innovative, inclusive partnership TCC has long made its calling card,” says DiCroce. Noting the flexibility and mission of community colleges to respond nimbly to educational needs, DiCroce welcomes the chance to leverage TCC’s strengths to create a “soup to nuts” retail school.

“Our vision to work hand in hand with Hampton Roads’ business leaders can result in a School of Retail unlike any other in our region and, just perhaps, unlike any other in the Commonwealth, or the nation,” says Divaris, long an advocate for bringing first-rate instruction in retail to the area. “That prospect should inspire my colleagues in the business community – and everyone who cares about our region.”

The school will prepare individuals for careers and advancement in a variety of retail and retail-related enterprises through high-quality, state-of-the art, credit and non-credit programming.

A conceptual proposal has been resoundingly affirmed by retail leaders – from local entrepreneurs to national chain retailers to the myriad professionals whose legal, financial or management expertise supports their retail missions. Linda Rice, provost of TCC’s Chesapeake Campus, will tap their expertise and assessment of educational needs as she leads the school’s curricula design.  

The school will serve those interested in retail at an array of levels, from entry-level employees to mid- and senior-level management. Courses will allow skills to be upgraded, and already strong business backgrounds expanded to include retail experience in targeted, specific tracks. Starting with a core curriculum, types of courses offered likely will address:

  • Demographics, marketing and customer service
  • Funding
  • Retail management
  • Retail operations and technology
  • Shopping center management
  • Small business/entrepreneurship
  • Store location, design and planning
  • Supply chain management

TCC’s School of Retail will work closely with an Advisory Board composed of corporate leaders steeped in retail disciplines, some of whom will serve as instructors. Classes and programs can lead to certificates in a range of areas as well as provide internships, continuing education for professionals and opportunities with clubs and organizations.

The new school will tap TCC’s current range of business classes where appropriate. TCC’s associate degree in business has consistently ranked among the top U.S. community colleges for number of graduates, coming in fourth in 2010.

TCC will roll out the School of Retail with more information at a future time.


Laurie White

Tidewater Community College - the largest provider of higher education and Workforce Solutions services in Hampton Roads - topped 45,000 students in 2009-10. The 16th highest associate-degree producer in the nation, TCC offers more than 150 programs including business administration, culinary arts, general studies, modeling & simulation, network security, nursing, and automotive technology. Among the fastest-growing two-year institutions in the United States, TCC was 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 Norfolk’s theater district, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth, the Regional Automotive Center in Chesapeake, and the Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-five percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit