Ƶ bestows its highest non-academic honors at Medallion of Recognition ceremony

For Immediate Release:
May 9, 2024

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

At the awards ceremony
President Kim Blosser presenting Alex Burton's Medallion of Recognition to her son Hunter and husband Rick.

Ƶ on Wednesday afternoon honored three individuals with Medallions of Recognition, the highest non-academic award the college and College Board presents in a ceremony mixed with humor, humility and poignancy.

A posthumous Medallion was given to the husband and son of Ƶ administrative assistant Alexandra “Alex” Burton, who died of cancer in May 2022 at just 36-years-old. She was pregnant with her son, Hunter, when she learned she had Stage 3 triple negative breast cancer.

“That day, Alex’s cancer journey began, and I feel confident saying that no one took on the challenge of cancer quite like Alex,” said President Kim Blosser. “She was determined to be strong and stay positive and to live her life on her own terms.”

Burton threw herself into raising awareness of breast cancer and putting on fundraisers with the same passion and energy she put into her job and her relationships with coworkers.

Burton at Ƶ

“Alex’s vibrance, humor and unfiltered honesty were known by all of her colleagues,” noted Dr. Blosser. “She was passionate about Ƶ, believing what she and her coworkers did changed lives. Alex had a goal of promoting care, health and sustainability for employees and was a champion of helping any employee who had a need.

“Alex’s passion for her colleagues positively contributed to the culture of Ƶ, and she is remembered as a true pioneer in the work of employee engagement, happiness, and satisfaction. She was everyone’s cheerleader and a strong advocate of her fellow faculty and staff.”

Burton’s husband thanked the college community for the support they’ve shown him and Hunter.

“Without people like you, the world would be a much darker place,” he said.

Also receiving a Medallion of Recognition was Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center Superintendent Clay Corbin. 

“Clay Corbin has shown sincere dedication to preparing inmates for their return to life on the outside,” said President Blosser. “In his more than 20 years of service, he has demonstrated his commitment to rehabilitation, supporting the maintenance and growth of adult education at the facility.”

The superintendent expands this commitment beyond facilitating inmates earning their GED – with his support and coordination, a master gardening certification program was offered to incarcerated individuals, and Ƶ Workforce Solutions has provided heavy equipment operator training.

“Ƶ and Superintendent Corbin’s team worked together to provide tutoring, transportation and employment opportunities for these students,” President Blosser said. “We’re proud to partner with him and his team. They truly represent the college’s commitment to community education. His innovative approach recognizes the transformative power of education in breaking the cycle of incarceration and helping individuals reintegrate into society successfully.”

Corbin, who drew laughs when he asked the college’s photographer to use “the Brad Pitt filter,” said he is surrounded by great employees dedicated to improving the lives and outcomes of inmates.

“Our unwritten motto is we want to send people back better than we found them,” he said.

The final Medallion of Recognition was presented to retired Fauquier County Administrator Paul McCulla. In addition to his dedicated service to county residents and his employees, his forward thinking helped lead to the recent addition of the Skilled Trades Center on the Fauquier Campus. It represents the first permanent home for trades education on that campus.

Several years ago, McCulla approached Ƶ administrators, asking how Fauquier County could support further growth of the college. This led to the county donating 62 acres of adjacent land to the Educational Foundation.

“The Skilled Trades Center is now a hive of activity, offering plumbing, HVAC, heavy equipment operator, electrical and welding programs to students who no longer have to drive to Middletown or to Northern Virginia to get the training that will put them into well-paying, in-demand jobs,” President Blosser said.

Community colleges are needed now more than ever, said McCulla.

“Over my career with Fauquier County, I’ve been able to watch the growth of Ƶ from a small campus mainly here in Middletown to what it is now,” he said. “The expansion has been incredible because it gives more opportunity to all of the citizens of the seven counties and the one city it serves.”

Founded in 1970, Ƶ is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Ƶ offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Ƶ also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Ƶ serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Ƶ is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Ƶ also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Ƶ may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website ().

Ƶ is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Ƶ shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Ƶ also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources,[email protected],173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Ƶ was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Ƶ going forward.

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