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Group photo of scholarship check presentation.

Published on December 13th, 2021

A new scholarship at Southwest Virginia Community College (Southwest) has been endowed in honor of Mr. Bud Phillips by the Board of Supervisors of Dickenson County, Virginia. The scholarship will be named “The Bud Phillips and Carol Phipps Buchanan Educational Scholarship” and will benefit Dickenson County students who choose to attend Southwest.

Mr. Phillips was in one of the first graduating classes at Southwest and he was the college’s second student government association president. After graduating from UVA Wise, he obtained a law license, had a successful career as an attorney, became a judge, and represented our region in Richmond on several committees including the House Appropriations Committee. Mr. Phillips has been a longtime supporter of Southwest and the surrounding communities.

“Mr. Phillips has always valued education as a way to improve lives,” said Josh Evans, chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Dickenson County, “the Board wants to emphasize that sentiment to our citizens and children of Dickenson County.”

Mr. Evans explained that the idea for the scholarship came from board member Shelbie Willis. The entire board embraced the idea to make the appropriation for a $25,000 scholarship fund. Along with the board’s scholarship announcement, Mr. Phillips announced that he, along with the Columbus Phipps Foundation, had agreed to match the Board’s scholarship amount bringing the total scholarship fund to $50,000.

Dr. Charles King, Southwest’s first president, was in attendance along with several former and current employees.

Mr. Phillips spoke of becoming a first-generation college student, saying, “I would not have had the opportunity [to come to college] had it not been for Dr. King and his staff. I’m positive about that. I would not have finished in two years without their support.” That educational support continued after Mr. Phillips’ time at Southwest. Dr. Don Smith, an admissions counselor at Southwest, was influential in Mr. Phillips continuing his education at UVA Wise.

Since Mr. Phillips graduated college, 16 family members have followed in his footsteps to obtain their degrees. “My family found a culture of education. It lifted me and my family to the middle class. [Southwest] gave me the opportunity to do the things that I have done; to be an attorney and a judge.” Mr. Phillips continued, “I know this scholarship by the board of supervisors is going to help children of Dickenson County obtain an education.”

“What we have learned here today,” said Susan Lowe, Vice President of Institution Advancement at Southwest, “is that the major goal and mission of the community college is to build a strong foundation for students to use as a springboard to do more and more as evidenced by what Mr. Phillips has accomplished.”

Dr. Tommy Wright, current President of Southwest, said, “it is a blessing to be able to serve an institution like Southwest and our community. This is a chance for Mr. Phillips and the board of supervisors to see their work put to work. The relationships and conversations with Dr. King and others over the years planted a seed and now we’re seeing the seed cultivate.”

Learn more about how you can contribute to the Building Legacies Campaign by contacting Susan Lowe at 276.964.7304 or visiting

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