Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, Virginia's Secretary of Education, will deliver the address for Virginia Tech's commencement ceremony in Northern Virginia on Saturday, May 10 in the Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria to nearly 400 graduate students.

Prior to her appointment as Secretary of Education, Wheelan served as president of Northern Virginia Community College, the second largest community college in the nation, from 1998 to 2002.

In 1992 she assumed the position of president of Central Virginia Community College, making her the first African American female to serve as president of a two- or four-year public institution of higher education inVirginia.

Wheelan received her undergraduate degree in psychology and sociology from Trinity University and was the first African American from Trinity to be named in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. Wheelan then received her master of arts degree in developmental/educational psychology from Louisiana State University and later obtained her doctoral degree in 1984 from the University of Texas.

Throughout her career, Wheelan has served in such positions as director of academic services at San AntonioCollege, dean of student services atThomas Nelson Community College and provost of the Portsmouth campus ofTidewater Community College.

Wheelan is a member of several state and national organizations including the Presidents' Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs, the Jobs for Virginia Graduates Board and the Government Affairs Committee of the American Council of Education.

Virginia Tech at Northern Virginia offers more than 45 graduate degree and certificate programs at its facilities in Falls Church> and Alexandria. Most courses are designed for working professionals and are offered in the evenings and on weekends. More than 50 Virginia Tech full-time resident faculty teach in the Northern Virginia locations.

Written by Meredith Trotter, Intern in the Office of University Relations