~~MARTINSVILLE, VA – For all his support and his friendship, former Governor Gerald Baliles will be remembered fondly at Patrick Henry Community College. After a lifetime of public service, the former governor passed away last night. Long before and long after he was elected Virginia’s 65th governor in 1986, Governor Baliles served the people of Virginia. He served as the attorney general, a delegate in Virginia’s House of Delegates, and champion of education.
Through his service, Governor’s Baliles made a lasting impact on the entire state of Virginia, but it was his heart for Patrick County and its people that will be most memorable for those who worked closely with him through PHCC. As a Patrick County native, Baliles supported economic growth and educational opportunities in the region with a passion.
“Governor Baliles embodied all that is good, worthy, and beautiful about the Commonwealth of Virginia. He loved his state, and he loved his home of "Patrick," as he affectionately called Patrick County,” says PHCC’s President Dr. Angeline Godwin. “At PHCC we are forever grateful for his vision and dedication, and most of all, his love for education.”
Throughout his term as governor and beyond, Baliles was a champion of education. Baliles founded and chaired the Patrick County Education Foundation (PCEF) – which works to grow economic and educational opportunities in Patrick County. With Baliles leading the charge, the PCEF played a significant role in Patrick Henry Community College’s recent expansion in the county. The expansion will create greater opportunities for Patrick County residents to pursue training and careers in growing fields like mechatronics, industrial electronics, general engineering technologies, and Industry 4.0. As one of his last public appearances, Governor Baliles was the keynote speaker at the ribbon-cutting event for PHCC’s Patrick County expansion.
To honor Governor Baliles and his legacy of championing education, the PCEF created The Honorable Gerald L. Baliles Public Service Scholarship at its most recent meeting on September 30. The scholarship, which will be administered through the PHCC Foundation, will be annually awarded to a Patrick County High School senior. The eligible senior must plan to attend PHCC and plan to enter a public service profession.
“PHCC is so grateful to PCEF for creating this scholarship in honor of Governor Baliles whose life of service was so inspirational to us all. This gift will ensure that generations to come are reminded about the Governor’s unwavering dedication to the power of education and his love for his native Patrick County. He was a mentor, a friend, and a hero to me,” says Dr. Greg Hodges PHCC’s Vice President for Academic & Student Success Services.