Skip to Content

Alumni Awards

2023 Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Barbara Fuller posing for photo on the campus of Southwest Virginia Community College.
Dr. Barbara J. Fuller

Southwest Virginia Community College announces 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient, Dr. Barbara J. Fuller.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed upon outstanding graduates from Southwest Virginia Community College. Since the establishment of the award in 1980, forty-three graduates of SWCC have been selected by a committee to receive the award. This honored tradition is to acknowledge the achievements of exceptional alumni whose personal lives, professional achievements, and community service exemplify the goals and vision of SWCC which is to transform lives, strengthen communities and inspire excellence.

Dr. Barbara J. Fuller has always been known for her energy, passion for education and desire to make a difference in people’s lives. While at Southwest Virginia Community College, Dr. Fuller held the rank of Professor; served as Vice President of Academic & Student Services, Dean of Business & Engineering, Business & Industry Program Developer and Coordinator of Workforce Development. She has a Doctorate in Junior & Community College Education from Virginia Tech, Master of Science in Education from Virginia Tech, Bachelor of Science from East Tennessee State University and an Associate of Science from Southwest Virginia Community College. Prior to her tenure at SWCC, she taught in the Russell County and Wise County School systems.

The highlights of Dr. Fuller’s service have included: Chairman and Board Member of Cumberland Mountain Community Service, Board of Trustees for the Appalachian College of Pharmacy, Board of Trustees for the Virginia Tech 4-H Foundation, Board Member for Reddy Tri-County Health Clinic, Board Member for Workforce Investment Consortium Area One, Southwest Regional Adult Literacy Council, State Committee Chair of Delta Kappa Gamma International and Steering Committee for the Appalachian School of Law. She has also served on the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Comprehensive Economic Strategy Taskforce, and partnered with industrial recruitment projects with the Coalfield Economic Development Authority. She has worked closely with the business community, agencies and school systems customizing training tailored to meet their needs. Dr. Fuller has conducted presentations on the local, state and national level on topics such as leadership, team building, entrepreneurship, stress management, lifestyle management, and time management.

Some of her honors include recognition as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow and serving as one of Virginia District 7570’s first appointed female Lt. Governors. Her awards include: The Chancellor’s Fellowship Award, Delta Kappa Gamma International Iota State’s “Making a Difference Award, 4-H All-Star, Phi Theta Kappa Faculty Leadership Award, Southwest Virginia Educator of the Year, and NISOD Teaching Excellence Award.

She is married to her high school sweetheart, Kemper, and they have two adult children – Travis and Jill, and three adorable grandchildren – Harper, Amelia, and Kipp. Dr. Fuller currently serves her church as clerk and organist. In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with family, gardening, cooking, kayaking, camping, and fishing.

“Dr. Barbara Fuller left a legacy at Southwest making the lives of countless students, peers, and her community better through positivity, a kind heart, hard work, and a commitment to serving others. We are all so proud of her here at Southwest and are truly honored to recognize her as our Distinguished Alumna of 2023,” said Susan Lowe, Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Southwest.

For more information on the Distinguished Alumni Awards, contact the SWCC Alumni Association at or visit

Hall of Fame

At Southwest, we are proud of our alumni.  Many have achieved notable success and are serving their local communities, state, and country through good deeds and extraordinary contributions.  The Southwest Alumni Hall of Fame inducts the most distinguished of these individuals for their outstanding achievement, community service, and commitment to Southwest Virginia Community College. With these awards, we aim to acknowledge and honor them, share their stories, and inspire the entire Southwest community.


Distinguished Alumni Award

Our highest-esteemed award.  Presented at commencement, the Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the distinctive accomplishments of a Southwest Virginia Community College alumni for their overall achievements, honors, leadership and innovation, impact, mentoring, service, and commitment to their community, as well as their loyalty to their alma mater.

Legacy Award

The Legacy Award recognizes the recipient of the Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship. Each year, Southwest Virginia Community College is honored to receive the VCCS Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship to be named in honor of a donor and supporter of Southwest. It is a prestigious scholarship that is awarded to an outstanding student who has shown great achievement in their academic and extracurricular activities as well as a commitment to their community. Pre-determined award. One award is presented annually during Southwest homecoming celebrations.

Outstanding Community Service Award

The Outstanding Community Service Award is presented to alumni who have shown outstanding commitment and dedication to a community service or humanitarian cause and have made a significant contribution of leadership or service which has improved or enriched the lives of others and their community.

Outstanding Achievement Award

The Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments and exemplary contributions to their chosen profession or discipline.

Rising Alumni Award

The Rising Alumni Award is given to current or recent students of the last 5 years who have demonstrated early career and/or exceptional community service achievement. Who also regularly demonstrate their Flying Eagle pride through recruiting potential students, representing Southwest in a positive manner, attending Southwest events, and encouraging active support of Southwest Virginia Community College among their peer groups.


To nominate an individual for an alumni award, we ask that you complete our online nomination form below. Before doing so, please review the award categories above, as this will help guide you in submitting your nomination.

Unless otherwise noted, nominations will be accepted from community members as well as Southwest faculty and staff who are interested in recognizing a person of notable achievement. Nominees should not be related to the person making the nomination. Self-nominations are not accepted.

Five total awards will be made each year. The Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented annually at commencement; a Southwest employee cannot be nominated for this award.  All other categories will be awarded annually provided that sufficient quality nominations are received. All awards are bestowed at the discretion of the Southwest Alumni Association Committee and the Vice President of Institutional Advancement.  Individuals may be awarded in a category other than originally nominated, if deemed appropriate by the committee.

Nominations are accepted via online submission year-round. Those not chosen for awards will be kept on file for consideration for the next year. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted.  You may be contacted for additional information if necessary.

All award recipients must be willing to work collaboratively with Southwest in our efforts to properly recognize honorees, by providing photographs, biographies, and other information.

Nominees should be responsible, respectable citizens of good character and in good standing with the community.


Use this form to make your nominations for the Annual Distinguished Alumni Award and/or Hall of Fame Honors. You may nominate more than one person for each type of recognition.Thank you!

"*" indicates required fields

Your Contact Information
Your Nominee: Please include as much of this information as possible about the person you nominate .
Award Category*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Back to top