To enhance the educational opportunities available to the citizens of Halifax County, South Boston, and Southern Virginia.
An expanded continuing education center located in and serving the residents of Halifax County and Southern Virginia, charged with linking local and regional colleges and universities together to offer post secondary, higher education, and workforce training programs.
The Halifax Educational Foundation, Inc. (HEF) consists of a thirty-three member Board of
community leaders, chief elected officials, and volunteers. The Foundation is organized and
operated exclusively to promote and enhance continuing educational opportunities for the citizens
of Southside Virginia and to carry out other exclusively charitable, educational, and scientific
In 1994, the Halifax County Board of Supervisors and South Boston Town Council passed a
resolution establishing the College Committee, charged with studying the feasibility of establishing
a four-year college campus in Halifax County and South Boston in conjunction with several area
colleges. Doing extensive research into the most effective options available to the community, the
College Committee modified its initial vision in order to better meet the needs of its citizens. From
the committee, the Halifax Educational Foundation, Inc. was created. Established in 1997, the
Halifax Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the goal of affordable and
accessible educational opportunities for citizens of the Southside region.
The Foundation initiated a successful capital campaign for the renovation of the former Export Leaf
Tobacco Warehouse located in downtown South Boston, Virginia and donated to the Foundation on
December 12, 1997, by John R. Cannon and the family of the late Bob Harris. The local community
demonstrated strong financial support for the fund raising campaign with over a 75 percent voter
approval on the November 1998 ballot for the proposed sale of up to $1.75 million in general
obligation bonds. Additional funding for the project was obtained via donations or grants from local
government, citizens, businesses, industry, Community Development Block Grant, USDA Rural
Development, Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission,
Longwood University, Southside Virginia Community College, and Danville Community College. No
state funds were used for the project.
In 2001, the Foundation renovated and furnished the Export Leaf Tobacco Warehouse in downtown
South Boston and created a 35,000 square foot state-of-the-art educational facility. At the ribbon
cutting ceremony on August 19, 2001, the Center changed to a new future and a new name,
Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. Within three years the HEF renovated an additional
5,700 square feet of space in the tobacco warehouse for an Advanced Technology Lab for
workforce development. Through grants and partnerships, this lab utilizes high performance
In 2005 via contributions and grants, the HEF constructed 160 additional parking spaces and
expanded the parking lot to 300 spaces. The following year an upfit of 5,500 square feet of
unfinished space in the West Wing provided additional classrooms and office space.
December 2006, Eva Harris and family donated the 45,000 square foot former American Tobacco
Warehouse to the HEF. This facility is currently under construction, and scheduled to be
substantially completed by December 2010. When complete, the ATW building will house the
SVHEC’s signature Business of Art & Design programming with courses in Digital Art & Design and
Product Design & Development. In addition, the facility will house the R&D Innovation Center for
Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency.
In addition, the HEF sponsors a scholarship program for applicants continuing their education via
the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. Scholarships totaling over $7,000 have been
awarded for the current year. Scholarship sponsors include the Halifax Educational Foundation, Old
Dominion Electric Cooperative, the Hope Scholarship in honor of Alvelta Hope Arthur Lumsden, and
the Penick Estate Scholarship in memory of Virginia Penick.