Virginia Western presents Distinguished Alumni Award to Deborah L. Petrine

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The Virginia Western Community College Educational
Foundation recognized Deborah L. Petrine (’74), Chairman and
CEO of Commonwealth Care of Roanoke and
Chair of the Foundation’s Advocacy Council for the Virginia Western Forward Endowment Fund: A Vision of Dr. Charles W.
Steger Jr.
, with its 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award.

A first-generation college
student, Petrine first attended Virginia Western in 1973-74, later returning for
enrichment coursework.  Petrine worked
her way through Virginia Tech as a secretary/receptionist in a nursing
home. Upon graduation, she entered the
company’s Administrator in Training Program and worked her way up
through the company, eventually becoming president at one of Virginia’s largest
providers of long-term care services. Under her leadership, the company
expanded from skilled nursing facilities to add assisted-living facilities, a
pharmacy company and a home health company. 

journey typifies the best outcomes of community college opportunity. Her
accomplishments and service have made an indelible impact on so many lives, and
we are honored and proud to recognize her as a Distinguished Alumna,” said Dr.
Robert H. Sandel, president of Virginia Western Community College.

Western’s Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 2006 by the Virginia
Western Alumni Association and recognizes Virginia Western Community College
alumni and former students who have attained extraordinary distinction in their
professional field or life. The award serves to honor all the men and women
whose attendance at Virginia Western helped them achieve their educational and
professional goals, allowing them to better serve their communities.

1996, Petrine co-founded and served as President of Colonial Care, LLC,
managing facilities in Virginia and North Carolina. This company grew
throughout Virginia and was purchased in 1998. Petrine’s desire to be a “hands
on” manager and to own and operate facilities led her to leave that
organization to form CCR. CCR began operating in July 2001 and has grown to
12 skilled facilities. Additionally, in 2010 she served as president of
Longleaf Senior Living, LLC, managing 35 assisted-living facilities in North

“The one attribute that Debbie possesses that
makes her a treasured mentor, colleague and friend is her internal compass. Debbie’s
compass points the right way, a true north,” said David W. Tucker, President and COO of Commonwealth Care of Roanoke.

In 2005, Petrine was awarded the prestigious James G. Dunton
Lifetime Achievement Award for her service to the elderly and infirm in
Virginia. She served as the first female Chair of the Virginia Health Care
Association from 1993-95. She also served a two-year term representing
Virginia on the American Health Care Association Board of Directors. Additionally,
she served four years on the Board of Examiners for Nursing Home
Administrators, was appointed in April 1997 to the statewide Nursing Facility
Advisory Committee where she served two years, and was appointed by the
governor in 2010 to a four-year term on the Governor’s Advisory Council on
Revenue Estimates.

Petrine received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration
from Virginia Tech, where she has remained active. She was appointed by
the governor to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors in 2011 and was elected
Rector in 2014, making her the first female in the school’s history to lead the

“I am sincerely humbled and
honored to be selected for this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award and to be
included alongside the previous recipients,” Petrine said. “Virginia Western
was the perfect place for me. The college provided an excellent
educational foundation and enabled me to pursue my dreams. Looking back, I
wonder where I would be now if Virginia Western had not played such an important
role in my early life. For that and the support of my family, friends and
mentors along the way, I am grateful.”

Petrine continues to serve on the Board of Visitors and also on
the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Advisory Council. She was a
member of the Virginia Tech Foundation and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of
Medicine Board for two years, served as the first Chair of the Center for
Gerontology Futures Board upon its inception in 1992 and subsequently as the
first Chair of the Pamplin College Management Department Advisory Board. She
is also a lifetime member of the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy and a
member of the Roanoke Valley Hokie Club.

Married and mother to two adult children, Petrine is active in her
community and currently serves on several local and regional boards, including
the GO Virginia Region 2 Council and Feeding America Southwest Virginia.

Franklin County resident, Petrine will be recognized for her contributions and
impact at an upcoming event on campus hosted by the Virginia Western Community
College Educational Foundation.

more information on the Virginia Western Alumni Association, see or contact Philanthropy Director Amanda Mansfield at or (540) 857-6962.

Prior Distinguished
Alumni honorees: 

– Elizabeth Testerman (’06)

– Dr. Carol Swain (’78)

– Dr. Mary Loritsch (’74) and Chief Michael Crawley

– Debbie Yancey (’97)

– Chief Craig S. Harris (’00) and J. David Wine (’73)

– Cheryl Cunningham (’86)

– Anne Hogan (’76)

– Carolyn Webster (’81)

– Russell H. Ellis (’80)

– Shirl D. Lamanca (’75) and Dennis R. Cronk (’72)

– Donna L. Mitchell (’81)

– Dr. Kent A. Murphy and Charlotte C. Tyson (’84)

– John B. Williamson III (’75)