Skip to Content

2023 Distinguished Alumni Recipient

2023 Distinguished Alumni Recipient, Dr. Barbara J. Fuller

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed upon outstanding graduates from Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC). 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 Alumnus 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

Back to top