VPCC, CNU Bringing Together Academics, Athletics For Historic Agreement

Academics and athletics often are intertwined on American college campuses, including Virginia Peninsula Community College and Christopher Newport University.

On Feb. 3, the two will become more so. That is when Dr. Towuanna Porter Brannon, VPCC’s president, and William Kelly, CNU’s president, will sign into a historic academic agreement.

Called the Bridge Program, it is a reimaging of VPCC’s transfer articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities. It will focus on individuals who intend to start their postsecondary education at VPCC and transfer to a regional, baccalaureate degree-granting institution. Under the leadership of Kelly, CNU will be the first public college in the commonwealth to join the Bridge program.

The signing will come at halftime of CNU men’s basketball home game against Salisbury, which starts at 4 p.m. Prior to that game, the VPCC’s men’s team plays Mountain Gateway at CNU. That game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

“This partnership epitomizes the mission of Virginia Peninsula Community College and is an ideal example of collective impact,” Brannon said. “President Kelly’s commitment to making higher education broadly accessible to all families in the region is commendable.”

Chris Moore, the athletics director and men’s basketball coach at VPCC, said his counterpart at CNU, John Krikorian, approached him with the idea, looking for a way to strengthen the connection between VPCC and CNU.

“What better way to do it than through athletics,” Moore said. “I think it’s a great opportunity.”

The partnership agreement is intended to broaden the pipeline of prospective students from economically challenged households for potential enrollment at VPCC with a dedicated pathway for transfer to CNU. Christopher Newport plans to develop innovative programs that will incorporate elements of life at a four-year institution into the students’ community college experience and include multiple visits to CNU’s campus, including entrance to university athletic events, entrance to fine arts and performing arts events, and access to certain campus facilities. In addition, students will have access to services such as pre-university and reverse transfer advising, career coaching, financial aid counseling, and opportunities for need-based scholarships. Students also will have access to a CNU senior faculty core adviser to assist with academic advising and course selection.

“Our partnership with CNU through the Bridge Program will quickly become embedded in the fabric of both institutions, creating a seamless transition for VPCC students,” said Dr. Kerry Ragno, the VP of Academic Affairs at VPCC. “Faculty, staff, and administrators at VPCC and CNU are committed to ensuring that each student is provided with the tools for successful transfer academically and as members of the college student body.”

For more information on the program, visit https://www.vpcc.edu/admissions/bridge-program.html